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Grading the Jets after their 19-14 loss to the Panthers on Sunday.
The Jets had major issues up front and that led to a slog for 2 ½ quarters before the offense woke up. The pass protection was brutal. The Jets allowed six sacks and there would have been even more if QB Zach Wilson was not so elusive. Wilson (20 of 37, 258 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 82.9 rating) showed signs why he was the No. 2 pick. He showed toughness and resiliency and made some nice throws. The Jets mustered just 45 rushing yards and 252 total yards. WR Corey Davis (5 rec., 97 yards, 2 TDs) had a strong debut.
RB Christian McCaffrey (187 total yards) is going to be sore after running through the Jets’ defense on Sunday. QB Sam Darnold (24 of 35, 279 yards, 1 passing TD, 102.0 rating, 1 rushing TD) was not spectacular, but he made a few big throws on the young defense, which allowed 381 yards, an average of 6.0 yards per play. While the unit gave up a lot of yards, it did not give up that many points and deserves credit for keeping the Jets in the game and making possible the late comeback try.
Kicker Matt Ammendola did not get to try a field goal, but he distinguished himself as the team’s emergency punter. After punter Braden Mann left the game with a knee injury, Ammendola was called upon. He had six punts, two inside the 20 and one that went 65 yards. The coverage on the punts was also phenomenal, led by Justin Hardee.
Robert Saleh lost his debut, but his team showed some resilience in the second half. It felt like the game could get away at halftime but the Jets cut it to one score. Offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur did not have many answers to what the Panthers were doing and his game plan was not inspiring. Give defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich credit for making adjustments after allowing some big plays early.