Pinpointing the exact things that made Zach Wilson’s Jaguars performance special
After playing Santa on Christmas morning by gifting a waitress and her son two tickets to the Jets’ matchup against Jacksonville, New York Jets rookie quarterback Zach Wilson made sure to give the pair one last present on gameday in the form of a dynamite performance and subsequent victory.
While his passing numbers were far from impressive (102 yards and a single touchdown on 14 completions), Wilson’s rushing output was enough for the history books.
Wilson ran for 91 yards on only four attempts, including an electrifying 52-yard touchdown scamper on the Jets’ opening drive. Both his rushing total and touchdown would set new all-time team records for a quarterback: most yards in a single game, the longest rushing touchdown, and the longest rush.
Wilson didn’t rack up his impressive numbers on designed quarterback runs. Rather, he did it by staying calm on pass plays and exploiting what the defense was giving him.
Three of Wilson’s four carries came on scramble drills, resulting in gains of 52, 17, and 20 yards respectively. His fourth was a quarterback sneak for two yards to run out the clock with eight seconds left.
On those scrambles, Wilson did a superb job of avoiding poor decisions and exploiting the Jags’ defense for leaving him unaccounted for. Instead of forcing throws into coverage as he did earlier in the year, Wilson stayed calm under pressure and let his athleticism take over.
Wilson’s smart decision-making didn’t just show up when he chose to run, he was calm and collected when throwing too.
Three plays before his touchdown run, Wilson converted a third down and six with a 19-yard bullet to receiver Keelan Cole. The Jets called a Hi-Low concept with receiver Braxton Berrios on a short curl route, and Cole running a dig route behind him. Wilson read the Jags’ linebacker sinking down to cover Berrios, and fired the ball to Cole on time and in rhythm for a big conversion early in the game.
Later in the game, with the Jets in a two-minute drill near the end of the first half, Wilson moved the chains on fourth down by staying calm and going through his progressions. At the snap, Wilson looked to his right towards his first read, running back Michael Carter on an out route. However, the Jaguar linebacker in coverage did a good job of staying with Carter and took away the throwing lane.
Rather than panic or try to scramble too soon, Wilson reset his feet and eyes to the left, just as Berrios was coming open on a shallow cross, and hit him in stride for a 10-yard pickup.
The Oklahoma Drill Podcast crew is back to review a record-setting day from Zach Wilson in the Jets’ win over the Jaguars. Listen to the full episode for breakdowns of Wilson’s steady improvement, a dominant performance by the running game, and why this win was so important for the future.
Zach Wilson did everything he could to give Jets fans a happy holiday. If he can find a way to use his magic all year round, that happy holiday may just never end.
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