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NY Jets, Wilson pull ‘Out of the Woods,’ trail Chiefs 20-12 at half

C.J. Uzomah, New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs
C.J. Uzomah, New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs, Getty Images

Can the New York Jets complete the comeback against the Chiefs?

The New York Jets are playing “Fearless” against the Kansas City Chiefs.

With Taylor Swift and her celebrity pals on hand to take in the latest Travis Kelce showcase, the Jets have inched their way back from an early 17-point hole to narrow the halftime gap to 20-12. After earning a mere 42 yards on their first three possessions, the Jets got back into the game after earning a safety on defense, a triple from Greg Zuerlein, and a Zach Wilson touchdown pass to C.J. Uzomah. On defense, the Jets have taken advantage of Patrick Mahomes’ mistakes, nabbing interceptions for Ashtyn Davis and C.J. Mosley.

New York will receive to start the second half.

New York Jets (12)

  • PASSING: Zach Wilson (18-of-25, 141 yards, 1 TD)
  • RUSHING: Zach Wilson (1 carry, 14 yards)
  • RECEIVING: Garrett Wilson (6 rec., 43 yards)

Kanas City Chiefs (20)

  • PASSING: Patrick Mahomes (9-of-16, 135 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT)
  • RUSHING: Isiah Pacheco (8 carries, 84 yards, 1 TD)
  • RECEIVING: Isiah Pacheco (2 rec., 42 yards)

The Lucky Ones

The Jets’ late efforts might have installed at least somewhat of a vote of confidence in Jets management. While it was well expected that things would take a step back once Aaron Rodgers went down, the Jets were starting to resemble the mercifully-retired 2023 New York Yankees in the sense that things shouldn’t have gotten as bad as they did when one star player (in the pinstripes’ case, Aaron Judge) went medically missing.

That, of course, could’ve been particularly damning for Robert Saleh and Joe Douglas, but the group has found a sense of purpose and strength once they got on the board thanks to a rare safety (earned by a Kansas City facemask penalty in its own end zone). Moral victories don’t count on the NFL ledgers, but the fact that the Jets are giving the defending champion a run for their money in what could’ve been a laugher should count for something.

You Belong With Me

It may not be Rodgers, but certain former Packers are making an impact for the Jets: both Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb were credited with a mere reception each before the two-minute warning but each paid big dividends. A 39-yard tally for Lazard got the Jets in Zuerlein’s triple range (allowing them to immediately capitalize after Kansas City’s self-inflicted safety wound) while Cobb’s five-yard tally converted a third-down of matching distance with an extra stretch across the invisible yellow line. These moves and more will determine if Douglas and Saleh are granted a sans-Rodgers mulligan come what should be a curious offseason.

Begin Again

A casual glance at Wilson’s box score hints at what even the most unapologetic Jets hater could call a good day. But it’s how Wilson has matured on the field: what would’ve been sacks as little as a week ago have turned into fortuitous rollouts that have extended plays and protected the ball and yardage.

Wilson’s mobile abilities were well-documented even before Rodgers showed up, and it’s perhaps the one area in which he held an undoubted advantage. Just because he’s not racking up Lamar Jackson-esque rushing totals (though he did put up a strong 14-yard rush on an improvised final possession), it doesn’t mean he’s not helping New York with his legs. A matured Wilson could mean the world as the Jets try to inch their way back in October and onward.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

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