Red Zone Woes Cost the Jets in 27-22 Loss to Vikings

The New York Jets were narrowly defeated by the Vikings in Minnesota yesterday 27-22. The theme of the game? The Jets failures in the red zone. 

There were not one but two crucial chances to capitalize and essentially win the game for New York.  The first came on fourth and goal with 1:46 left in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Mike White attempted to hit his receiver Braxton Berrios in the end zone but Berrios couldn’t hang on to the ball causing the offense to turn the ball over on downs. The Jets defense then stepped up just as they have done all season and were able to force Minnesota to punt. Mike White and Co. were gifted one final opportunity to win. 

However, that opportunity was again squandered after White threw an interception on 4th and 10 from the Vikings 19 yard line. Vikings cornerback Camryn Bynum picked off the pass intended for Corey Davis and halted a near upset victory for the Jets. The primary issue in this game for the Jets was their red zone offense. The Jets execution was abysmal and they finished the game having gone 0-for-4 in the red zone. 

Dec 4, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; New York Jets quarterback Mike White (5) runs the ball while Minnesota Vikings linebacker Jordan Hicks (58) defends during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The offense was heavily reliant on the leg of their kicker Greg Zuerlein. “Greg the Leg” accounted for 16 of Gang Green’s 22 points finishing 5-of-5 on field goals. He set a franchise record for the longest field goal in Jets history with a 60 yarder at the end of the first half as well. 

Mike White again looked polished in the pocket and made a number of impressive throws in tight windows. However, the stats that stand out the most, and not in a positive way, are his red zone numbers. White was 6-for-17, with 24 yards passing, and threw a costly interception at the end of the game. White finished the game 31-for-57, 369 yards passing, a rushing touchdown, and two interceptions. He became the second Jets quarterback this season to have 300 plus passing yards in back to back games (Joe Flacco.)

Garrett Wilson finished with a career high 162 receiving yards, the most in a game by a Jets player since Eric Decker back in 2014. He was the clear favorite target of Mike White in this game and now has the second most yards by a rookie receiver in Jets history.

Looking at the other side of the ball, the Jets defense struggled early on, especially in pass coverage. The defensive backs ran into some penalty trouble as they attempted to slow down Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Cornerbacks DJ Reed and Ahmad Gardner were called for holding penalties and safety Jordan Whitehead was called for a questionable unnecessary roughness, all in the first quarter alone. Jefferson wound up with just 45 yards on seven receptions but caught the insurance touchdown late in the fourth quarter. The run defense in the red zone gave up two rushing touchdowns as well. 

The defense picked it up in the second half though and by the end of the third quarter they had only allowed 10 yards on 12 plays. Linebackers Quincy Williams and Kwon Alexander each made clutch tackles on third down on the final two drives and gave their offense at least a chance to win. 

Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets now have arguably their biggest game next week as they take on the Bills in Buffalo at 1:00 p.m. 

Things to Note: 

  • Running back Zonovan Knight capitalized on his opportunity with Michael Carter inactive due to an ankle injury. Knight rushed for 90 yards on 15 carries.
  • Right tackle Max Mitchell who dislocated his knee back on October 2nd returned to start in this game but went down in the second quarter and was replaced by George Fant. 

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