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‘Not close to his worst’: Saleh defends Wilson after Chargers dominate Jets

Derius Davis returned a punt 87 yards for a touchdown, Austin Ekeler ran for two scores and Joey Bosa and Los Angeles’ defense stifled Zach Wilson and the New York Jets’ bumbling offense in the Chargers’ 27-6 victory on Monday night.

Derius Davis returns a punt 87 yards to the house! #BoltUp

📺: #LACvsNYJ on ESPN/ABC
📱: Stream on #NFLPlus https://t.co/wPNNRv5rzw pic.twitter.com/NBMeXzfsj1

— NFL (@NFL) November 7, 2023

Justin Herbert didn’t make much of an impact, finishing 16 of 30 for just 136 yards, but became the fastest player in NFL history to 1,500 completions as the Chargers (4-4) snapped the Jets’ three-game winning streak.

Keenan Allen had eight catches for 77 yards to reach 10,000 career yards receiving. Los Angeles, who forced four New York (4-4) fumbles and recovered three of them, sacked Wilson eight times, including 2.5 by Bosa and two each by Khalil Mack and Tuli Tuipulotu.

Wilson, who wasn’t helped by a porous offensive line, and the Jets couldn’t get anything going despite facing the NFL’s worst-ranked passing defense. Wilson was 33 of 49 for 263 yards while taking a step back in his development. The Jets have scored just eight offensive touchdowns in eight games this season. They are 30th in the NFL in points per game and 31st in yards per game.

“Was it his best game? Obviously not,” Jets coach Robert Saleh said of his quarterback. “Was it his worst game? No, I’m not going to say it was even close to his worst game. I think the entire offense could have been better.”

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After the Jets went three-and-out on their opening drive, Davis gave the Chargers a 7-0 lead when the rookie fielded Thomas Morstead’s punt near the right sideline, avoided a tackle, cut inside and took off for an 87-yard touchdown return. It was the longest punt return in the NFL this season, and the Chargers’ first punt return for a TD since Desmond King brought one back 68 yards against Denver in 2019.

Once they were behind, there was little hope of their punchless offense regaining the lead.

“It’s inexcusable, man, and it’s getting to the point where it’s disappointing,” said the Jets No 1 receiver, Garrett Wilson, after the game. “I hate coming off the field, looking our defense in the eyes and knowing that we have to send them back out there after three-and-out. Them boys are my dogs and they come out and ball. They put us in a great position. It’s time for us to start returning the favor, man. It’s time. We got to figure it out.”

For his part, Zach Wilson believes he is a better quarterback than he was last season as he fills in for the injured Aaron Rodgers.

“I feel like I’m a different player,” said the former No 2 overall pick. “I feel like I’m in the best position I’ve ever felt, mentally, my understanding of the game. I feel ready to be out there and be competing, and so that’s so frustrating, just not getting things done. It’s frustrating and it starts with me finding a way.”

While that may be true – he has thrown just one interception in his last six games – Wilson has just five passing touchdowns this season, and missed open receivers consistently on Monday night. The Jets are 30th in the NFL in points per game and 31st in yards per game this season.

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