New York Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner and defensive end John Franklin-Myers were doing some NFL-level backtracking on Monday morning, less than 24 hours after their team endured an excruciating last-second loss to the New England Patriots.
Gardner and Franklin-Myers each liked tweets that were critical of quarterback Zach Wilson, who, along with the offense, couldn't get anything going against the Patriots. The game was tied 3-3 until literally the final seconds, when New England rookie Marcus Jones returned a punt 84 yards for a touchdown to give the Pats a 10-3 win.
As the quarterback, Wilson is supposed to lead the offense, something he appeared incapable of doing on Sunday. The offense had just two yards in the entire second half, a performance which head coach Robert Saleh called "dogs***." It seemed that Gardner might have been upset with Wilson taking zero responsibility for his role in the loss, and liked a tweet about Wilson posted by Dallas Cowboys cornerback Jourdan Lewis.
On Monday morning, when Twitter started noticing that Gardner had liked that tweet, he posted an explanation. It was an accident!
Sure. That's plausible. Not likely, but plausible. But then Gardner posted another tweet to further explain his mistake, which seemed less and less like a mistake the more he posted about it.
There's a famous Shakespeare line about protesting too much that applies here. When Franklin-Myers apologized for liking a tweet that was critical of Wilson, he tweeted just once. Though his explanation was similar to Gardner's: whoopsie doodle!
Little accountability from Wilson
One of the biggest issues with Sunday's game was what Wilson said after it. He and the offense were totally stymied by New England, but initially he barely took any responsibility for it. And by "barely," I mean none.
Wilson said into a microphone that he doesn't think his performance let down the defense. Why don't you be the judge? He completed nine of 22 passes for just 77 yards, and rushed three times for 26 yards. He threw no interceptions, but he also threw zero touchdowns. That's certainly better than a random person off the street could do, but in the NFL, fans and coaches and players expect a starting quarterback to be more than "slightly better than a rando."
According to multiple outlets, Jets players were quite miffed at Wilson when they heard that quote. No one has spoken out about Wilson specifically, but two players "accidentally" liking tweets critical of their QB is a statement in itself. Instead of shouting their anger out loud, they essentially screamed into a pillow and blamed the noise on the dog. We've all been there.