With the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs visiting MetLife Stadium for a Sunday Night Football matchup with the Jets, wide receivers Garrett Wilson and Allen Lazard led the charge on offense in a 23-20 loss.
Wilson had 9 receptions on 14 targets for 60 yards and Lazard reeled in 3 receptions for 61 yards and his first touchdown as a Jet.
"If you can't wake up and get up for a Sunday night game against the Chiefs," Wilson said, "you don't need to be playing ball."
Down 17-0 after the first quarter, the Jets' first points came on a safety that sparked a 12-0 run. DE Bryce Huff drew a facemask penalty in the endzone that resulted in two points. The play gave the Jets the ball back and the offense began to find its groove.
On the ensuing drive, QB Zach Wilson hit G. Wilson on a crossing route for 14 yards. The next play, Z. Wilson rolled out to his right and threw a pass up the sideline to Lazard for 39 yards – his longest reception since a 42-yard grab from QB Aaron Rodgers, who was in attendance Sunday night, in Week 16 last season for Green Bay. Zuerlein capped the drive with a 31-yard field goal to cut the lead to 17-5.
G. Wilson started fast with 6 receptions for 43 yards in the first half. Playing in his 21st career game, the first-round pick in 2022 made his fifth catch with :30 seconds remaining to become the fastest Jets receiver to 100 catches – from the start of their NFL career – in franchise history.
"I thought offensively we did some things that were good," G.Wilson said. "Now it is just about starting like that and then finishing like that and everything in between. We took a step tonight."
The Jets' next possession after the field goal, other receivers got in on the action. On third-and-5 at the Kansas City 24-yard line, Wilson fired a pass to WR Randall Cobb just short of the sticks, but the veteran reached the ball out for an extra yard and a first down that put the Green & White in the red zone.
The next play, Z. Wilson faked an inside handoff to Dalvin Cook and flipped the ball off to WR Xavier Gipson on an end around. The rookie picked up 14 yards and put the Jets on the Kansas City 5-yard line. Gipson, the team's kick and punt returner, played 1 offensive snap over the first three games but was more involved at wide receiver against the Chiefs. Gipson finished with 1 reception for 4 yards and 2 rushes for 13 yards.
"It was a great play call by [Nathaniel] Hackett, but I thought everyone was making plays," he said about the run. "Everyone made the plays that came to them. I did everything I could. Cobb made a great play on third down to get the first downs. We set up the run as a group."
See the best game action photos during Sunday Night Football against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Two plays later, Wilson threw towards TE C.J. Uzomah in the back corner of the end zone for a touchdown to cut the deficit, 17-12.
On the opening possession of the second half, the Jets pass catchers accounted for all 75 yards on their seven-play scoring drive that culminated in Lazard's touchdown – a 10-yard laser from Z.Wilson.
"First of all, he threw a fantastic laser to me in the endzone," Lazard said. "The safety was coming over the top about to make a play on it and I think he might have got his hand on it a little bit, I could feel him about to break it up. But Zach read the play perfectly, threw a perfect pass, so it was a great ball by him."
Z. Wilson then ran across the goal line to convert the 2-point attempt and tied the game 20-20. The 2021 first-round pick, making his third start of the season, spread the ball around to 10 different receivers in the game. On the scoring drive, he completed passes to four players.
Tight ends Jeremy Ruckert and Tyler Conklin had back shoulder catches of 23 and 25 yards respectively on the Lazard scoring drive. Conklin finished with 4 receptions for 58 yards, a season high, and Ruckert had 2 receptions for 26 yards – both career highs for the second-year player.
"The team as a whole today was very positive," Lazard said. "Not only in the second half did we get our momentum back, but we were also talking to each other on the sideline and getting our groove. We have just got to build off that and keep moving forward."