Sunday was quite a wild ride for the New York Jets with plenty of highs and lows throughout. Yet somehow, someway, that ride ended on a high note as the Jets came from behind with a late score from Breece Hall to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers, 24-20, to move to 2-2, while the Steelers drop to 1-3.
Here’s some quick thoughts and notes from the game with a couple of game balls to boot.
It’s not too often a team wins a game with their quarterback completing just 33% of their passes entering the fourth quarter, but that’s exactly what the Jets just did. Zach Wilson was just 8/24 for 105 yards and a QB rating of 16.7 at one point. He finished 18/36 for 252 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions, a QB rating of 59.0. He was far from perfect, throwing some bad balls and making some poor decisions. But the one number that matters: one, as in Wilson is 1-0 this season.
The Jets won this game despite a disappointing rushing performance against the league’s 28th-ranked rush defense. The Jets rushed for 98 yards on 29 carries. Breece Hall did become the savior, recording 66 yards on 17 carries and the game-winning score. Michael Carter, on the other hand, just 15 yards on nine carries.
The Jets also won despite the constant shuffle along the offensive line. Alijah Vera-Tucker got the start at left tackle and Nate Herbig took Vera-Tucker’s spot at right guard. Then during the game, Max Mitchell went down with a knee injury and was replaced by Conor McDermott, who was originally thought to start at left tackle. At least Duane Brown can return to practice next week and we’ll see what the Jets do with Cedric Ogbuehi, who was inactive against the Steelers.
The defense finally had some strong moments getting to the opposing quarterback. The Jets recorded three sacks, one each from Quinnen Williams, Jermaine Johnson and Carl Lawson. Lamarcus Joyner also had his best game of the season with four passes defended and two interceptions. Total team effort.
The swing at the end of the first half, where the Jets could have at least had a field goal and led 13-3 at halftime, looked to actually doom the Jets. Pittsburgh had all the momentum in the locker room and through the third quarter. Yet, for the second time in three games, the Jets overcame a double-digit deficit on the road to pull out a victory. Call them the Cardiac Kids.
Philly Special for New York in Pittsburgh! Zach Wilson’s first touchdown of the season was a catch from Braxton Berrios on their own version of the play the Eagles made famous in Super Bowl LII against the Patriots.
The first half was all Jets on defense, as the Steelers couldn’t do anything on offense. Once Kenny Pickett stepped in, the Steelers looked like a brand-new team on offense and the Jets struggled to stop them. Pickett even rushed for two touchdowns. Normally, we’d be saying the Jets will be preparing for another mobile quarterback next week…but we all know what’s been happening lately in Miami.
The third-down defense continues to be a problem. While the Jets were better at getting off the field in the first half, Pickett kept them on the field in the second half. Steelers were just 1/6 on third down in the first half. They were 5/6 on third down.
3/3 in the red zone: The Jets didn’t have a ton of opportunities to score from close. But when they did, they definitely took advantage. The Jets entered the red zone three times. They scored on all three trips, including the final possession. And that was with the Steelers going 2/2 themselves.
WR Corey Davis: When the Jets needed a big play late, Corey Davis was there. He had some big-time catches late, including on the final drive, to help set up the game-winning touchdown and finished with a team-high five catches for 74 yards.
DT Quinnen Williams: Williams once again was the leader of the pack on the Jets’ front. He showed why the Jets don’t need to rush more than four because he can put pressure on himself. He finished with six tackles (one tackle for a loss), one sack and two QB hurries.
S Lamarcus Joyner: For as much heat as Joyner has incurred over the first three weeks, and certainly warranted, he stepped up big time against the Steelers with six tackles, two interceptions and four passes defended.
“Ugly win”: That’s exactly how Zach Wilson described the win after the game. The Jets had no business winning this game in the third quarter. They looked flat, they looked defeated. Yet, like the Cleveland game, the Jets proved the game isn’t over until the clock reads 0:00. A lot to clean up, however. Wilson needs to make better decisions and the defense has to be more consistent getting off the field on third down. But the bottom line is the Jets are 2-2, which is a success given they didn’t have Wilson for three games, their offensive line has been a carousel and they went through the entire AFC North. They will gladly take a split of their first four games. Divisional play begins next week when the Jets host the Miami Dolphins (3-1), who are coming off a loss on Thursday to the Cincinnati Bengals.