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Missed opportunities the theme of Jets loss to Vikings – Boston Herald


MINNEAPOLIS — “Missed opportunities all over the place.”

That was a quote from Jets coach Robert Saleh after Sunday’s 27-22 loss to the Vikings. As the popular GIF says, “He ain’t lying,” as the Jets had multiple opportunities to win this game — especially late in the fourth quarter. However, the Jets failed to capitalize when the game mattered the most.

Gang Green outgained the Vikings 486 to 287. The Jets also held Vikings running back Dalvin Cook to 86 yards on 20 carries.

The reason the Jets lost was simple, they couldn’t convert inside the red zone (1-for-6). They also failed to convert on most of their third-down attempts (3-for-16). Minnesota converted on all three red zone chances and was 9-for-18 on third-down attempts.

This year the Jets have been average, entering the day scoring touchdowns inside the red zone only 54.8% of the time — good for 17th in the league.

Whenever Gang Green got inside the Vikings’ 20, they frequently had to settle for Greg Zuerlein field goals. They converted on just one red zone trip and that was when quarterback Mike White barely got into the end zone on a quarterback sneak late in the fourth quarter.

“Credit to them, they’re a veteran group,” White said about the Vikings defense. “They know the areas where they can attack because there were a couple of looks that we weren’t scouting for.

“So my job as a quarterback is to put us in the best position and that’s scoring in the red zone. It starts with me, we have to figure out how to put the ball in the end zone and if we can do that, I think we win the game today.”

Unlike Zach Wilson, who he replaced as the Jets starter two weeks ago, White took accountability for the team’s lack of red zone success against the Vikings. Wilson was asked if he took any responsibility for the Jets lack of offensive success in the team’s 10-3 loss to the Patriots and he said “No.”

White didn’t have the outing that he did against the Bears, as he completed 31 of 57 passes for 369 yards and two interceptions. However, the loss wasn’t entirely on him. Sure, White missed some throws and threw behind some receivers, but the Jets receivers at times didn’t do him any favors, especially in the first half.

There were drops by wide receiver Corey Davis and tight end Tyler Conklin at various points in the game. And late in the game down five points, White had a chance to give the Jets the lead, but wide receiver Braxton Berrios couldn’t hold on to the ball on fourth and goal.

“I saw what Mike saw,” Berrios said about the play. “It was a spot open there and I took it. I gotta make the play.

“It was there. Mike put it in the only place that he could. You gotta come down with that one.”

The good news is the loss isn’t a death sentence for the Jets playoff hopes. At 7-5 and five games left in the season, Gang Green is still positioned to make the playoffs for the first time since 2010.

However, the Jets next game against the Bills is crucial to their hopes. A month ago, as heavy underdogs, the Jets pulled off a stunning 20-17 win at MetLife Stadium.

Buffalo certainly hasn’t forgotten about that loss, as quarterback Josh Allen said, “It’s tough to win when your quarterback plays like s—.” The Bills will undoubtedly be out for blood as they want to take control of not just the AFC East but the conference in general, as they’re still competing for the No. 1 seed with the Chiefs.

A loss at Buffalo with four games left to go could take the Jets from being one of the three wild card teams in the AFC to the “in the hunt” category.

Despite getting off to a slow start, the Jets defense has continued to keep the team in almost every game this season. Sunday wasn’t any different as Gang Green held the Vikings’ offense to just seven points after halftime.

But missed opportunities like the amount the Jets had on Sunday could determine if they’re playing football in mid-January or if they’re in Cancun on vacation.

“It’s a game of inches,” wide receiver Garrett Wilson said. “I gotta figure out how I can make that play. It’s truly a game of inches.

“I can think of six plays in my head every time I say it. And I feel like that was the story of this game and take that away and know that going into this week of practice, it has to be detailed because we lost because of some things that could have been avoided.”



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