Jets fall to Raiders 16-12 as offense repeatedly stalls

Jets fall to Raiders 16-12 as offense repeatedly stalls

LAS VEGAS — Defense has been the strength of both the Jets and the Raiders this season.

However, it was the Raiders defense that stood tall when it mattered the most.

The Raiders (5-5) defeated the Jets (4-5) 16-12 at Allegiant Stadium on Sunday Night Football. Sunday was the Jets’ sixth game this season that was decided by one score or less. Before Sunday, Gang Green was 3-2 in those contests.

At the two-minute warning, the Jets had one final chance to take the lead down four points at the Raiders’ 22. But Raiders linebacker Robert Spillane intercepted Jets quarterback Zach Wilson to help the Raiders seal the victory with 1:14 remaining. That was Wilson’s first interception since the Jets victory against the Broncos on Oct. 8.

The Jets continue to struggle offensively this season. Gang Green hasn’t scored a touchdown since the first quarter of its 13-10 win against the Giants on Oct.29. The Raiders are 2-0 under interim coach Antonio Pierce after completing the New York sweep in back-to-back weekends.

“I’ve got to be better,” Wilson said. “I tried to beat him with the ball. He made an unbelievable play. I’ve got to see that obviously. It hurts because we made some harder plays to get there. To throw an interception to lose the game sucks.”

The Jets got the ball one final time following a punt by the Raiders with one minute left but they failed to find the end zone. Following the game, Jets coach Robert Saleh made it clear that Wilson was not the blame for the team’s loss on Sunday night.

“To give a full assessment on Zach, I think it would be fair to ask for everyone around him to play a little bit better, especially with the penalties,” Saleh said.

Tied 9-9 at the end of the third quarter, Raiders running back Josh Jacobs got the ball to the Jets’ 13 on a 40-yard run. That set up tight end Michael Mayer‘s seven-yard touchdown grab over safety Jordan Whitehead at the corner of the end zone, which gave the Raiders a 16-9 lead for good.

Like all season, the Jets defense did its part in containing the Raiders offense. Gang Green allowed only 274 yards of total offense and Las Vegas couldn’t get much going in rookie Aidan O’Connell’s third start of the second and second after replacing Jimmy Garoppolo as starter.

O’Connell completed 16 of 27 passes for 153 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The Jets defense sacked O’Connell three times, with the Raiders missing left tackle Kolton Miller due to a shoulder injury. Jacobs was able to feast on the Jets defense, which entered the night 30th in the NFL in rushing defense. He ran for 116 yards on 27 carries. The Raiders as a team rushed for 148 yards and averaged 4.6 yards per carry.

After a week where he was heavily criticized for his poor play during the 27-6 loss against the Chargers, Zach Wilson completed 23 of 39 passes for 263 yards and an interception. He also led the team in rushing with 54 yards, including a 20-yard run that set up a 30-yard field goal by Zuerlein in the second quarter.

The Jets also scored points (three field goals) on each of their first three possessions. However, the team couldn’t generate much offense after that. Gang Green had just three points after that, which marked the second straight game it couldn’t find the end zone. The Jets entered Sunday’s game last in the NFL in red zone efficiency at 23.8%.

Last week against the Chargers, Wilson was sacked eight times and he fumbled three separate times. He also held the ball entirely too. Because of that, many Jets fans were clamoring for Robert Saleh to bench Wilson in favor of backup Tim Boyle or Trevor Siemian, who is currently on the team’s practice squad.

But Saleh has continued to support Wilson after Aaron Rodgers’ Achilles tear in the season opener against the Bills on Sept. 11.

For the second consecutive week, penalties have been an issue for the Jets. Against the Raiders, the Jets committed eight penalties for 83 yards. Many of them wiped out massive gains from Breece Hall and others.

“We got to keep trying to figure it out,” Saleh said. “We have to address it. They know they know what the rules are. They’re just coming in at the worst times.”

Last week, during the loss to the Chargers, it was much of the same. The Jets registered eight penalties for 40 yards.

“It literally feels like every good play we have is getting called back,” Wilson said. “It is so frustrating. You understand how important every single drive is. We need to be better as a team. We need to find a way.”

After the game, Jets players were visibly frustrated with the team’s offensive struggles. Gang Green hasn’t scored a touchdown in 11 quarters and time is beginning to run out the possible of making the post season for the first time since 2010.

“We have to figure it the f— out,” Jets tight end Conklin said.

The Jets will be on the road for the second consecutive week to take on the Bills. The Raiders will also hit the road in Week 11 when they travel to Miami to play the Dolphins.

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