New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh has gone out of his way all season to defend quarterback Zach Wilson, no matter how much Wilson has struggled.
Finally, Saleh had to bench his quarterback.
With the Jets trailing the Buffalo Bills 29-6 late in the third quarter on Sunday, Wilson took a seat. Tim Boyle replaced him.
The Buffalo Bills looked like a new team Sunday with a 32-6 win, but the Jets had a lot to do with that. New York's offense can't move the ball. When the Jets scored in the last minute of the second quarter, it was their first touchdown in 41 drives and 211 plays. That's unacceptable in the NFL.
While Saleh might be right that Wilson isn't solely to blame, he wasn't helping much either.
Wilson completed 7 of 15 passes for 81 yards, one touchdown and one interception when he was benched. The game was a blowout when Boyle went in, but Wilson was a big reason the Jets were blown out. When the Bills led 16-0 late in the second quarter, the Jets had just 18 yards of total offense.
Still, the Jets have struggled on offense most of the season and Saleh has stuck it out with Wilson. Wilson took over the job when Aaron Rodgers tore his Achilles in the opener, and the former second overall pick of the draft has mostly been ineffective. Boyle wasn't much better Sunday, but he came in cold against a solid Bills defense. Boyle completed 7 of 14 passes for 33 yards and an interception.
The Jets are 4-6 this season despite a defense that ranks among the best in the NFL. The offense has been holding the team back, and a long overdue quarterback change came on Sunday.
Bills offense looks better
The Bills had their own offensive issues before Sunday. They weren't as bad as the Jets but the struggles cost offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey his job after Buffalo's loss to the Denver Broncos on Monday night.
The Bills looked better against a very tough Jets defense. They settled for field goals early before a few touchdowns. James Cook scored on a pass from Josh Allen, then to start the second half the Bills went on a 75-yard drive and scored on a 28-yard touchdown to Ty Johnson on fourth-and-1. The Bills took a big lead when Khalil Shakir caught a laser from Allen downfield, then weaved his way through the Jets for an 81-yard score.
The Bills' offense didn't look completely fixed with new offensive coordinator Joe Brady calling plays, but the Jets' defense is very good and Buffalo looked sharper than it has in weeks. The Bills had 393 yards, with Allen throwing for 275 and three touchdowns.
Maybe the Jets need big changes to spark something. They had one big change in the third quarter on Sunday.
Jets, Bills on opposite paths
The Jets need to win almost all of their remaining games to make the playoffs. Rodgers has dreams of returning this season, but it wouldn't make much sense if the Jets are eliminated by the time he can get back on the practice field.
Boyle doesn't have much of a track record as an NFL quarterback. Before Sunday he had three touchdowns and eight interceptions in his career. The question for the Jets becomes if they are ready to try anything different, acknowledging that Wilson isn't going to turn New York's season around.
The Bills haven't had a great start to the season, but at 6-5 they're far from done in the AFC playoff race or even the AFC East. They have some issues but it's still a talented roster. Maybe we'll all look back on Dorsey's firing as the catalyst for a turnaround.
It was easy to see Sunday that the Bills and Jets are going in opposite directions. After a long day, the Jets have some big decisions to make.