MINNEAPOLIS – The win slipped through the hands of the Jets on Sunday – or more specifically, the hands of Braxton Berrios.
The usually confident wideout couldn’t haul in Mike White’s fourth-and-goal pass from Minnesota’s 1-yard line for what would have been the go-ahead touchdown with 1:43 left in the game. Instead, the ball fell into the zone when Berrios tried to catch it and the Jets lost, 27-22 to the Vikings.
“He put the ball there,” Berrios said. “I have to make that play.”
The Jets had one more shot at the game-winning touchdown drive, but the opportunity they’ll look back on and regret missing was that pass to Berrios. White credited Berrios with changing his route on the play when he saw a hole in Minnesota’s defense. The quarterback also criticized himself for not putting the ball in front of Berrios.
“I’ve got to figure out how to put the ball a little bit in front of him and let him catch it safely instead of going hard,” White said.
Berrios dismissed the notion that White is wrong.
“That’s not for him. That’s on me,” Berrios said. “It’s fourth down. He has everything on his face, the rush is coming. You see bodies flying everywhere. He put it where I should have found it. That’s me.”
The Jets did a great job against Vikings star WR Justin Jefferson, but they couldn’t hold him down all day. Jefferson finished with seven catches for 45 yards and one touchdown on 11 targets. The Jets used different defensive players on the third-year star, but DJ Reed got a lot of time against him.
Reed, who woke up with fluid in his chest and on oxygen the rest of the game, left Jefferson down for a 10-yard pass with 8:43 to play.
“I was at his whole game,” Reed said. “He got me that one route, so I’m frustrated. I felt like I did a great job keeping him. It just confuses me because I don’t want to stop going down. I don’t want to be the reason for my team to lose.”
The Jets benched RT Max Mitchell in the second quarter and replaced George Fant, who was injured on Saturday.
“It sounds like he’s struggling a little bit,” head coach Robert Saleh said of Mitchell. “So I’m just trying to get George out of there.”
Fant was called for a pass-killing penalty in the third quarter when he made a block in the backfield, which moved the Jets from the Vikings’ 6-yard line back to the 16. They ended up kicking a field goal.
RB Michael Carter was inactive with an ankle injury. Rookie Zonovan Knight made his first NFL start in place of Carter. He rushed 15 times for 90 yards and added five catches for 28 yards.
Vikings safety Camryn Bynum ended the game with Mike White’s interception at the goal line on fourth down with 10 seconds left.
Jets receiver Braxton Berrios had a chance to be the hero on 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard line with 1:46 left and the Jets trailing by five points. White threw a quick pass to him that hit Berrios in the hands, but he couldn’t hold on to the ball.
The Unerased Warrior
Kicker Greg Zuerlein was 5 for 5 on Sunday, including a franchise-record 60-yarder before halftime. The Jets couldn’t get into the end zone, but Zuerlein kept them alive with his kick.
The Jets reached the red zone six times and came away with one touchdown. That was the story of the game in a five-point loss.
“Today was the definition of a game of inches, over and over again,” – Jets WR Garrett Wilson, who went out of bounds 11 after getting 60 yards on a reception early in the fourth quarter.