A pair of Jets rookie wide receivers played critical roles in helping lead the Jets to inches away from surmounting a 26-point comeback win over the crosstown rival Giants. In their first MetLife Bowl appearances, third-round pick ArDarius Stewart and fourth-round selection Chad Hansen racked up a combined seven catches for 127 yards, two touchdowns and a two-point conversion.
"They're growing up a little bit," head coach Todd Bowles said. "The more they play ,the better they'll get. They made some good plays tonight. Obviously, you don't see the minuses that they had, but they had some of those too. We'll correct the film, but they're getting better and better. They just need to play."
Quarterback Bryce Petty first connected with the 5'11", 205-pound Stewart for a 25-yard touchdown towards the end of the third quarter. Midway through the fourth quarter, Petty found the Alabama product again for a 15-yard score to cut the deficit to seven.
Hansen registered two catches for 45 yards and added a key two-point conversion following Bilal Powell's 85-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown. The California product also drew a 31-yard pass interference penalty that set up the Green & White on the Giants 15-yard line, which ended with Stewart's second touchdown.
"Coach Bowles made it clear after the game that we're not going for ties, we're going for wins," Hansen said. "That two-point conversion that early in the game set the tone and let us know that we're winning this game. That was the mindset throughout the entire second half, that was the message going into the second half. I think we came together as a unit and gave us a chance to win at the end of the game."
Both receivers put their body control on display as they each made impressive sideline grabs while keeping two feet in bounds. Training camp roommates, Stewart and Hansen recorded the second and third most receiving yards today for the Jets (Powell).
"Basically we just needed to get something going," Stewart said. "We needed a momentum swing and we just had to get in. Coach was saying we needed to get something to happen and we're putting you two guys in the second half. We just had to man up, get in there and make something happen."