The New York Jets gave the Kansas City Chiefs everything they could handle on "Sunday Night Football," as the defending Super Bowl champions barely squeaked out a 23-20 victory in Week 4. A big reason for the close contest was Jets quarterback Zach Wilson shockingly out-playing reigning NFL MVP and Super Bowl MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Wilson totaled 245 passing yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions on 28 of 39 passing for a 105.2 passer rating. Sunday night marked the first game of Wilson's career in which he had multiple passing touchdowns and no interceptions in a game. Mahomes threw for 203 passing yards while also accumulating a touchdown and two interceptions on 18 of 30 passing for a 63.6 passer rating. Those statistics led to Wilson being the first quarterback to have more completions, more passing yards, more passing touchdowns and fewer interceptions than Mahomes in a game opposite the two-time Super Bowl champion OptaStats., according to
However, one ex-NFL player wasn't interested in having a positive dialogue about Wilson afterwards. With Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones appearing on NBC's postgame show, retired NFL safety Rodney Harrison, a current NBC Sports analyst, had a derogatory line of questioning for Jones regarding Wilson.
"Was Zach better on tape than you thought he would be?" Harrison asked. "You can be honest."
After Jones was complimentary of Wilson's growth this season, Harrison doubled down on dissing Wilson in his follow-up question to Jones.
"Watching that tape, man, you have to be like, 'This dude is garbage, we should really tear him apart.'"
Harrison then cut Jones off when he said Wilson was "special" and "just needs time to grow."
"I think he had a special night, but you have to prove you are special over time. You [Jones] are special."
Another one of the NFL's top players, Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons, came to Wilson's defense on his "The Edge" podcast on Bleacher Report. The Cowboys defeated the Jets, 30-10, in Week 2, a game in which Wilson had a season-high three interceptions. Parsons earned NFC Defensive Player of the Week honor after his performance against Wilson and the Jets offense. He totaled two sacks, six quarterback pressures, three tackles for loss and a forced fumble in Week 2.
"To me bro, that's just not right," Parsons said Monday. "I always keep my faith in God, and I'm going to keep this real with you. We are not one to judge. We can't keep saying someone is garbage, saying who is special and who's not special. If you're a really good football player, yes Chris Jones is a really good football player. Is he a better football player than Zach Wilson? Yes, but Chris has built himself upon that [status]. We're not giving Zach Wilson that same courtesy. Let him grow and continue to get better each week."
Parsons then called Harrison's interviewing "fraudulent" before reiterating that Wilson, 24-years-old and in his third NFL season, needs to be given time to develop.
"To me that's a fraudulent move," Parsons said. "Zach Wilson is special in his own way bro. You can't sit here and say, you look at the tape and he's garbage. ... You can say he's not a Mahomes tier [quarterback], but you can't say he's not a good quarterback. He's a starting quarterback in the NFL. Rodney, if you were so good, then show me you can [be an NFL quarterback]. He is a top-five pick, and he got drafted that high for a reason. Let his traits and everything he do grow."
Parsons then addressed Wilson directly with words of encouragement.
"Zach, you're out there," Parsons said. "I hope you win, I hope you grow into the player no one thinks you can grow into. There is a lot people hating on you brother. Hall of Famers , ex-pro players [Harrison], which makes no sense. I get we all love the game of football, but we have to remember Zach is a human being. ... We don't use our platform to degrade other players. We use our platform to uplift people. Everyone in this world just needs someone to believe in them, and I'm big on that."
On Monday, Jets head coach Robert Saleh made it sound like Harrison reached out to Wilson to apologize about his comments.
"I heard about it this morning and from my understanding, Rodney handled everything the right way," Saleh said, via The 33rd Team. "Rodney is a good man. ... He handled it exactly how it's supposed to. ... It's part of the profession, fair or unfair. Even though it feels personal, it's not personal. We get it, it's part of the business."