EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The rain soaked the Jets on Thursday night, but it was the Jacksonville Jaguars that all but washed away New York’s hopes of making the playoffs.
The Jags scored 13 unanswered points in the first half and never looked back as the Jets fell 19-3 in their final home game of the season. The Jets’ road to the postseason is now considerably harder after Thursday’s loss and drops them to 10th in the AFC, at 7-8, and could fall as far as 12th by the time the weekend is over.
If Thursday proved to be the nail in the coffin, the Jets went down without much of a fight as the offense was nonexistent and the defense struggled to contain Trevor Lawrence, who moved the ball on the ground without much resistance and managed to get the ball downfield through the air despite the stormy conditions.
This was embarrassing. How we played, the product that we put out was just embarrassing,” D.J. Reed said. “And it’s just frustrating because we worked really hard. We worked hard, we prepared the right way and to not have the outcome it’s frustrating. Gotta learn from it. You got to watch the tape.
“For me personally, I could have been much better, especially with tackling so gotta watch the tape and just figure out ways to get better.”
A chorus of boos greeted Zach Wilson in his second consecutive start as he struggled to galvanize the Jets offense, completing just nine of his 18 pass attempts, while the coaching staff made a number of peculiar decisions that seemed to stifle the little momentum they did gain.
Wilson finished the game with 92 yards through the air and was booed with every incomplete pass and three-and-out by the Jets fans in attendance. His best play of the game came in the first quarter when he hit Tyler Conklin for a 27-yard pass on third and seven.
The struggling second-year quarterback was benched in the fourth quarter for Chris Streveler, who is known primarily as a gadget player, as New York proceeded to have its most entertaining drives of the night. Streveler took the Jets 73 yards before they were finally stopped at the Jacksonville 13-yard line on a turnover on downs.
“I know Zach was struggling, but Streveler came in and ran a couple of plays that sparked the offense,” Jets coach Robert Saleh said. “Got the explosive play and it just snowballed in a good way for us. We just wanted to give him the opportunity to try to finish that drive. By the time we got it back we just said, ‘we’re already here let’s just keep going with Strev.”
Streveler finished the game completing 10 of 15 passes for 90 yards.
“My mindsets always just trying to move the ball, score points one player at a time,” Streveler said. And obviously, we didn’t do that. We didn’t score points. We moved the ball a little bit, but you got to finish. Three points isn’t gonna win games, so we all gotta be better. You know, I’m gonna look in the mirror. We’re all gonna come in tomorrow, watch the film and see what we can get corrected and get better from this.”
Michael Carter led the Jets in receptions with five catches for 44 yards and the running game was nearly nonexistent with the team collectively running 66 yards on 20 carries.
While the Jets’ defense gave up just one touchdown the entire night, the Jags’ offense controlled the game and Lawrence showed off his skills as he moved the ball with ease. Jacksonville ate away at the clock in the third quarter with a nearly six-minute drive that ended with a field goal and a 16-3 lead after the Jets went three-and-out to start the half.
Lawrence, who was expected to struggle a little with the cold weather and windy conditions, completed 20 of 31 passes for 229 yards. The Jets’ defense had been ranked fourth in the NFL coming into the game averaging 193.9 passing yards against this season.
The game had opened with some hope after Quinnen Williams forced a fumble on the Jaguars’ opening drive to put the Jets inside the Jacksonville 20-yard line. But the early chance yielded only a 37-yard field goal for New York and the Jaguars went 61 yards down the field to tie the game with a field goal on their next possession
Lawrence ran the ball in for a one-yard touchdown run with 11:37 left in the second quarter to give the Jaguars a 10-3 lead and a second field goal by Riley Patterson extended it to 13-3 with 2:55 left in the half.
Patterson’s 41-yarder with 7:06 left in the third made gave the visitors a 13-point lead and the Jags fourth field goal of the night with 3:46 left in the game pushed their advantage to 19-3.
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The loss put the Jets’ once-promising season on the brink and has placed some major questions on the team going forward. The biggest being who will be their starter for the final two weeks of the season.
It was an unceremonious end for the Jets at MetLife, with the final two games on the road. The crowd dwindled to a few thousand by the time the game to an end and they largely booed the Jets as they came off the field.