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5 Plays That Made the Difference in the Jets' Win Over Houston

The Green & White Snapped a 5-Game Losing Streak


Let's just fast forward to the second half, which is when the Jets scored all 30 points in the 30-6 victory over Houston at MetLife Stadium on (another) rainy Sunday afternoon. It's when QB Zach Wilson threw for 209 of his season-high 301 yards in the game while completing 18-of-21 passes as the Green & White (5-8) scored 3 TDs and snapped a five-game losing streak.

But let's not downplay some strong defensive play in the first half by the Jets -- such as Sauce Gardner exploding a Texans' screen pass with a knifing tackle or Bryce Huff's sack of C.J. Stroud on third down (Huff's team-leading seventh of the season), or Solomon Thomas' takedown of Stroud late in the second quarter of the scoreless first half. It was the first time there was a scoreless first half since San Francisco beat Washington, 9-0, in Week 7 of the 2019 season, a feat that was matched in Minnesota's 3-0 win at Las Vegas on a late field goal.

No. 1 -- Wilson to Wilson
To open the second half, the Jets marched 75 yards in 7 plays in just under four minutes. On the drive, QB Zach Wilson was 5 of 6 for 77 yards, throwing on first down three straight times. The key play came on third-and-12 at the Houston 40-yard line. Wilson eluded a would-be tackler, rolled to his left and launched a bullet across his body to Garrett Wilson for 25 yards to the Texans' 15. On the next play, Z.Wilson sidearmed a throw to Randall Cobb on a crossing pattern for the TD. It was Cobb's fourth catch of the season and his first TD grab in green and white.

"As a coach, you're always like, 'Don't throw those,' " Z.Wilson said, referring to his cross-body throw to G.Wilson. "Sometimes they go the other way. So, for me, it's throw it when you believe it's there, trust in it. Sometimes bad plays are going to happen, but you're going to have to trust in those and let it rip. It's part of football."

He added: "I felt the guy get the edge a little bit on that side, so I kind of was just setting him up to get out the back toward there. I originally flipped my hips to look for Allen [Lazard] and I kind of felt the safety right over the top of him and I knew I had the in-cut from Garrett. It's one of those you don't really want to throw the ball back across the middle very often, but I thought I had a pretty good look at it being a clean picture, so just be aggressive and taking a shot."

No. 2 -- Quinnen Williams Sacks C.J. Stroud
Sparked perhaps by the offense's romp down the field, the Jets' defense, which had 5 sacks in the game, forced a quick three-and-out when Quinnen Williams took down C.J. Stroud on third-and-8 at the Houston 21. Coming into the game, Stroud, a rookie out of Ohio State, was the NFL's leader in passing yards, but could muster only 91 (53 net and 4 sacks) before leaving the game and entering the concussion protocol.

"Our whole thing this entire year is just to control what we can control, and regardless of how the offense or special teams does, we know on defense we have to hold it down," said edge rusher Bryce Huff. "And luckily today everybody played together and we had a good game."

No. 3 -- Tight Ends Have a Few Moments
With C.J. Uzomah on Injured Reserve after sustaining a knee injury last week, second-year man Jeremy Ruckert (3 catches/37 yards) teamed with Tyler Conklin (4/57) for 7 receptions and 94 yards.

Each of the tight ends was involved in the Jets' second scoring drive. After a short pass from Zach Wilson to Dalvin Cook lost 5 yards, Wilson rolled to his right to avoid the Texans rush and as he neared the sideline threw a dart to a diving Ruckert who managed to corral the wet ball after it ricocheted off his hands. After a presnap penalty on Chris Glaser made it third-and-9 from the Jets' 32-yard line, Wilson took a quick drop and found Conklin for 24 yards and a first down to the Houston 44. That eventually led to Xavier Gipson's end around for the TD and a 14-0 lead. (The blocking of Ruckert and Conklin wasn't too shabby either.)

Over those first two drives of the second half, the Jets had 15 plays, 144 net yards, 8 first downs and a pair of TDs. The two TDs on offense, which gave the Jets their largest lead in 19 games, were also the first time they scored multiple TDs on offense since the loss to the Chiefs on Oct. 1.

No. 4 -- Breece Hall Back on Track
RB Breece Hall totaled more than 100 yards from scrimmage for the first time in eight games -- 10 carries for 40 yards and 8 catches for 86 yards and a touchdown (a 3-yard toss from Zach Wilson).

"This is Breece's team," Robert Saleh said. "He's a star running back." He added: ""When he runs the way he does, he's ultra-hard to tackle and ultra-hard to contain. A couple of times I thought he was going to break one."

Early in the fourth quarter, after Houston scored following a Wilson fumble, the QB and Hall collaborated on the Jets' longest gain -- a 27-yard catch-and-run that took the ball from the Jets' 38-yard line to the Houston 35. On the very next play, Hall rambled for an additional 15 yards.

No. 5 -- Wilson to Ruckert for 19 Yards
The Jets' third scoring drive was in danger of stalling, facing second-and-19 at the Houston 29 after Zach Wilson was sacked for a 9-yard loss. Wilson was undaunted, finding Ruckert with a short-right pass for 19 yards to the Texans' 10.

"The second half, I thought Zach probably played the best game of his career," HC Robert Saleh said. "Just the off-schedule stuff, the timing and rhythm, getting the ball where it needed to, being aggressive and smart at the same time. He made a lot of things happen that weren't there. So hats off to him. I thought he was outstanding."

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