The NBC Sunday Night Football broadcast appeared to pick-up Aaron Rodgers’ Live reaction to a New York Jets play-call on a 3rd down and 1 play that resulted in a loss of yardage and ensuing punt.
With a little over 8 minutes to go in the second quarter on a short yardage play from the Jets 39-yard line, the Jets ran a running back draw to Breece Hall right up the middle that resulted in a no gain that saw Raiders linebacker Robert Spillane run through the gap unabated and crush Hall two yards behind the line of scrimmage.
Doug Gottlieb Show producer Jason Stewart (@JasonStewart) posted a video on X showing Rodgers shaking his head in disagreement right after Jets offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett was seen calling a play off his playsheet and relaying it Zach Wilson’s helmet. The Jets would be forced into one of their five punts on the night, but the Rodgers footage added even more insult to injury.
Hackett, who worked with Rodgers as the Packers OC from 2019-2021, had seemingly extinguished his demons after a Week 5 revenge victory over his former Broncos team. Hackett went 4-11 during his only season with the Broncos and became just the fifth coach in league history to be fired before the conclusion of his first season. Just days after Super Bowl champion Sean Payton was hired by the Broncos during the off-season as Hackett's replacement, Payton mocked Hackett’s Broncos tenure as ‘one of the worst coaching jobs in the history of the NFL.’
New York’s 31-21 victory over the Broncos on October 8th seemed like the monkey off Hackett’s back, not only with a head-to-head victory over the foul-mouthed Payton, but because it sunk the Broncos to 1-4, and it appeared like the Denver offense was just as discombobulated and incompetent under Payton as it was the prior year under Hackett. Hackett was seen shouting expletives towards the Broncos sideline, probably rightfully so, as the clock waned down under a minute to play and embraced with his Jets players like they had just won a playoff game.
Jets head coach Robert Saleh even presented Hackett with a game ball in the New York locker room as cameras showed a delighted Hackett.
Unfortunately for Hackett, the paths of the two teams would start to divulge in opposite directions.
The Jets would reel off two more victories in a row over the Eagles and Giants, but primarily led by the defense. Zach Wilson would throw one touchdown combined in the two affairs, and post back-to-back sub-80 passer rating games. Following that would be two ugly losses to the Chargers and Raiders with the Jets offense failing to get into the end zone.
The Broncos on the other hand would win three of their next four games, including a three-game winning streak over the Packers, Chiefs, and Bills. Russell Wilson’s passer rating is nearly a full 20 points higher (104.0/84.4) with Payton compared to Hackett, and his 18 touchdown passes through nine games already eclipses his 16 TDs from last year.
Losing Rodgers to a torn Achilles tendon just four plays into the season was a cruel twist of fate for Hackett, but the offense’s struggles with former no. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson have been almost inconceivable. Wilson has the third worst QBR in the NFL, only ahead of Ryan Tannehill and Bryce Young, and the Jets offense has the third-fewest points in the league as well.
If the season ended today, New York’s red zone touchdown conversion rate of 22.7% would be the lowest percentage since 1978, and no team has gone under 27% since 2003.
At the moment the 4-5 Jets sit in 13th place in the AFC playoff standings, and could have some life with with the 6th place Browns losing Deshaun Watson for the rest of the season, but difficult games at Buffalo and home vs. the Dolphins the next two weeks will determine if the playoffs are realistic.
Rodgers still claims that he could be back by 'mid-December', but many medical experts dispute that even being physically possible.