Round 1 of Trevor Lawrence versus Zach Wilson went the Jets’ way as they defeated the Jaguars last season.
Thursday was the second meeting between the first two quarterbacks selected in the 2021 draft, as this time, Lawrence got the win in primetime.
In wet, soggy conditions at MetLife Stadium, the Jaguars (7-8) defeated the Jets (7-8), 19-3, on Thursday Night Football as Gang Green’s chances to make the playoffs for the first time since 2010 greatly diminished. The Jets have lost four consecutive games and five of their last six.
The weather wasn’t the only thing raining down on the Jets’ players throughout the first half as fans booed Wilson the entire night. Gang Green registered just 66 yards at halftime compared to 251 yards by Jacksonville.
Wilson had an abysmal night as he finished 9-of-18 for 92 yards, an interception, and a 41.9 quarterback rating. The Jets got the ball to begin the second half and the angry chants continued. Gang Green went three and out to start the third quarter and fans began shouting, “we want Streveler.”
It was Wilson’s second consecutive start after he was benched last month for Mike White. Wilson became the starter once again after White injured his ribs against Buffalo on Dec. 11 and has not been cleared for contact.
“I gotta put my head down and just get better for these guys,” Wilson said. “That was kind of my message for them, just trying to give them everything that I got.”
Fans got their wish as Wilson was benched for Chris Streveler in the third quarter, who was brought up from the practice squad for this game.
“We were trying to change up to get the run game going,” Jets coach Robert Saleh said. “I know Zach was struggling, but Streveler came in, he ran a couple of plays to spark the offense, got the explosive play. So it just snowballed in a good way for Streve.
“We just wanted to give him an opportunity to finish that drive.”
The Jets had four rushing yards at halftime and outside of Streveler, the running backs had 12 yards the whole night.
Streveler ignited the crowd with the Jets’ best offensive drive of the night as he completed a 30-yard pass to C.J. Uzomah and registered a 14-yard run. But his first drive ended with a loss of downs at the Jaguars 14-yard line.
Streveler completed 10-of-15 passes for 90 yards. He also rushed for 54 yards on nine carries.
It was Streveler’s first regular season action since he has been a member of the Jets.
“Whenever you’re dressed, you gotta expect to play,” Streveler said. “You never know what can happen in this game, you gotta be ready at all times and prepare like you’re going to play.”
The Jaguars got the ball first as the Jets won the toss and deferred.
However, Jacksonville coughed up the ball on its first possession. On 3rd and 6, defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, who returned after missing last week’s game because of a calf injury, sacked Lawrence and forced a fumble. Defensive tackle Carl Lawson recovered. The Jets then took over at the Jaguars’ 16, but they couldn’t punch it in for six.
Following two running plays, Jaguars safety Andre Cisco came on a blitz and sacked Wilson on third down. That forced the Jets to settle for a Greg Zuerlein 37-yard field goal that gave them an early 3-0 lead.
Jacksonville recovered on the next drive as a 21-yard pass to Evan Engram and a 19-yard run by Travis Etienne Jr. set up a 32-yard field goal by Riley Patterson that tied the game at 3-3.
Later in the first quarter, the Jets pinned the Jaguars back to their four-yard line. Despite poor field position, Jacksonville went on a long, methodical drive that ended with six points.
The Jaguars had a 16-play drive set up by a one-yard quarterback sneak from Lawrence, giving them a 10-3 lead early in the second quarter.
As the rain came down harder, the Jaguars’ offense kept driving down the field against the Jets’ top-five defense. They did have to settle for three points as Patterson’s 45-yard field goal extended Jacksonville’s lead to 13-3.
Jacksonville added three more points midway through the third quarter as its drive stalled and Patterson hit a 41-yard field goal.
Late in the fourth quarter on Streveler’s second drive, the Jets started at the one-yard line and turned the ball over shortly after. Streveler’s pass to Garrett Wilson was complete, but he fumbled it as Tre Herndon recovered it for Jacksonville on the Jets’ 37-yard line. The Jaguars got three more points on Patterson’s 37-yard field goal, which increased their lead to 19-3.
Both teams will have will a mini-bye as they will each return to action on Jan. 1. The Jets will travel across the country and play the Seahawks. The Jaguars will also be on the road as they play the Texans at NRG Stadium in Houston.
“Let’s just win a game,” Jets cornerback D.J. Reed said. “We’ve been talking about playoffs this whole December. Let’s just win a game.
“That’s my focus, getting ready for Seattle, just focus on winning. Whatever happens, happens. Just focus on winning a game.”
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