Rory McIlroy decided to become "a pain in the a**e" for Greg Norman after the LIV Golf chief executive accused him of having been "brainwashed" by the PGA Tour.

The Northern Irishman has been a fierce critic of the controversial Saudi Arabia-backed circuit, and was recently joined by Tiger Woods in calling for Norman to leave his role.

McIlroy said last month that Norman must "exit stage left" and that the bitter civil war engulfing the sport would not end "unless there's an adult in the room".

Norman recently opted to continue the duo's war of words when speaking to Today's Golfer, saying he paid "zero attention" to the three-time FedEx Cup champion's opinion.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, McIlroy recalled a positive exchange he had with Norman after watching a documentary focused on the Australian's collapse at the 1986 Masters, where Jack Nicklaus edged him out for a one-shot victory.

"It was a bit of an olive branch," McIlroy said. "He came back to me straight away, [saying] 'I really think golf can be a force for good around the world... I know our opinions are not aligned but I'm just trying to create more opportunities for every golfer around the world.'

"Fine. Really nice. Then, a couple of weeks later, he does an interview with The Washington Post and says I've been brainwashed by the PGA Tour.

"We've had this really nice back-and-forth and he says that about me.

"I thought: 'You know what? I'm going to make it my business now to be as much of a pain in his a**e as possible'."

Memphis Depay has taken a swipe at ex-NBA star and American TV analyst Charles Barkley following the Netherlands' 3-1 win over the United States in the World Cup round of 16 on Saturday.

Depay opened the scoring in the victory, which came after Barkley had started trash talk in the lead-up to the knockout stage clash.

Barkley said on NBA on TNT: "We're going for the Netherlands. We opening up a can of whoop-a** 'cause I guarantee the Netherlands is in trouble."

The official Dutch team Twitter account responded with a hype video of Barkley's quotes shortly prior to kick-off with Barcelona attacker having the last laugh.

"Lotta bark, no bite," Depay posted on Twitter only a few hours after the game, with an image of a forlorn-looking Barkley under the 3-1 scoreline.

The victory means the Netherlands will take on Argentina in the quarter-finals, while the USA's World Cup is over.

Ja Morant has been fined $35,000 by the NBA for "directing inappropriate language towards a game official" and for not leaving the court soon enough.

The punishment was announced by the league on Saturday in response to the Memphis Grizzlies guard's behaviour in the 109-101 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday.

With just over a minute left of the game, Morant was given a technical and ejected by the referee, which provoked an angry response from the 23-year-old.

He took to Instagram after the game to suggest officials have "too much power," adding: "you get ejected nowadays for telling a mf the same thing they told you."

Morant has been enjoying another productive season in Memphis, averaging 28.2 points, 7.3 assists and 6.4 rebounds per game for the 13-9 Grizzlies, who visit the Detroit Pistons on Sunday.

Tyson Fury took the opportunity to call out Oleksandr Usyk after his TKO victory against Derek Chisora at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Victory came in front of the Ukrainian at ringside, who holds the other three heavyweight belts, and it is widely expected that a unification fight is next on the agenda.

There has not been a unified heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis at the turn of the millennium and such a bout has evaded Fury in recent years, having seen an agreement to fight Anthony Joshua fall away after the pandemic.

Fury has made it abundantly clear on the next step he wants to take in his career, going face-to-face with Usyk in front of the cameras.

"Where's Oleksandr Usyk, the rabbit? You're next, you little b****, you're getting it," he said in the ring.

"15 stone little midget beat a bodybuilder [referring to Anthony Joshua], but I'm not a bodybuilder. I've already beaten one Ukrainian in [Wladimir] Klitschko. Let's get it on. I will end you. What you going to do? You're going to do f*** all.

"I can't wait. All these big fights have been evaded for so long, but they can't run away anymore. They can run but they can't hide."

Fury and Usyk were also joined in the ring by Joe Joyce, with the Gypsy King taking the opportunity to call out his compatriot as a future opponent.

"Why don't us three do a Royal Rumble?" Fury asked. "Big Joe Joyce is here, he's a warrior. Everyone else is scared of you, so if [Usyk] doesn't want it, let's me and you do Wembley.

"I want Oleksandr Usyk next. If not you, Joe Joyce. I've got some hand problems, I've got to maybe have some surgery on my elbow, but after that, I'm open to anyone.

"I had the left done after the [Deontay] Wilder fight, it will take about six to eight weeks to heal. We'll see when we can be ready, we will see when it can be made."

Speaking earlier in the night ahead of the Fury-Chisora fight, Usyk dubbed the potential bout between him and Fury as one that is clamoured for across the globe.

"The whole of Great Britain, the whole world, especially Ukraine, everyone wants to see this fight happen," he told Sky Sports.

Son Heung-min was "so f****** proud" as South Korea beat Portugal 2-1 in dramatic circumstances to incredibly secure their passage to the last 16 of the World Cup against all odds.

Although Portugal were underwhelming at Education City Stadium on Friday, it appeared a 1-1 draw was the best South Korea could manage against the Selecao.

Elsewhere in Group H, Uruguay were coasting to a 2-0 victory over Ghana, which meant La Celeste were going to join Portugal in the next round.

But a purposeful run at the heart of the Portugal defence from Son in second-half stoppage time put Fernando Santos' men under pressure, and the Tottenham forward threaded a fine pass through the legs of a defender for Hwang Hee-chan to latch on to.

Hwang confidently swept past Diogo Costa to spark bedlam among the South Korea players, substitutes and staff, while head coach Paulo Bento watched on in a sense of bewilderment in the stands after earning a red card last time out.

South Korea saw out the win and were then left with a tense six-minute wait for the other game to finish, and Uruguay duly failed to get the additional two goals required – it was a long wait for Son.

"It was the longest six minutes of my life I'll say, but in the huddle [on the pitch] we were really positive," Son told reporters afterwards.

"The guys were saying, 'Look, we deserve this, it's well deserved'. And I said [regardless of] what's going to happen, even if Uruguay score more goals, I'm f****** proud of this team.

"That's what I said. I'm very proud of this team and that they gave everything. I was sure we were going through and then everyone was just waiting. But it was a long six minutes."

Four years ago at the same stage of Russia 2018, South Korea and Son suffered heartbreak.

Although they beat Germany on matchday three, confirming the then-holders' elimination, a 3-0 win for Sweden over Mexico ensured South Korea did not go through to the last 16.

But that disappointment did not even cross Son's mind on Friday due to the delirium brought by their victory.

"Of course, I think it was similar moments. We beat Germany 2-0 and if Mexico won their game, probably we go through, but this time [the outcome] was different.

"We were waiting for other results, but I didn't even think about four years ago because I was so happy, so proud. What can I say? I was really happy and really proud."

The Taeguk Warriors' fightback against Portugal was evidence of their character, and Son was keen to pay tribute to the whole squad on what was a memorable day for everyone, even those who did not play.

"We are spending more time together than with friends and family because in the camp the guys have already been here more than a month," he continued.

"I think we are really close, I'm really grateful that who didn't play obviously could be really sad, but they didn't show that disappointment.

"They gave everything on the bench, supporting us. I think this makes a huge difference to be one team [rather] than just going different ways, so I'm very happy, very grateful to lead this team and have this team."

South Korea will play whichever team finishes top of Group G next, with Brazil their likely opponents.

Jack Grealish expressed remorse for his disparaging comments about Miguel Almiron, admitting "that was one thing I regret".

The Manchester City winger aimed a harsh jibe at his Newcastle United counterpart in the aftermath of the Citizens' Premier League triumph earlier this year.

In a clip that went viral, Grealish said he had welcomed the substitution of Riyad Mahrez against Aston Villa on the final day as his team-mate "played like Almiron" – in reference to the Paraguay international's ineffective performances for the Magpies.

However, Almiron has enjoyed an upturn in form this season and won the Premier League's Player of the Month and Goal of the Month awards for October after scoring six times in six games.

As he revisited the infamous incident, Grealish revealed his respect for the former Atlanta United player, who he is thrilled to see thriving in the English top flight.

"I haven't actually been asked about that and let me just address it," the England international told The Independent. "It was the day after the season finished, and obviously I'd had a few drinks.

"Straight after that, because I didn't realise, we were out celebrating, and I wasn't on my phone on social media. I remember I was in Ibiza, and it had obviously come out. That was one thing I regret.

"I'm actually buzzing the way he's reacted. He said something about me in the interview the other day, he wished me the best. I thought 'what a guy'.

"Because if that was me, and somebody had said that about me, I'd have probably been the other way and been like 'f**k it'.

"I messaged [Newcastle defender] Matt Targett because I'm close with him from Villa and I said to him 'can you message him for me and say to him that I apologise? I obviously didn't mean it'.

"When I look back on that, that was just one thing that was stupid of me to say. I shouldn't have said it. I didn't realise it was a video to go out, I thought it was just private. But even in private, I shouldn't have said it because he's a fellow professional.

"I'm actually buzzing for him, I've had a lot of stick off the Newcastle fans and rightly so. At the end of the day, they are backing their player, which I fully understand. He seems like the most harmless, nice guy, so fair play."

Grealish is on duty with the Three Lions at the World Cup in Qatar, appearing as a substitute in all three of their matches so far, while scoring the final goal of the commanding 6-2 win over Iran.

The winger will hope to feature again on Sunday, when Gareth Southgate's side lock horns with Senegal at the Al Bayt Stadium for a place in the quarter-finals.

Kyler Murray has fired back at criticism from former Arizona Cardinals team-mate Patrick Peterson, accusing him of using his name to grow podcast numbers.

It has been a tough season for quarterback Murray and the Cardinals who are now 4-8 for the season following a dramatic 25-24 defeat to the Los Angeles Chargers last weekend.

Following that loss, Murray drew more attention to the reported tensions between himself and head coach Kliff Kingsbury when he said the Cardinals were "schematically f****d". Earlier this season, the two were involved in a heated exchange during a win over the New Orleans Saints.

Cornerback Peterson, who played with Murray for two seasons and is now with the Minnesota Vikings, said on the 'All Things Covered' podcast: "Kyler Murray don't care about nobody but Kyler Murray. That's just a matter of fact."

He added that Kingsbury will wind up as a scapegoat for the Cardinals' struggles, saying: "Ain't no maybe, he will. He will be. He will be. And the crazy thing about it, the guy who hired him will still have a job."

Murray took exception to Peterson's jibes and issued a blunt riposte on social media.

He wrote: "This isn't true…you on some weird s***, you got my number, if you really felt like this as a 'big bro' or 'mentor' you supposed to call me and tell me, not drag me so your podcast can grow…"

DeShaun Watson has shown a lack of remorse and should have been suspended by the NFL for at least a year, according to the president of anti-sexual assault organisation RAINN.

Scott Berkowitz spoke to Stats Perform as Watson prepares to make his Cleveland Browns debut.

Watson was handed an 11-game suspension and a $5million fine following sexual assault and misconduct allegations. The 27-year-old has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and is facing no criminal charges.

The ban has meant the star quarterback has yet to debut for the Browns after his March trade from the Houston Texans, which was followed by a lucrative new contract in Cleveland.

The NFL had initially hit Watson with a six-game ban before the punishment was extended. Berkowitz was happy to see that decision taken but says there is still work to be done.

"There's no length of suspension that would make up for the damage that he did to all those women. We initially advocated for a year suspension, which I think would have been appropriate," Berkowitz told Stats Perform.

"But 11's a whole lot better than six. So, it is what it is, and he'll be back on the field. And hopefully, with some different behaviour going forward.

"It [Watson's return] was bound to come eventually. But I certainly wished this suspension had been a little longer.

"But I just appreciate that the NFL added to the initial recommendation, at least, and made it longer than it initially looked like it was going to be."

Berkowitz said he can appreciate the need for second chances, but he claims Watson has not truly accepted any wrongdoing.

Watson has settled 23 of the 24 lawsuits against him.

"I understand second chances, I think that is something as a society we need to offer folks. But usually, there's a requirement that there's remorse and that they make things better," Berkowitz said.

"I think in this case, the day the suspension was announced, I recall he first put out a quote that had been written by the team that said the right things and then he immediately followed that up with what he really thought, which is that he doesn't think he did anything wrong.

"I don't know how you talk about forgiveness to someone who doesn't feel any remorse."

Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam said on August 1 that "Deshaun is remorseful that this situation has caused much heartache to many and he will continue the work needed to show who he is on and off the field".

In a remarkable coincidence, Watson – who has a fully guaranteed $230million five-year deal with Cleveland – is set to make his Browns bow against the Texans on Sunday.

During five years in Houston (the last of which in the 2021 season Watson did not make a single appearance), he twice helped the Texans to the playoffs and was a three-time Pro-Bowler.

Berkowitz does not expect Watson to receive an overly enthusiastic reaction from the home crowd.

"I suspect it won't be a hero's greeting, or I hope it won't. You never know when a star comes back to their hometown," Berkowitz said.

"But, you know, I hope that the reaction takes into account the terrible things he's done. It's hard to be enthusiastic for rooting for a guy who's done the things that he was accused of doing."

However, Berkowitz did acknowledge the reception from Browns fans moving forward will likely depend on Watson's performances on the field.

"I'd like it to be taken into account, his actions, but I'm realistic, that's once he gets going if he plays well, that the memory of that, unfortunately, is going to fade pretty quickly," he said.

"Most fans of most teams have learned to put personalities aside and put that behaviour aside, unfortunately, and, once they're playing well, they start cheering for the guy.

"And we're all guilty of that. So, there's always that tension, when your team is putting up people who you need to win but you don't feel comfortable rooting for personally."

Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez has issued an apology to Lionel Messi after he accused the Argentina forward of disrespecting the Mexico flag in the World Cup.

The boxing superstar reacted furiously after a video from the dressing room following Argentina's 2-0 victory over Mexico appeared to show Messi catching a Mexico shirt with his foot during the celebrations, which was on the floor.

Canelo declared "I ask God that I don't find him" but, having attracted criticism following his comments, has now backtracked and issued an apology to the Argentina captain.

"These last few days I got carried away by the passion and love I feel for my country and made comments that were out of place for which I want to apologise to Messi and the people of Argentina," he posted on Twitter. "Every day we learn something new and this time it was my turn.

"I wish both teams much success in their matches today and here we will continue supporting Mexico until the end."

Both sides went into the final round of matches in Group C with hopes of advancing to the knockout stage of the competition, with Argentina tackling Poland and Mexico taking on Saudi Arabia.

Canelo Alvarez has issued a warning to Lionel Messi as he accused the Argentina forward of disrespecting the Mexico flag following Saturday's World Cup clash.

Argentina kept their hopes of being crowned champions alive with a 2-0 victory over Mexico, Messi scoring the opening goal with a sublime finish from outside the penalty area.

Messi has incurred the wrath of boxing superstar Canelo after footage emerged of the Argentina captain with either a Mexico shirt in front of him on the floor in the dressing room during the post-match celebrations.

As  Messi pulled off his boot, he appeared to have caught the shirt with his foot and Canelo was not impressed.

"Did you see Messi cleaning the floor with our shirt and flag ???? I ask God that I don't find [him]!!" he posted on Twitter.

The Mexican fighter added: "Just as I respect Argentina, you have to respect Mexico!! I'm not talking about the country [Argentina] I’m talking about Messi because of the b******* he did.

Canelo wrote in another social media post: "Since the Mexico shirt is on the ground, it's already an insult. Stop b*******ing about what was or wasn't."

Argentina go into their final Group C game against leaders Poland knowing a win will put them into the round of 16, while a draw will be sufficient if Mexico draw with Saudi Arabia.

Mexico need a win to have any chance of progressing, while they also need a helping hand from Poland. 

Rory McIlroy thinks he may have given Tiger Woods COVID-19 on the eve of the Open Championship after the pair played at a charity event beforehand.

The Northern Irishman, who claimed a third FedEx Cup this year, has forged a close bond over the years with the American, one strengthened by their shared views on the LIV Golf breakaway this season.

While several of their rivals warmed up at the Scottish Open for this year's Open, McIlroy and Woods played at a fundraising event hosted by JP McManus at Adare Manor.

Now, four-time major winner McIlroy has revealed he played at St Andrews while battling COVID-19 – and that he fears he gave it to Woods after the two dined together.

"I woke up feeling a bit achy but didn't really think anything of it," he told the Irish Independent. "[But] as I'm getting up from the table, I'm sore and stiff and super tired.

"I slept for maybe two hours, and the sweat was just pouring off me. Erica [McIlory's wife] took my temperature, and it was sky-high.

"[Tiger] texted me that night with chills and fever. I'm like 'f****** hell, I've just given Tiger COVID. This is horrendous!'. So we both had COVID going into the Open.

"The whole week of the Open, I didn't have any taste, and everything [was] like vinegar to me. Everything. It was really strange."

Woods went on to miss the cut at the Open, while McIlroy was edged out by Cameron Smith on the final day at St Andrews.

McIlroy did end the season on a high, topping the DP World Tour rankings and returning to number one in the world.

Canada's 1-0 defeat to Belgium was "statistically", according to John Herdman, "a winning performance" – and it is easy to see why he thinks that.

Canada attempted 22 shots, twice as many as their previous World Cup record (11 versus USSR in 1986), with their attempts worth a combined 2.6 expected goals.

Belgium's chances were worth 0.8 xG, but they crucially scored through Michy Batshuayi.

Canada still have not scored a World Cup goal from 50 shots. No team have played more finals matches (four) without ever finding the net, while only Bolivia have previously failed to register in their first five such fixtures.

Another "winning performance" against Croatia will count for little if they cannot end that drought.

 

"It's those behaviours that we'll continue to work on," coach Herdman said. "That's what the players see in the review meeting [after the Belgium game].

"And we've got to close some gaps going into this meeting with Croatia, who are a hell of a team."

That more measured praise of Croatia was slightly at odds with Herdman's emotions immediately post-match, when he called on his Canada players to "'F'" their next opponents.

"The gentleman expressed himself that way, that is his right," responded Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic. "I won't dwell on that. We have to speak on the field.

"Everyone has their own way of expressing themselves. I just don't know how nice it is to say something like that. I will discuss it with the players. It can only motivate us."

It is easy to see why Herdman might have been confident, though, if he had taken in Croatia's goalless draw against Morocco.

The 2018 finalists had just five shots in that match, their lowest total in a single World Cup contest. They averaged 16.1 shots per game in Russia.

Still, Canada have lost each of their first four World Cup games and will be eliminated if that sequence continues against Croatia.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Croatia – Josko Gvardiol

Not many Croatia players stood out against Morocco, but Gvardiol was one. He set Croatia World Cup records for passes attempted (115) and completed (102), although he might have more work to do defensively in this encounter based on Canada's first display. It is an opportunity to impress for a man linked with a host of Europe's leading clubs.

Canada – Jonathan David

Alphonso Davies may have passed up Canada's clearest chance from the penalty spot, but David will similarly rue a wasteful opening display. He had seven shots against Belgium, all from inside the box, but missed the target with each of them. It was only the second example since 1966 of a player taking all of his seven shots from inside the area yet failing to trouble the goalkeeper (also Italy's Paolo Barison against North Korea in 1966).

PREDICTION

Even in defeat, Canada were one of the more impressive performers of the opening round of matches, but they are still facing the finalists from the last World Cup – and the supercomputer's forecast bears that out.

Croatia are 47.0 per cent favourites, according to Stats Perform's AI model, with Canada given a 27.0 per cent chance and the draw rated a shade more unlikely at 26.0 per cent.

Kai Havertz believes Ilkay Gundogan and Manuel Neuer's criticism of Germany's performance against Japan can spur them on in Sunday's do-or-die meeting with Spain.

Germany lost their opening World Cup game for just the third time (W13 D4) on Wednesday as Bundesliga duo Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano came off the bench to fire Japan to a shock 2-1 win.

Captain Neuer lamented Germany's failure to put the game to bed after the defeat, while Gundogan said Asano's goal was one of the most straightforward ever scored at a World Cup.

The shock result leaves Germany facing consecutive World Cup group-stage exits ahead of their meeting with Spain – who are favourites to top Group E after thrashing Costa Rica 7-0.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Havertz insisted his team-mates' comments had not caused any ill feeling, saying: "It was constructive criticism from Ilkay and Manu. 

"I can understand the boys. We talked about it. Such criticism is also good for the team because we continue to develop. It was a small snippet from an interview. Nobody is angry there.

"I can understand that negativity comes up from a lot of fans. There's a lot of people taking shots at us, but in my head I'm not worried. 

"I don't care what was in the past. It's a big game on Sunday. There's no use getting negative thoughts now. We are looking ahead."

Another early elimination would continue a run of poor tournament displays from Die Mannschaft, who went out in the last 16 at Euro 2020 after failing to make the knockout stages in Russia four years ago, but Havertz expects them to improve next time out.

"The statistics don't speak for us, but we have experienced a lot of change in recent years, which is not easy," the Chelsea forward added.

"That is not an excuse. What we have shown is not enough. But we will do everything we can to improve that."

The omens are not good for Germany, who have won just one of their last seven meetings with Spain (D2 L4) – a run which includes a humiliating 6-0 loss in Seville two years ago.

Julian Brandt does not believe that result will have any bearing on Sunday's fixture, and he hopes Germany can draw on their Euro 2020 experience in a bid to keep their World Cup dream alive.

"We're in a s***** situation and Spain come into the stadium with a 7-0 win behind them, but this is an opportunity for us. This can release a lot of energy," Brandt said.

"A little over a year ago, we also lost to France in the first game and then we won in the second game against Portugal. The guys understand such a situation. I don't think the 6-0 is still relevant."

When asked to evaluate the New York Jets' offensive performance in the second half against the New England Patriots, Robert Saleh was succinct.

"Dog s***,"  was his reply.

It is an assessment that was as accurate as it was curt, having come after the Jets managed just two yards of offense in the final two quarters of their 10-3 loss to the Patriots.

The defeat came in heartbreaking fashion as Patriots rookie Marcus Jones returned a punt 84 yards in the dying seconds for the game's only touchdown and saw the Jets fall to the bottom of AFC East at 6-4. Had they prevailed, New York would have been top at 7-3.

From an offensive standpoint it was a fitting end to a game where they averaged a meagre 2.1 yards per play.

Yet, in the sense that quarterback Zach Wilson did not hand the Patriots the game with a string of backbreaking interceptions as he did three weeks prior, this outing arguably represented an improvement for the Jets' quarterback.

But for a player the Jets drafted second overall in 2021, choosing between curbing his off-schedule plays but delivering no offensive production or allowing him to create at the risk of disastrous turnovers is a dreadful position to be in, and it raises the question whether it is time for New York to already be thinking about moving on from Wilson.

Anything but accurate

For as anaemic as the Jets' offense was in Week 11, the case could be made that this was one of Wilson's cleaner games as he threw only one interceptable pass, according to Stats Perform data.

But that it is even possible to make such a suggestion speaks to how low Wilson's floor is. At his worst, he is a quarterback who struggles significantly with accuracy and is prone to head-scratching throws that often result in gift-wrapped turnovers for the defense.

While he had only one such turnover-worthy throw on Sunday, which Patriots safety Devin McCourty inexplicably dropped, Wilson was painfully inaccurate when attacking New England's pass defense. His well-thrown rate, which measures the number of accurate, well-thrown balls delivered by a quarterback, was just 60 per cent, the worst among all signal-callers with at least 10 pass attempts in Week 11 as of Monday.

And the evidence indicates his relatively careful performance in New England was an aberration, with his tendency for off-target throws in keeping with what he has produced in his second season as a pro.

Indeed, his well-thrown rate of 70.6 per cent is the worst in the NFL while his pickable pass rate of 6.47 per cent is only an improvement on that of Taylor Heinicke (7.35 per cent) and Jameis Winston (7.27 per cent) for quarterbacks with a minimum of 100 attempts.

There is, though, an argument the blame should not be entirely on Wilson, who has struggled while playing behind a banged-up offensive line.

Pressure a problem, but no excuse

The Jets can count Mekhi Becton, George Fant and Alijah Vera-Tucker among their offensive linemen on the sidelines, robbing them of two starting tackles and a guard.

Their pressure rate allowed of 42.3 per cent is well above the league average of 38.7 per cent but, though Wilson is one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL under pressure, he and the Jets cannot pin all of his woes on the pass protection.

Among quarterbacks with at least 50 throws under pressure, Wilson is last in the NFL with a well-thrown rate of 54 per cent and a pickable pass percentage of 18.

Wilson has only thrown two pickable passes when he is not pressured, but Carson Wentz is the sole quarterback with at least 100 such attempts with a worse well-thrown rate when kept clean than the Jets' starter's 77.5 per cent.

In other words, while Wilson is a better quarterback when not pressured, he is still among the least accurate passers in the league even when the offensive line does its job.

Wilson has not been supported by an overly efficient run game. The Jets' run success rate of 30.1 per cent is the second-worst in the league, yet their average gain on the ground of 4.4 yards is in line with the NFL average. 

The Jets have won just one game since sensational rookie running back Breece Hall suffered a season-ending injury, but their efforts on the ground in his absence have not been bad enough to justify Wilson's evident lack of year two growth, which is wasting an excellent season from the defense.

A playoff calibre defense

Saleh's defense ranks ninth in the NFL with a success rate allowed of 37.1 per cent and has excelled against the run and the pass without having to commit significant resources to defending either.

The Jets are allowing an average of four yards per play on the ground (the average is 4.4) while only playing with a heavy box on 36.5 per cent of defensive snaps. Similarly, they have the fourth-highest pressure rate (43.2 per cent) in the NFL but the lowest blitz rate (15.6 per cent). 

New York's defense is containing the ground game without having to bring defenders down from the secondary to do so and gets consistent pressure on quarterbacks while only sending four defensive linemen as pass rushers.

In essence, the Jets possess a defense ideally suited to stopping modern-day offenses, one that should be spearheading their playoff challenge.

Instead, the defense and the Jets as a whole are being limited by a quarterback whom they drafted to elevate the offense.

The Jets' victories this season have often come in spite of Wilson, who next campaign will enter the third year of his rookie deal. That would normally be the time for a team to consider starting discussions with their young quarterback about a contract extension, but Wilson has given the Jets no reason to be motivated to enter such conversations.

Unless Wilson turns things around down the stretch and ensures the Jets' season is one reflective of the plethora of talent they possess across the rest of the roster, the internal discussions around the man they picked to be the face of the franchise will likely be focused on how they replace him.

New York Jets receiver Garrett Wilson has slammed his side for their woeful offensive display against the New England Patriots, pointing fingers at issues behind the scenes.

The Jets managed just 103 total yards and six first downs in the 10-3 defeat, with a horrendous second half showing resulting in just two positive yards.

Criticism has been directed towards quarterback Zach Wilson, who went 9 for 22 with passing attempts, though he insisted post-match that he did not feel he let down the defense.

The Jets' receiver had a different outlook, however, making it clear that there are problems that need to be addressed in order for the team to improve.

"We know we're better than that. That's why it hurts," he told reporters after the game.

"It starts in practice. It's got to be better, the things we see and don't call out. It has to start getting called out. This is unacceptable.

"No one wants to feel like this, but that's not enough. Hopefully, this is a wake-up for some people in the facility, people in the facility to get on their details.

"It starts during the week in practice, coaching, all of that. We have to be detailed. We all have to have a better plan.

"This s*** is not OK. Straight up. It's not OK. How many total yards did we have? Yeah, that s*** is not going to fly.

"Let's call it like it is: We have to be better in the passing game if we want to be where we want to be at. And we know we can be there, that's the most frustrating part.

"We don't have to be in games like this. They didn't even score on offense, and we lost the game.

"Me, personally, I think we have to take it for what it is. We got our ass beat on offense, and the results showed."

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