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3 Takeaways | Jets Offense Wants to 'Bottle Up' First Half, 'Come Out Firing' in 2024

Green & White Totaled 27 Points in First Two Quarters; Young Players Produced With Increased Workload


The Jets (6-9) beat the Commanders (4-11), 30-28, at MetLife Stadium on Sunday. Here are three takeaways from the Week 16 game.

Tale of Two Halves … Again
The last time the Jets played at MetLife Stadium, they were shut out in the first half against the Texans before putting together a 30-point second half. Sunday against the Commanders, the Green & White posted 27 first-half points and did not score in the second half until Greg Zuerlein's game-winning 54-yard field goal with 10 seconds remaining.

"It's kind of been the other way around," WR Garrett Wilson said. "I feel like when we get to these interviews, it's like we finished strong, started slow. We have to figure out how to pull it all together and take it into next season. We have to find a way to get better in these next two games all around and then bottle it up and next season come out firing."

The Jets' 57 points over the two halves was their most at home over a two-half span (not including OT) since scoring 62 points against the Buccaneers in 1985.

The Green & White scored on the first offensive drive, a 25-yard FG, for the second time this season (Week 10 at Las Vegas). For the first time in 30 years, the Jets started their first three drives in opposing territory. It was also the first time since 2012 any team in the NFL has had its first three in plus territory.

The team scored 17 points in the first quarter, the first time the team has scored at least 17 points since Week 10 in 2014 against the Steelers. The last time the Jets scored at least 27 points in the first half was Week 14 in 2015 against the Titans.

Special Teams Continues Consistency
Sunday's special teams performance will be overshadowed by Greg Zuerlein's 54-yard game-winning field goal, which set the franchise record for consecutive FGs made with 25.

In the second quarter, S Ashtyn Davis recovered a fumble that former Jets WR Jamison Crowder coughed up untouched. Crowder returned a punt 24 yards that would've set up Washington by midfield before the fumble. Instead, Davis leapt in the air to secure the rock for his team-leading third fumble recovery of the season. He also leads the team with 5 takeaways.

"I like getting the football," said Davis, who was drafted in the third round out of Cal in 2020. "We talked about it here and my college coach, Gerald Alexander, would say 'the ball is oxygen.' The ball would change your life. It's all about the ball, always and forever. I believe that, I live that and try to show it on Sundays."

Thomas Morstead, who brushed Crowder by the sideline before he lost the ball, averaged 48.7 yards per punt on 6 boots. He had a long of 54 and pinned the Commanders within their 20-yard line twice.

See postgame photos from the Christmas Eve win over the Commanders.

Young Players Produce
Rookie RB Israel Abanikanda, coming off a career-high 22 snaps at Miami, had a career-high 9 rushes for 43 yards. Abanikanda's number was often called on a toss play as he gained 12 yards on his first carry of the game.

"We weren't really planning for that [play], but it happened and it was working, so we kept going with it," Abanikanda said. He added: "It felt great. I still have a touchdown in my bag that I'm waiting on. Even if it's next year, I'm still blessed."

WR Jason Brownlee, a fellow rookie who signed as an undrafted free agent in May, recorded his first NFL touchdown on an 8-yard reception to put the Jets up, 10-0, in the first quarter. Brownlee had missed the last two games with an ankle injury.

Fellow UDFA WR Xavier Gipson had a 30-yard kick return in the second quarter that jumpstarted an 11-play, 71-yard scoring drive capped with RB Breece Hall's second rushing TD, which put the Jets up, 27-7.

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