Jets Wilson wows with big plays to get 1st win

  • Longtime Jets beat writer for New York Daily News
  • Syracuse University graduate

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — It took 15 quarters, but rookie quarterback Zach Wilson finally displayed the playmaking ability that prompted the New York Jets to select him with the second pick in the NFL draft.

Wilson stepped up in the fourth quarter Sunday at MetLife Stadium, throwing two touchdown passes to lift the Jets to a 27-24 overtime win over the Tennessee Titans.

In overtime, Wilson completed two third-down passes to set up Matt Ammendola’s 22-yard field goal, giving the Jets their first victory. The Titans missed a field goal on the ensuing possession.

After struggling for three-plus games, Wilson came alive in the fourth quarter. Displaying elusiveness and arm strength, he connected on 54- and 53-yard completions on throws outside the pocket, the latter a scoring strike to former Titans wide receiver Corey Davis. Earlier, he found Jamison Crowder on a 3-yard touchdown pass.

On the Davis touchdown, Wilson ran a bootleg, held the ball and motioned to Davis to go deep — a schoolyard-type play. Davis, who finished with four catches for 111 yards, boxed out safety Breon Borders in the end zone and hauled in the rainbow pass. Wilson, who got off a cold start with an early interception, wound up with 297 passing yards on 21-for-34 efficiency. He could’ve clinched it with 2:23 left in the fourth quarter, but he missed an open Davis on a third-and-10 pass.

The Jets trailed 9-0 and 17-10 early in the fourth quarter. Then Wilson got hot, scoring on consecutive drives. It was a stunning outburst, considering the Jets had scored only 20 points in the first three games.

Wilson’s first signature play was a 54-yard completion to wide receiver Keelan Cole late in the third quarter, setting up a go-ahead field goal — the Jets’ first lead of the season. For the second year in a row, they were the last team in the league to hold a lead.

The long ball to Cole, which traveled 57 yards in the air, came on a broken play. Wilson was flushed from the pocket and scrambled 26 yards to his right, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. On the run, he launched it to Cole, who got behind three-deep coverage.

Moments later, Ammendola made a 27-yard field goal to give the Jets a 10-9 lead. The Titans answered quickly, retaking the lead on a 1-yard run by Derrick Henry. With the 2-point conversion, the Titans went ahead 17-10.

Wilson kept firing and led the Jets to a four-play, 77-yard touchdown drive, which included a 43-yard pass interference penalty on the Titans. He connected with Crowder twice on the drive, for 29 yards and a 3-yard touchdown to tie the score. It was Crowder’s season debut.

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