MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Mike White and the New York Jets coaching staff won’t need to take long to dissect what went wrong in Sunday’s 27-22 loss at Minnesota.
For White, who had his second 300-yard passing game in as many weeks as New York’s starting quarterback, the answer is obvious. The Jets scored one touchdown on six trips inside the Vikings 20-yard line. New York was 1 of 3 scoring touchdowns in goal-to-go situations.
“I think for the most part, when you lose a game, you do have a sense of what the reasoning was,” White said after the Jets’ comeback fell short. “Today was just glaring. … It starts with me. Got to figure out a way to get in there. I don’t know what it is. I’ll watch the tape, get with our coaches and learn from it and correct it.”
White and coach Robert Saleh credited the team’s determination in overcoming a 20-3 halftime deficit. But the second-half rally fell short when White’s throw to the goal line with 16 seconds left was intercepted by Camryn Bynum.
It was another instance of being stopped by the Vikings in the red zone.
“I just know that they were running double-end cuts to the field every single time,” Bynum said. “A lot of the big plays they got was that route, in-breaking from No. 1. That’s a tough route for the corner, especially for his outside leverage, so I just shuffled in with the quarterback’s eyes and as soon as he came off of No. 2, jumped into window No. 1 and that was the play.”
For White, who was 31 of 57 for 369 yards passing with no TDs and two INTs, it was the only spot he had left because of Minnesota’s coverage. So, he tried to thread the ball to Corey Davis when Bynum stepped in front for the game-sealing interception.
White has provided a boost to New York’s stagnant passing game since replacing Zach Wilson. After making adjustments, the Jets had 336 yards in the second half. But while they scored on five straight possessions at one point, four were field goals against a defense that is allowing touchdowns on 64.5% of trips within the 20, ranking 26th in the NFL.
In goal-to-go scenarios, the Vikings have allowed the opponent to reach the end zone 81.3% of the time, which is 27th in the league.
“Can’t win the game just kicking field goals,” Saleh said.
Greg Zuerlein converted all five of his field-goal attempts for New York. But Minnesota finished when it got close, scoring touchdowns on all three of its trips to the red zone.
“It’s tough, man,” said receiver Garrett Wilson, who caught eight of 15 targets for 162 yards. “Those threes got to turn to six and that starts with us having a great week to prepare. Obviously, another great opponent next week that we’re going to need those to be six points.
“It’s frustrating, but this is a game of inches and we felt that today, for sure.”
Wilson nearly scored at the end of what ended up being a 60-yard reception in the fourth quarter. He just barely stepped out of bounds at the 11-yard line. Three passes later, New York had to settle for a 26-yard field goal from Zuerlein.
Particularly late, the Jets had their chances. They had the ball within the 20 twice in the final two minutes. Their first fourth-down attempt fell short as Braxton Berrios couldn’t corral what would have been a tough catch in the end zone.
“It was there,” Berrios said. “I think Mike put it in the only place that he could. Yeah, man, you’ve got to come down with that one.”
Even New York’s lone conversion for a touchdown wasn’t easy. White was nearly stopped on a fourth-down run from the 1-yard line. He was initially ruled short, but a review determined he had crossed the line for a score.
“My job as a quarterback is to put our team in the best position and that’s scoring when we’re in the red zone,” White said. “It starts with me. Got to figure out how to put the ball in the end zone.
“If we can do that, I think we win the game today.”
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