Red-zone woes doom Jets in 27-22 loss to Vikings

When you get into the red zone, you’re always looking to come away with seven points. Sometimes, you have to settle for three points, but as long as you can eventually come away with a few touchdowns, you’re in good shape.

When you only come away with one touchdown out of six trips to the red zone, your chances of winning a football game do way down.

Yet, the Jets still had a chance to win late in the game, but a brutal drop in the end zone by Braxton Berrios followed by a late interception thrown by Mike White killed their hopes on Sunday, as the Jets fell to the Minnesota Vikings 27-22. The Jets are now 7-5 with a huge trip to Buffalo looming in Week 14.

After a slow start on offense, the unit picked up steam in the second half and helped nearly erase a 20-6 halftime deficit, scoring on their first four possessions in the second half. Unfortunately, where they could have had 28 points (assuming extra points after each touchdown), they only took away 16. At least Greg Zuerlein is around. 5/5 in field goals, including a franchise-record 60-yard field goal.

The defense, once again, also deserves a ton of credit for keeping the Jets in the game. They forced five Minnesota punts in the second half. But a 75-yard touchdown drive nearly was the dagger for the Jets.

Other than that, the Jets really held the Vikings’ offense in check. Kirk Cousins only had 173 yards on 21/35 passing with a touchdown and Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen were held to 72 yards combined on nine catches.

Quinnen Williams recorded his 9th sack of the season and Carl Lawson scored his 6th of the year. In fact, the defense held the Vikings to under 300 yards of total offense.

The Jets, on the other hand, had almost 500 yards of offense. 486, to be exact. White recorded his second straight 300-yard passing day, going 31/57 for 369 yards. He also rushed for a touchdown on fourth down in the fourth quarter that gave the Jets hope, when the initial ruling on the field was that he was short. But two interceptions, including the late one to ice the game for the Vikings, really killed the Jets’ momentum.

One highlight from the Jets Sunday was Garrett Wilson strengthing his case for Offensive Rookie of the Year. Eight catches, 162 yards. It’s his third game with 100+ receiving yards and easily a career-high for him. His previous high was 115 against the Patriots in Week 8.

Zonovan Knight also rumbled for 90 yards on 15 carries, including a 48-yard scamper. He has carved out a role going forward, even when Michael Carter returns. James Robinson had 10 yards on four carries, while Ty Johnson had a ten-yard carry.

The defense gave the offense a chance, but the offense couldn’t take advantage. The moral of the story is you can’t get soft in the red zone and settle for three every time. Six red zone trips mean at least 36 points are possible, and with Zuerlein, 42 would certainly be possible. The Jets came away with 22 points.

Now, in a vacuum, 22 points doesn’t sound all that bad. But against an offense like the Vikings, you had to start wondering if all those points left on the table would come back to bite the Jets. It turns out they did.

Add to that the fact that third downs once again ruined the Jets on both sides of the ball. The Jets went 3/16 on third down. The Vikings went 9/18.

And now the Jets are clinging to a playoff spot and find themselves two games back in the division race and only one game ahead of the Patriots, to whom they lose the tiebreaker. Next week isn’t 100% a must-win for the Jets, but it may be very close to it.

Story originally appeared on Jets Wire