The first Wilson-Lawrence showdown has lived up to its (admittedly minuscule) hype and then some
In perhaps the ultimate Christmas miracle, the Sunday afternoon tilt at MetLife Stadium between the equally doomed New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars has turned out to be one of Week 16’s most thrilling NFL showdowns.
Behind long, big plays from Zach Wilson and Braxton Berrios, the Jets have gone into the halftime break with a 13-12 lead. Wilson put in a 52-yard rushing score while Berrios took a kickoff back 103 yards for a special teams tally shortly after.
Jets vs. Jaguars Halftime Score
- New York Jets 13 (3-11)
- Jacksonville Jaguars 12 (2-12)
- NFL, Week 16, Halftime, Box Score
- MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
- PASSING: Zach Wilson (5 of 11, 39 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT)
- RUSHING: Zach Wilson (2 carries, 69 yards)
- RECEIVING: Keelan Cole (1 reception, 19 yards)
- PASSING: Trevor Lawrence (12 of 19, 109 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT)
- RUSHING: Dare Ogunbowale (8 carries, 22 yards)
- RECEIVING: Tavon Austin (4 receptions, 26 yards)
— New York Jets (@nyjets) December 26, 2021
Leftover tidings of comfort and joy from Christmas Day have made their way to Jets and Jaguars fans eager for signs of life from their respective franchise saviors, Wilson and Trevor Lawrence.
Hope has emerged for each younger thrower over the past few weeks: Wilson has strung together some strong first halves while Lawrence is poised to succeed after the Jaguars decided to end the Urban Meyer horror show.
While it was hard for Wilson to generate momentum through a mere lack of opportunities (the Berrios kick return cut down on the Jets’ drives in the first half), his confidence in the pocket behind a depleted offensive line was certainly inspiring.
Lawrence, meanwhile, is on pace for his best numbers of the season and guided Jacksonville to three consecutive scoring drives for the first time this season.
BRAXTON BERRIOS TAKES IT 100 YARDS! #TakeFlight
— NFL (@NFL) December 26, 2021
With another week another clamor for Braxton Berrios to receive a new contract. Apparently going full Michael Jordan, Berrios took his status as a mere Pro Bowl alternate personally by swiping momentum after Jacksonville took the lead on a bizarre fumble recovery for a touchdown tally.
His long score was the Jets’ first kickoff return touchdown since 2018 and should only expand his sizable lead on the kick return average category.
Berrios’ big run after the catch, gaining 10 yards on a three-yard fourth down, also allowed the Jets’ final drive of the half to continue, leading to a scoring opportunity.
To each woebegone team’s credit, neither the Jets nor Jaguars appear to be conceding this matchup for draft position, playing with a sense of healthy reckless abandon, which is all you can ask for in a contest like this.
Jacksonville got things rolling with a fake punt on their first possession and took several deep chances downfield. The Jets likewise have played into the competitive atmosphere by going for it on fourth down twice on their final possession of the half, as interim head coach Ron Middleton was more than happy to keep Wilson’s offensive momentum rolling.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags