Green & White Defense Held Patrick Mahomes’ Offense Out of the End Zone After First Quarter Ethan Greenberg
Different Look Offense
Jets coaches recently talked about finding the offense's identity without Aaron Rodgers. On Sunday, the offense may have taken a step. It put a different product on the field compared to the first three weeks of the season. Led by QB Zach Wilson, who had his best game of the season and perhaps his NFL career, the unit totaled 336 yards and averaged 5.9 yards per play. Entering Sunday's game, it averaged 252.8 yards per game and 4.7 yards per play. The group also converted 42% on third down compared to its season average of 25%.
"I felt like [Nathaniel Hackett] did an unbelievable job today mixing it up, taking shots and spreading it around," said Wilson, who completed 71.8% of his passes (28 of 39) and threw for 245 yards and 2 touchdowns. "I thought he was keeping them on their toes. I thought we had a good plan. I thought I was seeing it really well. I would say we need to keep building on this, but I need to be better with the details. I can think of multiple plays I need to be better on."
HC Robert Saleh added: "I thought he was really good. He gave us a chance to win the game. Brought us back. If he plays like that, we're going to win a lot of football games."
Slow Start, Strong Finish
In the blink of an eye, the Jets were down by 17-0 in the first quarter, which is not where you want to be against the defending Super Bowl champion. The defense allowed 200 of the Chiefs' 401 net yards and 104 of Patrick Mahomes' 194 net passing yards in the first 15 minutes. Then the Jets' defense settled in and held Mahomes to a 60.2 passer rating in the first half. The last time a team held the two-time NFL MVP to a lower first-half passer rating was October 2021 when Tennessee held him to a 27.8 mark, the lowest of his NFL career.
The defense didn't allow a touchdown in the last three quarters and Kansas City's only second-half points came on K Harrison Butker's go-ahead field goal with 10:54 remaining in regulation.
"For our standard, we started off kind of slow," said LB Quincy Williams, who led the team with 13 tackles and has a league-best 79.2% coverage success when targeted this season, according to Next Gen Stats. "We came to the sideline got a lot of looks real fast, made some corrections and fell back on our fundamentals. When we came out we were all communicating on the same page, we were unstoppable."
The Jets were penalized seven times in Sunday's loss, most notably a gut-wrenching holding call on CB Sauce Gardner on third-and-20 with 4:29 remaining on a play where Michael Carter II picked off Mahomes. Instead of having the ball with a chance to tie or win the game, the penalty extended Kansas City's drive and the Chiefs ran out the clock to move to 3-1.
"It was a collision, the same thing that was happening all game and they didn't throw any flags," Gardner said. "Pat threw the ball outside of the receiver, MC was there and made the play. Then the ref threw the flag. ... I don't even think they threw the ball at me the first three quarters. Then the shot that they try to take is not going and they finally get bailed out by that in the fourth quarter, crunch time. I don't even know what to say."
Four plays earlier facing third-and-23, Mahomes, who leads the NFL with 159 scramble yards and is tied for the league lead for 11 first-down scrambles, scampered for 25 yards up the gut to convert. Jets LB C.J. Mosley was flagged for illegal contact which was tacked on to the end of the run, but edge rusher Jermaine Johnson believes he was held by Chiefs LT Donovan Smith.
"I got grabbed, and I obviously already had the one personal [foul] and didn't want to try to get him off me," Johnson said. "I tried to signal to a ref that I can't move. I'm trying to show resistance because I know that's what they need to see. I want that one back. I should never have put myself in the position for him to hold."