Robert Saleh, New York Jets
Robert Saleh, New York Jets, Getty Images

The New York Jets’ NFL playoff hopes took a major dent in heartbreaking fashion

  • New York Jets 17 (7-7)
  • Detroit Lions 20 (7-7)
  • NFL, Final, Week 15, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022
  • MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ

The Lions sleep tonight … except in East Rutherford.

Behind a late fourth-down touchdown, their only six-pointer of the game, the Detroit Lions kept an improbable playoff push alive with a 20-17 victory over the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium in Week 15 NFL play. Sunday marked a bittersweet return for Zach Wilson, who threw for a season-best 317 yards but couldn’t guide the Jets (7-7) away from a third consecutive defeat.

New York Jets, Detroit Lions, 2022, Week 15 Final, Zach Wilson, Jared Goff
New York Jets, Detroit Lions, 2022, Week 15 Final, Zach Wilson, Jared Goff, Jet X Graphic, Getty Images

Detroit took its time on its opening drive, eating more than the first eight minutes on a 14-play, 73-yard trek. They turned the affair over to touchdown collector Jamaal Williams on a fourth-and-goal from the one, but Quincy Williams denied him six with a big hit.

With the Jets’ offense struggling to move the ball early on with its old and new quarterback back under center, the Lions were afforded the touchdown they missed out on when they turned a three-and-out into an immediate score via Kalif Raymond’s 47-yard punt return score.

After the teams exchanged punts, Wilson began to find a rhythm, finding Garrett Wilson for 33 yards before getting the Jets back in the game with a 40-yard strike to C.J. Uzomah, the latter scoring his first touchdown as a New York Jet.

While Detroit took the lead back on a Michael Badgley field goal, the Jets made an improbable late run at the end of the first half, needing only 25 seconds to drive 65 yards, the bulk of them earned by Jeff Smith.

Though they fell short of six, Greg Zuerlein’s short field goal set up a fateful tie.

Wilson began to waver when he threw an interception to Jerry Jacobs.

The defense, however, came through for him again, pushing Detroit a yard back and holding them to yet another triple.

The teams went on to exchange futile kicks, uniting for five punts and a missed Badgley field goal.

Gang Green sent MetLife into hysterics with a 56-yard drive that took seven plays, capping things off with Wilson’s short scoring toss to Uzomah,

But the Jets’ defense finally broke on fourth-and-inches on the next possession, when Brock Wright broke loose on a 51-yard dash to glory that gave Detroit its immortal lead.

Granted 1:48 for one last push for glory, the Jets made it to the Lions’ 34 despite several Detroit sacks pushing them backward. Alas for the hosts, Zuerlein’s 58-yarder at the buzzer fell just short, putting a major wrench in New York’s playoff machine.

There’s no rest for the Jets’ late playoff push, which continues on Thursday night against the Jacksonville Jaguars (8:15 p.m. ET, Amazon Prime Video).

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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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Jim G
Jim G
1 month ago

This was a very frustrating game to watch. Zach Wilson made enough good throws for those who want to believe in him, while also making enough bad throws to frustrate his detractors. I fear the Jets may be back in QB limbo.

A big test will come Thursday night. If Zach Wilson cannot hold his own against Trevor Lawrence … Do I really need to complete the sentence?

DFargas
DFargas
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim G

Yeah but Trevor Lawrence didn’t have 3 weeks in a row yanked from under him in the middle of the season. Lawrence played through and is suddenly now starting to show his ability. Sometimes these developments seems sudden, but they come out of constant repetition often during which very little progress seems to be occurring. How well would Wilson be playing now, going into the Jaguar game, if he’d been allowed to play through? We’ll never know.