The Jets and Lions are making statements in the early going
Behind a touchdown earned via punt return, the Detroit Lions and New York Jets are tied at 10 in a vital interconference showdown between playoff contenders. The Jets’ tallies thus far came from a 40-yard hook-up between Zach Wilson and C.J. Uzomah, the latter scoring his first touchdown in a green uniform. Greg Zuerlein kicked a short field goal at the end of the frame.
- PASSING: Zach Wilson (8-of-14, 185 yards, 1 TD)
- RUSHING: Zonovan Knight (8 carries, 15 yards)
- RECEIVING: Jeff Smith (3 rec., 73 yards)
- PASSING: Jared Goff (12-of-20, 119 yards)
- RUSHING: D’Andre Swift (5 carries, 38 yards)
- RECEIVING: Amon-Ra St. Brown (3 rec., 29 yards)
The Dread Zone
It’s historically rare to see the star-crossed Lions at the top of any positive NFL metric, but Sunday’s visitors entered as the league’s most efficient red-zone team. That hasn’t scared the Jets’ defense, however, which has made up for Detroit’s early domination in the time-of-possession battle (holding the ball for over 16 of the first 23 minutes of game time). Quincy Williams‘ stop of touchdown maestro Jamaal Williams ensured that Detroit’s lengthy opening drive would prove fruitless and another big stop allowed only a field goal. Hitting the brakes on the Motor City’s surging offense has been the key to victory in the early going, in addition to the…
Return of the Zach
If this keeps up, pray for WFAN’s phone lines tonight. Zach Wilson is doing his best to create controversy of the finest kind, brewing a question over who should start for the vital final stretch if/when Mike White is healthy enough to return. The Lions made it clear in the early going that they weren’t going to yield over the Jets’ developing run game, in fact enticing Wilson, not the plethora of established young offensive stars, to beat them. Wilson’s rise to the challenge in the second quarter may account for the finest—and perhaps most fateful—15 minutes he’s played in a Jets uniform to date. Robert Saleh‘s confidence, well on display when he allowed Wilson to engineer a late drive to end the half rather than kneel-downs, has been rewarded in the early going.
Detroit’s lone end zone visit in the early going has come through special teams, as Kalif Raymond took back a wayward Braden Mann punt 47 yards for a score. Braxton Berrios has also struggled in the return game, muffing his first run back and averaging only 17.5 yards on two tries. The special teams’ shortcomings are eerily reminiscent of the most recent loss to New England. Brant Boyer has stuck around for a reason, but it’s time to prove why he’s been able to withstand three different regime changes as the games begin to matter more.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags