Wilson's resilience, monster defensive performance lift Jets to much-needed upset
The Jets five-game losing streak ends with an emphatic victory vs the Texans. Plus, how the defense finally gets the win they deserve.
What’s Up with the Jets? 🛩️
The Jets ended their five-game losing streak with a 30-6 win over the Texans (box)
New York scored three offensive touchdowns for the first time all season
QB Zach Wilson had one of the best performances of his career, going 27/36 (75 percent) for 301 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions, a lost fumble and a 117.9 passer rating
Wilson became the first Jets quarterback to throw for over 300 yards in 16 games
WR Garrett Wilson balled out, hauling in nine catches for a season-high 108 yards in the victory
RB Breece Hall continued to be a beast in the passing game with eight catches for 86 yards and a touchdown, along with 40 rushing yards on 10 carries
WR Xavier Gipson scored the first offensive touchdown of his career on a rushing attempt in the third quarter
K Greg Zuerlein went 2-for-2 on field goal attempts over 50 yards in the win
The Jets defense had one of their greatest performances of the season, holding Texans star QB C.J. Stroud to 10/23 (43.4 percent) for 91 yards and no touchdowns before exiting the game with an injury
New York’s defense has now gone 31 consecutive games without allowing a 300-yard passer
Earlier in the week, it was rumored that the Jets informed Zach Wilson that he would be traded in the offseason
Game Balls 🏈
🏈 Zach Wilson: I know – I can’t believe it, either. After receiving much criticism over the week for reportedly not wanting to resume his role as starting quarterback, Wilson had one of the best performances of his entire career. After a sleepy first half where neither team scored a point, Wilson and the Jets offense exploded in the second half. Aside from a fumble on a play where he should have slid, Wilson mostly played mistake free and led the Jets to their biggest offensive output of the season. He deserves a lot of credit for the toughness and resilience he showed against one of the biggest upstart teams in the NFL, and in the driving rain, no less.
🏈 Sauce Gardner: Although he may not be flashing as much as he did in his rookie year, it’s been another really solid campaign for the Jets star corner. This may have been his most active performance of the year, however, as it seemed like Gardner was all over the field on Sunday vs the Texans. On the day, Gardner was credited with two passes defended and four tackles (one for loss).
Play of the Week 📺
On the drive following the game’s first touchdown, the Jets offense was once again able to move down the field and get themselves into the red zone. On a rare creative play call by OC Nathaniel Hackett, the Jets executed a jet sweep to Xavier Gipson for the first offensive touchdown of his NFL career.
This play marked the first time that the Jets had scored multiple offensive touchdowns in the same game since Week 4 against the Chiefs, and the first time all year that they scored touchdowns on consecutive drives.
The Jets defense finally gets the win it deserves ✍️
Forget about the tank for a moment – the Jets really needed that one. Specifically the Jets defense, a unit that time-and-time again has given everything they’ve got only to be let down by the other areas of the team this year.
Coming into Sunday’s game vs. the Texans, the Jets had three games this season where their defense allowed 16 points or less and lost. This is a defense that wasn’t getting any support on an utterly historic level, and no one in the world would’ve blamed them if they started to take their foot off of the gas as the season continued to crumble away.
For a moment it looked as if that may have been happening, specifically in their blowout loss to the Bills in Week 11, but the defense had rebounded nicely to that and performed valiantly in the couple of weeks since. Still, though, they really deserved a win for all of the efforts they’d been putting in.
Over their previous five games, the Jets defense allowed an average of 21.6 points per game, and if you take out the Buffalo blowout that number goes down to 19 points per game. That number would rank in the upper level of the league, and yet the Jets still managed to go 0-5 over that stretch, large in part due to the fact that the team’s offense averaged just 7.4 points per game.
So, when the Jets stunned the NFL world by handing an absolute beatdown to the upstart Texans – led by star rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud – you had to feel good for that defense.
As usual, the Jets defensive unit was absolutely sterling on the day, holding the star Stroud to well under 50 percent completions and under 100 yards with no touchdowns, all of which were season-worsts for the rookie. Prior to Sunday’s loss, Stroud’s lowest passer rating of the entire season was 78.0. Stroud’s final output vs the Jets was over 20 points below that previously season mark, as he put up a 54.8 passer rating in the loss. Overall the Jets have not allowed a 300-yard passer in 31 consecutive games, the longest streak in the NFL since the Colts accomplished it over 52 straight games from from 2005-2008.
Despite not forcing any turnovers – and they had several opportunities to do so – the Jets put on one of their best defensive performances in a season where they’ve shut down the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen and Jalen Hurts. What changed the outcome, however, was that we finally saw life from the team’s offense.
While the focus of this editorial is the defense getting a much-deserved victory after such a difficult stretch, I do want to take this opportunity to shoutout Zach Wilson who easily had one of the best performances of his entire career. Despite reportedly not wanting to play for the rest of the season earlier in the week, something that the young QB got rightfully hammered over, Wilson showed a ton of resilience and gaul with that performance. Wilson ultimately completed 75 percent of his passes for 301 yards – just the third time in his NFL career he’s eclipsed 300 yards – with two touchdowns, no interceptions and a fumble. Wilson’s 117.9 passer rating was the highest of his professional career, surpassing his 105.2 rating against the Chiefs earlier this season.
This victory doesn’t do all too much to change the calculus of what’s left of this season for the Jets – at 5-8 they are still well behind a bevy of seven-win teams in the postseason race – and Wilson is likely to be traded in the offseason based on his performance this season and rumors that came out over the last week. But for the overall tenor and morale of this club, this was a much-needed feel-good performance.
The coaching staff needed it, the offense desperately needed it, and the defense deserved it.
Next Week’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Jets (5-8) at Dolphins (9-3)
Where: Hard Rock Stadium – Miami, FL
When: Sunday, 1:00 PM EDT
Where to Watch: CBS
Around the NFL 🏁
The Ravens outlasted the Rams in overtime thanks to a walk-off punt return touchdown from WR Tylan Wallace
The Chiefs had a go-ahead touchdown in the final two minutes overturned thanks to a Kadarius Toney offsides call on offense, as Kansas City lost to the Bills by a 20-17 score
Chargers QB Justin Herbert fractured his finger in the team’s 24-7 loss to the Broncos and could potentially miss the remainder of the season
49ers WR Deebo Samuel set the all-time record for rushing touchdowns by a wide receiver with the 19th rushing score of his career in San Francisco’s 28-16 win vs the Seahawks
Browns QB Joe Flacco threw for over 300 yards as Cleveland held off the Jaguars with a 31-27 win
The Vikings were victorious slogfest vs the Raiders, becoming just the seventh team since the 1970 merger to win a game by a 3-0 score