Zach Wilson, NYJ-TB-, 2021-22, Week 17
Zach Wilson, NYJ-TB-, 2021-22, Week 17, New York Jets, Getty Images

Zach Wilson plays confidently and carves up Todd Bowles’ defense

Who’s afraid of the big bad Brady? Not the New York Jets, apparently.

Behind strong offensive showings from Zach Wilson and Braxton Berrios, the Jets hold a 17-10 lead over Tom Brady the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their 2021-22 MetLife Stadium finale.

  • New York Jets 17 (4-11)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10 (11-4)
  • NFL, Week 17, Halftime, Box Score
  • MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ

New York scored on each of its first two possessions, with Berrios scoring on a double-reverse that earned one yard before catching a nine-yard six-pointer from Wilson. Tampa has countered with a four-yard Brady touchdown pass to Mike Evans.

Jets Leaders

  • PASSING: Zach Wilson (12 of 21, 149 yards, TD)
  • RUSHING: Michael Carter (3 carries, 54 yards)
  • RECEIVING: Braxton Berrios (4 receptions, 38 yards, TD)

Buccaneers Leaders

  • PASSING: Tom Brady (15 of 21, 176 yards, TD, INT)
  • RUSHING: Ronald Jones II (8 carries, 23 yards)
  • RECEIVING: Rob Gronkowski (5 carries, 8 yards)

No. 2 making the most of No. 1

Judging Zach Wilson solely by his statistics is a foolhardy endeavor, as it’s impossible not to be inspired by the way the rookie has composed himself without the services of his top receiver and top blocker.

One set of numbers that do exonerate and vindicate Wilson is the momentum he has generated on opening drives: since returning against Houston, the Jets have scored points on five of their last six opening drives, including three touchdowns in a row on treks that have lasted 83, 91, and 72 yards.

MVB

Another week, another game, another halftime where Braxton Berrios should have a blank contract waiting in his locker. Berrios is bar-none the Jets’ most potent offensive weapon, as each of his five touches has produced either a first down or a touchdown for the Jets.

Sunday has already produced the first multi-touchdown game in the career of Berrios, whose after-the-catch abilities have proven invaluable.

Ringing the Bell

There’s no better time for the Jets to analyze and showcase the progress they’ve made in the run game than Le’Veon Bell’s return to East Rutherford. While the current Buccaneer won’t be getting a highlight montage tribute on MetLife’s jumbotrons, the current stable is picking up the slack.

Michael Carter got the Jets’ opening possession rolling with a 55-yard run that situated them in Tampa territory. True to the Jets’ star-crossed nature, Carter hasn’t been seen since thanks to concussion protocol but Austin Walter has re-emerged to put up some good vibes while he recovers.

The stability that Carter, Walter, and Ty Johnson have been able to provide for Wilson since his return from injury is a stark contrast to the chaos and inconsistency Bell put up behind Sam Darnold.

Jets X-Factor Offseason Simulator
Jets X-Factor Offseason Simulator

Jets injuries

Unfortunately, both Michael Carter and George Fant have been downgraded to out for the remainder of the game. Carter (concussio) and Fant (knee) left the game in the first half and will not return.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags 

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Geoff Magliocchetti is a veteran football writer with years of credentialed experience with the Jets and Giants. Email: geoffmags90@gmail.com

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