EAST RUTHERFORD — From the jaws of defeat, the New York Jets miraculously saved their season.
After the offense struggled throughout the game to move the football, Greg Zuerlein hit the game-tying field goal at the end of regulation and the game-winning field goal in overtime to take down the New York Giants 13-10 on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium.
“A lot of resilience from this group, and it’s kind of been, feels like the mark of this group,” Jets head coach Robert Saleh said after the win. “It never feels like it’s out of the game… A lot of things we’ve got to clean up, but glad we came away with the W.”
There wasn’t much that looked pretty on Sunday for both of East Rutherford’s residents. Both teams combined for the most punts in a single game since 2003. Mix in two turnovers by Jets quarterback Zach Wilson, and a game both teams needed to have became one that most fans looked to avoid.
Gang Green led at the half 7-3 thanks to a busted catch and run from Breece Hall, but that lead was short-lived. Led by Saquon Barkley and two different unnecessary roughness penalties called on the defense, Tommy Devito, the undrafted free agent out of Illinois took a third-down zone read to the house to give the Giants a 10-7 advantage.
Big Blue’s defense would suffocate the Jets offense throughout the contest. The Jets did not convert a single third down on the day until the final minutes of the contest. A third sack from Kayvon Thibodeaux was thought to have sealed the game as well late in the contest.
Or so people thought.
After Graham Gano missed a 37-yard field goal with a chance to go up six with 24 seconds left, the Jets had two big pass plays from Wilson to Garrett Wilson and Allen Lazard. Lazard’s 39-yard completion would set the Jets in field goal range where Zuerlein nailed a clutch kick to send the game into overtime.
“It’s a decision that we made to try to kick a field goal with Graham. Our defense was—they were like, 0-for-12 on third down. They were playing well. That’s the decision we made. It didn’t work out,” Giants head coach Brian Daboll said of choosing to go with Gano for the field goal instead of going for a fourth-and-one call.
In the extra period, a key pass interference call by the Giants’ defense would set the Jets up for the win
Sunday’s game may have been ugly, but injuries on the field also played a significant role. The Giants lost backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor in the second quarter when he recovered his fumble and took a hard hit while going down.
Taylor was later sent to the hospital for further evaluation.
The Jets certainly had their injury concerns as well. After Joe Tippmann was inactive due to an injury before the game, Gang Green lost both Wes Schweitzer and Connor McGovern to injuries. Neither played returned, and it left the Jets with trying out different players at center throughout the rest of the game.
“Credit first to Keith (Carter), our o-line coach just staying composed… A lot of shifting along the offensive line. Credit to those guys to continue to fight and stick together and I thought for the most part we were able to keep Zach semi-clean,” Saleh stated.
Even with all those struggles along the offensive line, Gang Green was able to come in clutch down the stretch to get over .500 at the halfway point of the year for the second straight season. To make matters better, a win over a cross-town rival certainly helps as well.
“To say you’re king of New York for another year is pretty cool,” Saleh said after the win.
With the win, the Jets moved to 4-3 on the season, the first win in the last eight drives following the bye week. They’ll be back on the field next Monday night against the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Giants, meanwhile, drop to 2-6 on the year with a date next week against the Las Vegas Raiders.
- Injuries were the main theme for both teams throughout the contest but even more so The G-Men were already missing Jones to a neck injury but starting tackles Andrew Thomas and Evan Neal missed the game with numerous other injuries. On the Jets side, Randall Cobb was out with a shoulder injury while Carl Lawson was a healthy scratch for the third time this season.
- While the Giants struggled so much on offense, they were helped by undisciplined plays from the Jets’ defense. New York was called for three unnecessary roughness penalties that gave the Big Blue their lone touchdown of the contest. Saleh called the penalties “unacceptable.”
- Saquon Barkley was the lone catalyst on offense for the Giants all game. The 33 carries for 119 yards was the first time he has gone over 100 yards rushing this season. It was his 17th 100-yard game of his career. He simply was the lone effective player on either offense Sunday.
- The 24 combined punts were the most in a single game since 2003.