A win is a win is a win in the NFL, but some wins are more important than others for reasons other than a team’s overall record or where they are in the standings. For Zach Wilson and the New York Jets, this was one of those wins.
In what was the first victory of the Wilson era, there were three key takeaways that should give Jets fans plenty of reasons to smile following the 27-24 win in overtime over the Tennessee Titans. It was a win that followed the blue print that fans envisioned all offseason. Big plays from the quarterback while the defensive line was the best unit on the field and made life easier on the rest of the defense.
First off of course, there was Wilson. The kid wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but what he did do was make big-time plays that were reminiscent of his days at BYU. Wilson made big time throws from inside the pocket, from outside the pocket when protection broke down and through some tight windows. It was Wilson’s ability to make such plays in college that drew the attention of Jets fans. Seeing it play out at the pro level was a relief for Gang Green as Wilson finished up 21-34 for 297 yards and a pair of TD passes.
On the other side of the ball it was the defensive line that made the splash plays. In all, the Jets defense picked up 7 sacks. Quinnen Williams had a pair, Bryce Huff had one and a half while CJ Mosley, John Franklin-Myers and Quincy Williams picked up one apiece. Cornerback Bryce Hall shared a sack with Huff to round out the 7 sacks. Even when the Jets weren’t sacking Ryan Tannehill, they were still making his life miserable, pressuring the QB 19 times in all. While he was quiet on the stat sheet, Sheldon Rankins made plenty of noise up front to allow his fellow linemen to reap the rewards.
The sacks for Quinnen and Quincy Williams were an NFL first as no two brothers had ever picked up a sack in the same game.
Quinnen and Quincy Williams combined line:
— Glenn Naughton (@AceFan23) October 3, 2021
D-Line Dominates While Secondary Stands out
On the back end, the Jets secondary, specifically their cornerbacks, had a strong showing as well. Led by Hall who had three passes broken up, the young and inexperienced unit held up despite losing another starting player early on when Brandin Echols left the game with a concussion.
Second-year undrafted free agent Javelin Guidry stepped in for Echols while Michael Carter II continued to hold things down in the slot. Undrafted rookie free agent Isaiah Dunn even saw some action and picked up an impressive PBU. In the end, Tannehill would throw for 298 yards which didn’t necessarily come down to the play of the corners. The Titans picked up several chunk plays using the screen game to bolster their numbers. In fact, running back Jeremy McNicols led the Titans with 74 receiving yards.
An imperfect day for certain as better execution could have closed the game our sooner, but it’s a big step for a roster and coaching staff loaded with rookies who are trying to find their way.