Jets struggle without Rodgers, fall to Cowboys 30-10

Jets fall to Cowboys 30-10
New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson passes under pressure from Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons during the first half of an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Aug. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Sam Hodde)

The first game without Aaron Rodgers may have gone as expected for the New York Jets, but it wasn’t for the reason many fans were worried about. 

Dak Prescott carved up the Jets’ defense on third down and had plenty of scoring drives while Zach Wilson played well, but not well enough as the Cowboys moved to 2-0 over New York by a 30-10 final. 

“We had a couple of third and one opportunities. We just didn’t convert it and on defense, we couldn’t get off the field. We can’t get anything going if you don’t get the ball that much” Jets head coach Robert Saleh said. 

Dallas made quick work of New York’s vaunted defense by going on a 12-play, 75-yard touchdown drive which ended in a Prescott score to Jake Ferguson. The Cowboys were faced with a third-and-six on the drive, but Prescott had a key 15-yard run to move the chains. 

From there, the relentlessness of the Cowboys’ defense was evident. It took the Jets an entire first quarter to record a first down, and that came on a fake punt conversion. The offensive line failed to protect Wilson early and often, while the play-calling was focused more on surviving Dallas, than beating them. 

Things began to settle down for the Jets offensively once the second quarter rolled around. Wilson found reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson for a 68-yard touchdown and drove the offense the length of the field before the half for a field goal. The two scoring drives were helped thanks to Wilson’s legs and gave confidence for New York’s plans at the position in 2023.

New York didn’t have an answer for Prescott and the Cowboys’ offense though. Dallas’ quarterback went 21-26 in the first half with CeeDee Lamb connecting for seven of those catches and over 100 yards. The Cowboys took an 18-10 lead into the half. 

A Micah Parsons forced fumble on Dalvin Cook sunk the Jets’ offensive chances in the second half. Dallas netted three field goals while the Jets’ offensive line crumbled amidst the onslaught that the Cowboys brought. Wilson threw all three of his interceptions in the final quarter, while the defense struggled to get stops on third down. Dallas was an impressive 9-18 on third down – one of many reasons for the Jets downfall on Sunday night. 

New York fell to 1-1 on the season and will play the New England Patriots on Sunday at MetLife Stadium at 1:00 pm – ET. 

Game Notes

  • New York made a quick roster adjustment before the game. Carl Lawson was back with the team and active at the expense of first-round rookie Will McDonald IV. McDonald was not a healthy scratch due to poor performance, but more because of the amount of pass rushers the team currently has. 
  • Two fourth-quarter interceptions may have overshadowed what was a pretty solid overall day from Wilson at quarterback. The third-year quarterback was pressed on close to 53% of his dropbacks and completed just 40% of his throws, but he showed improvements in footwork and decision-making. The numbers are not a fair representation of how he played. 
  • The Jets did take some hits on the injury front, especially on the defensive side. Slot corner Michael Carter II and safety Tony Adams, and Quincy Williams each left the game with injuries and did not return. Garrett Wilson also left with an injury and appeared to make his way off the field but was shaken up. Williams is being evaluated for a knee injury while Wilson just got the wind knocked out of him. 

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