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Jets-Texans highlights: Defense leads victory in Zach Wilson’s return

Zach Wilson, Texans, Highlights, Jets, Return
Zach Wilson, New York Jets, Getty Images

Zach Wilson hobbled, but enjoys a happy return

Everything’s bigger in Texas … including, apparently, the offensive struggles.

The New York Jets and Houston Texans engaged in a defensive battle on Sunday afternoon at NRG Stadium, but the metropolitan visitors prevailed in an 21-14 decision. New York (3-8) earned only 264 yards of offense but managed to eke out a victory in Zach Wilson’s first appearance since Oct. 24.

Houston appeared to spell doom for the Jets’ defense early on, going 62 yards on 12 plays on their opening drive before John Franklin-Myers shut down any scoring throughs with a tip and turnover of a Tyrod Taylor pass. It was good for the first interception of Franklin-Myers’ career and eventually led to a short Matt Ammendola field goal.

The Jets’ failure to capitalize on a short trek to the end zone was brought about by Wilson’s early struggles. Following an 11-yard tally to Keelan Cole on his original attempt, Wilson misfired on each of his next five passes, including a bizarre interception that came when Ty Johnson’s back was turned.

The Tavierre Thomas turnover led to two Taylor touchdown passes, with Brevin Jordan and Brandin Cooks helping Houston create a two-possession lead.

New York got back into the game with a 10-play, 70-yard possession spearheaded by rushing efforts from Tevin Coleman and Austin Walter, the latter making his New York debut. Wilson also completed 5-of-6 passes for 33 yards before Walter scored his first NFL touchdown on a two-yard punch-in. Josh Johnson came in to score on a two-point conversion that narrowed the Jets’ gap to a field goal.

The second half opened with a seven-minute Jets possession that traversed 75 yards, capped off by another rushing score, this one coming from the legs of Wilson himself, the first such tally of his NFL career.

Defensively, the Jets kept the Texans in check to the tune of five sacks, forcing Houston into three consecutive punts and a missed field goal. The Jets capped off the affair with five sacks of Taylor. Franklin-Myers was involved in two while Quinnen Williams channeled his inner Karate Kid with a big third down stop of his own.

Though Matt Ammendola failed to extend the lead with a missed 42-yard field early in the final frame, he created the final margin with a 33-yard kick that made it 21-14. Houston’s final drive (prior to an essentially hopeless series with under 25 seconds and no timeouts remaining) ended on a Bryce Hall pass breakup that sealed the deal, giving New York the win.

The Jets will return home on Sunday when they take on the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium (1 p.m. ET, CBS).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

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