After Zach Wilson’s brief moment of lucidity against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday Night Football in early October, much of the football world abandoned all common sense, and suggested his 245-yard night in a loss was a turning point.
Since then, the former No. 2 overall pick has sunk back to the below-average depths he’s been nestled at for the first three years of his career. In the aftermath of his first multi-touchdown game without an interception on Oct. 1 against Kansas City, Wilson has thrown for one touchdown, and one pick.
If I told you the 2-5 New York Giants’ backup quarterback was taken to the hospital in the second quarter and that Brian Daboll’s third-string quarterback threw for NEGATIVE YARDAGE, you’d assume the Jets won convincingly. Instead, both teams participated in an epic mid-off that descended into something much worse after Taylor departed for the hospital.
Things got so bad for the Giants that they turned to Tommy DeVito, a Jersey Shore body double named after a Goodfellas character. In three quarters of action, DeVito completed only two passes. And yet, the Giants led until the final second of regulation.
The good news for the Gang Green is that the Jets somehow escaped with a win. For Big Blue, a top-five pick in the NFL Draft is their final destination. In the waning seconds of regulation, a missed Giants field goal, two Jets completions, and Wilson spiking the ball with a second left allowed their kicker to drill one through the uprights that sent the contest into overtime.
And yet, the New York Jets are still 4-3. The bad news is that Wilson orchestrated one of the ugliest wins I’ve seen in my lifetime. On another front, any hopes of the Vikings doing an about-face, and trading Kirk Cousins to them at the trade deadline blew up in smoke after he tore his own Achilles tendon Sunday. The deal was already DOA, but Wilson and DeVito playing like two fans in costume on Sunday exacerbated the pain of being a New York football fan.
Wilson can’t seem to get right. Sure, he completed a pair of passes that put the Jets in position to force overtime and set up a win in extra time, but it never should have gotten to that point. Wilson was strip-sacked on the opening drive and only got worse from there, although Taylor was only able to muster three points out of a drive that began on the Jets’ 19-yard-line. Wilson didn’t convert any of their first dozen third downs on offense.
If the Giants were a well-run football team, now would be the perfect time to trade Saquon Barkley. The 26-year-old franchise back accounted for approximately 60 percent of the Giants’ yardage. They’re fooling themselves if they think Barkley is the final piece of a playoff team. The Giants are wasting his prime, overpaying Daniel Jones for another three years, refusing to even pay Barkley his worth, and heading nowhere until he is a shell of himself.
General manager Joe Schoen’s unwillingness to deal Barkley is the sunk-cost fallacy at its worst. The Giants have invested so many years into Barkley since drafting him way too early that they’ve refused to accept defeat. Instead, they’re burrowing deeper into a hole trying to hang onto him. After last season’s aberration, it’s obvious to anyone who isn’t legally blind that these Giants won’t be any good until they’ve worn Barkley down.
Things have gotten bleak in different ways for the Jets. They’re holding onto pie-in-the-sky dreams, but anyone who’s taken Philosophy 101 knows a Nietzsche quote manifested in reality when they see it. Hope is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man. With every Jets squeaker, the quixotic dreams of Aaron Rodgers’ return in the postseason grow even stronger.
The franchise associated with the quarterback who shattered the 4,000-yard passing milestone 50 years ago, hasn’t had a quarterback in this quantum age of passing reach the 4000-yard benchmark since. Wilson will be lucky to eclipse 3,000 yards and double-digit touchdowns at this pace. In that sense, he’s an analog to 2021 Daniel Jones, except he’s liable to turn the ball over multiple times per game. The Giants and Jets both rode the struggle bus to MetLife Stadium Sunday and ultimately both fanbases lost in the end.
Follow DJ Dunson on X: @cerebralsportex
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