Zach Wilson’s pro career got off to a shaky start. The Jets' offense had put up less than 100 yards at halftime, and save for two good-looking drives in the second half, they never looked capable of producing enough positive plays to threaten the Panthers.
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Darnold played a clean game. He didn’t throw any interceptions, and when he took his chances down the field, he made the Jets pay. He went 3-of-5 on passes thrown 20 or more yards in the air for 110 yards and a touchdown.
The former No. 3 overall pick's issues came in the intermediate part of the field, where he didn’t complete a pass. He only missed one throw under 10 yards, though having Christian McCaffrey helps in that regard.
|Deep (20+ yards)||3||5||110||1|
It was the McCaffrey show for the Panthers' offense. He took all the traditional handoffs — D.J. Moore logged a jet sweep carry — and also led the team with eight catches for 27 total touches and 171 yards. He produced a whopping 4.14 yards per route run.
D.J. Moore tied McCaffrey with eight targets and hauled in six catches.
Interestingly, Darnold and Robby Anderson didn’t have a great first week back together outside of one major throw. Anderson was targeted three times, but his one catch was a play-action bomb for a 57-yard touchdown.
It was not a stellar afternoon for the Panthers' offensive line, as they allowed 11 pressures. However, the Jets defense could only turn one of them into a sack. Pat Elflein allowed four pressures himself.
The Panthers' defensive line recorded 17 pressures themselves, with Haason Reddick getting after Wilson five times. Five players logged multiple pressures, with edge rusher Brian Burns getting in on the action with three pressures and a sack.
Shaq Thompson was outstanding, picking off Wilson once and having another potential interception bounce off his chest on a low pass. He also added a sack.
Rookie Jaycee Horn was targeted three times and only gave up one catch for 10 yards. Donte Jackson was the only player in the secondary to allow multiple catches, as he gave up four for 58 yards on six targets.
It's hard to blame Wilson, given that he was making his first-ever start and his offensive line could not protect him at all. The rookie quarterback completed only five of his 16 pass attempts under pressure for 109 yards and a touchdown.
His 7.1 yards per pass attempt from a clean pocket was promising, but it was rough once the Panthers got the Jets behind the sticks.
Zach Wilson: Third-down passing
Tevin Coleman carried the ball nine times for only 24 yards. Rookie Michael Carter logged four carries for six yards, and Ty Johnson had 15 yards on four carries. Coleman and Johnson each forced a missed tackle. This was not all on the runners, as the team averaged only 0.2 yards before contact per rush.
Wilson found preseason favorite Corey Davis five times on seven targets for 51 yards and two touchdowns.
Rookie Elijah Moore caught a jet tap pass for -3 yards and was targeted three other times for no catches. We also had a Denzel Mims sighting, as the second-year player caught his one target for 40 yards late in the contest.
Darnold attacked former teammate C.J. Mosley six times, with the linebacker giving up five catches for 40 yards. The only incompletion was an off-target throw.
The young Jets cornerbacks combined to give up nine catches on 15 targets outside. Brandin Echols and Michael Carter II were targeted five times and gave up three catches each. Carter did force an incompletion, however.