The New York Jets defeated the Tennessee Titans in overtime thanks to Zach Wilson’s big-play talent.
East Rutherford, New Jersey Immediately following the New York Jets’ first victory as a coach-quarterback duo,
Robert Saleh asked rookie Zach Wilson a question.
“Are you having fun yet?” he queried, curious to know.
Wilson later said that the team’s 27-24 overtime victory over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday at MetLife Stadium was “interesting fun,” but he added, “It was a roller-coaster game, for sure.”
Because of Wilson, who had some game-changing plays but also made a couple of blunders that could’ve cost the Jets their first victory, that’s why.
During the fourth quarter, Wilson threw for 297 yards and two touchdowns while reigniting an offense that had scored just 20 points in the previous three games. The Jets fell behind 9-0 early in the game and 17-10 at the end of the third quarter. For the third year in a row, they were off to an 0-4 start.
After that, Wilson, the Jets’ second-round pick, began to show the playmaking skills that had the team so enamored. He came up with three impromptu moves that turned nothing into a big deal.
He was “amazing,” in Saleh’s opinion.
With 19 seconds left in the third quarter, Wilson scrambled outside the pocket and completed a 54-yard pass to wide receiver Keelan Cole for the Jets’ first lead of the season. Next Gen Stats indicate Wilson raced 26 yards to his right before throwing at top speed.
Wilson fumbled the ensuing snap, recovered it, and then delivered a 29-yard completion to wide receiver Jamison Crowder while on his back foot. He then fired a 3-yard touchdown pass to Crowder, who ran it in for the winning score of 17-17.
Then, wide receiver Corey Davis scored a 53-yard touchdown to put the game out of reach. Wilson spotted the Titans’ lack of a deep safety on a bare bootleg to his right. He beckoned to Davis, telling him to dive in headfirst.
Wilson found him in the end zone after he threw deep, and the Jets now lead 24-17.
Davis, who had four catches for 111 yards and a touchdown against his former team, described it as “backyard ball.”
While seeing the improvised play, Saleh had the following thoughts: “No way, not at all. I can’t believe it.”
These first three games were marred by Wilson’s haphazard attempts that cost him seven interceptions and 15 tackles. According to Saleh, he desired a “boring” passing game from Wilson and wanted him to play it that way.
As soon as Saleh heard that Wilson’s game was anything but dull, he cracked a smile.
When he needed to be aggressive, Saleh was, and when he needed to be boring, he was, he said.
Despite throwing for 146 yards and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter and overtime, Wilson missed several open field goals that would have put a stop to the contest sooner. With 2:23 left in the fourth quarter, he missed an open Davis on a third-and-10 that would’ve put the game away. The Titans’ offense reached the 9-yard line in overtime before he fumbled a pass intended for open tight end Ryan Griffin after converting two third downs. Then, with a third down and one to go, he erred.
Wilson attempted to run it in but was smothered by tacklers because no one was open. Saleh later claimed that the Jets would have scored the game-winning touchdown on fourth down from the 1 if he had thrown the ball away instead of keeping it.. Wilson fumbled and lost three yards, so they had to settle for a 22-yard field goal from Matt Ammendola. When the Titans came close to matching that score, Randy Bullock’s 49-yard field goal attempt went wide left. That forced a tie.
Wilson stated, “I had a couple of opportunities to stop it and I have to take advantage of those opportunities.” “Wilson added This excites me, but it also makes me feel bad about myself.
When his team had a slow start punctuated by an interception, his teammates applauded his resiliency and ability to rally the troops. During the first half, the home crowd booed the Jets because they were unable to score a goal.
Linebacker C.J. Mosley, who had one of the team’s seven sacks, said of the quarterback, “He’s a fighter, I can tell you that.”
The Jets, however, showed a certain amount of tenacity by overcoming challenges on both sides of the ball. Their quarterback, a 22-year-old rookie, guided them to victory.
Wilson explained his penchant for theatrical plays by saying, “You’ve got to understand you’re in this position for a reason and there will be growing pains, but you’ve got to do what you’ve done your whole life.” Turn down the volume and pretend like you’re in practice mode.
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