The New York Jets and Las Vegas Raiders are out to a field goal-fest in the first half
Fans of high-profile offensive shootouts might not have minded an interruption from Heidi with the way the New York Jets-Las Vegas Raiders tilt is going so far. But things have, at the very least, played into the hands of the Jets in their latest showdown, this time in Sin City.
Behind a trio of triples from Greg Zuerlein, the Jets are on pace to make headway in the logjam that is the AFC Wild Card picture with a slim 9-6 lead over the Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. The Raiders have been able to counter with a Daniel Carlson field goal pairing of their own, as Jamien Sherwood and Jordan Whitehead each earned sacks while the latter also snagged an interception from Aidan O’Connell.
PASSING: Zach Wilson (8-of-14, 104 yards)
RUSHING: Zach Wilson (2 carries, 40 yards)
RECEIVING: Garrett Wilson (5 rec., 67 yards)
PASSING: Aidan O’Connell (11-of-17, 123 yards, 1 INT)
RUSHING: Josh Jacobs (10 carries, 30 yards)
RECEIVING: Davante (6 rec., 86 yards)
Gotta Back Zach
Zach Wilson‘s seat has never been truly comfortable since he arrived in New York, but it reached inferno levels of heat this week, even with the Jets’ third and fourth options far from desirable. Still, if the Jets can’t find a way to conjure a victory out of this one, Wilson will likely be far from the prime suspects.
Wilson’s dropback and release are at their liveliest in Las Vegas and he has roped the ball into tight Garrett Wilson windows that have gained chunks of yardage. With Wilson firing on several cylinders, it’s up to the Jets to show some trust in him. It’s clear that they’re going to try to win on the ground, but it likely won’t be enough.
Head coach Robert Saleh‘s declaration that the offensive woes weren’t entirely Wilson’s fault seemed like a desperate plea of a coach begging observers to back off the de facto homegrown face of the franchise. But he’s certainly got a point this time around: the Jets’ penalty issues have been well-documented, but the self-inflicted wounds are particularly glaring this time around.
Over the first half-hour, the Jets’ five infractions have cost them 55 yards and a touchdown. Two from C.J. Uzomah (both holding for 10 yards each) have been particularly glaring: the latter erased the touchdown and the former pushed the Jets back from the Raiders’ 30 to the 40, forcing them to prematurely settle for a field goal.
The ordinary looks extraordinary
Penalties remain an issue but the Jets were able to succeed in two of the more fundamental areas of the game: Zuerlein’s first triple, the capper of an eight-play, 49-yard drive, was the Jets’ first points on an opening possession this season while they also earned first downs on 4-of-8 last chances on third, a brilliant upgrade from their regular number of 22 percent, which is by far the worst rate in the league and currently the worst since at least 1978.
The Jets get the ball to start the second half.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on X @GeoffJMags
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