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Jets-Commanders Game Recap | Breece Hall Helps Deck Commanders, 30-28

Greg Zuerlein Connects From 54 Yards Out to Rescue the Victory


Playing their final home game of the 2023 season, the New York Jets delivered an early Christmas Eve haymaker to the Washington Commanders.

A 27-7 halftime lead melted away on a gray December afternoon as Washington backup QB Jacoby Brissett (10-13-100-1TD) led the Commanders back to a 28-27 lead. But with the help of workhorse RB Breece Hall, the Jets moved into position to attempt Greg Zuerlein's 54-yard field goal with 5 seconds remaining and he delivered to end a wild holiday affair. With their second win in three games, the Green & White moved to 6-9 while the Commanders dropped their sixth straight contest and fell to 4-11.

"He's arguably one of the better kickers in the league," HC Robert Saleh said. "It was almost as if there was no chance he was going to miss that ball. He's been in that situation so much in his life."

The Jets raced out to a 17-0 first-quarter lead, scoring on their first three drives and grabbing their largest first-quarter advantage since 2014. With Aaron Rodgers watching, the Jets' kids initially gave the veteran QB and the fans reasons to be hopeful in 2024 and beyond. Second-year pass rusher Jermaine Johnson pressured QB Sam Howell into a Tony Adams interception and Johnson followed with a blocked punt to end the ensuing series. The Adams INT set up a Zuerlein field goal and the lead grew to 10-0 on Trevor Siemian's 8-yard TD pass to Jason Brownlee. It was the rookie wide receiver's third career catch and first NFL TD.

On the offense's third consecutive drive in plus-territory, Hall took a Siemian handoff, followed a crease provided by Jeremy Ruckert and Xavier Gipson and made a house call from 36 yards out. Things got greener in the second quarter when former Jets WR Jamison Crowder gifted a fumble following a long punt return that popped up in the air. Ashtyn Davis went up and collected his fifth takeaway to set up Zuerlein's 27-yard field goal.

Hall, who had a monster game with 191 yards on 32 touches (20 rushes, 95 yards, and 12 receptions for 96 yards), tacked on an acrobatic 2-yard score in the second quarter to give the Jets a 27-7 lead.

"The coaches were able to get me in good spots to get the ball in space," said the second-year RB. "They stayed with me the whole game. It's a blessing they still have faith in me after having a big knee injury and still believe I'm that guy. It definitely means a lot for me."  

But when a blowout looked imminent, Washington LB Cody Barton intercepted Siemian at the NYJ 4 and returned the theft 52 yards. From there, Brissett replaced Howell and led two scoring drives that made it a 27-21 contest on Logan Thomas' 15-yard TD reception and Chris Rodriguez's 1-yard run. With 4:52 remaining, Antonio Gibson tied the game from 2 yards out and the extra point gave the visitors an improbable 28-27 lead.

"Unfortunate the way the second half came around," Saleh said. "We had a chance to go up 34, possibly 30, to 7. They get the turnover, Jacoby Brissett comes in. He did a great job sparking their offense and getting them going. Overall, it was a fight. The second half made it more interesting than it needed to be. Credit to the defense getting the ball back in a 4-minute situation. Offense taking the ball down the field and kicking the field goal for the win."

Taking over with 1:41 remaining, Siemian led the Jets on an 8-play, 31-yard drive to help set up Zuerlein's dramatics. Not surprisingly, Hall's 14-yard reception was the longest play on the final march.

"I think the 35 [yard line] was kind of the number we were trying to get to, but certainly with Greg, it gives you a lot of confidence in the back of your head that we can get close and he'll give us a chance," Siemian said. "I think Greg is one of the best. He's an even better dude, but just had to string a couple plays together and find a way."

See the best game action photos during Sunday's home game against the Washington Commanders.

Prior to the game, Jets Chairman Woody Johnson told The New York Post that both GMJoe Douglas and HC Robert Saleh will return for the 2024 season. "I think we've had some very positive moves," Johnson said in the article published Sunday. "The culture of the team is a lot better. The defense is better. The offense needs a few pieces." …. Trevor Siemian, who had made relief appearances against the Falcons and the Dolphins, became the fourthJets QB to start this season. The last time the Jets started four QBs in the same season was 1989.  ….  The Jets lined up with their 12th starting offensive line in 15 games as rookie Carter Warren returned to action at RT. …. Garrett Wilson finished with 9 catches for 76 yards. The second-year wideout joins Keyshawn Johnson and Jerricho Cotchery as the only receivers in franchise with back-to-back 80-catch seasons. …. Linebacker Quincy Williams, who entered with 8 PDs, and was only one shy of the NFL lead at his position, picked up his ninth PD and then got his 10th with an INT of Sam Howell. … Aaron Rodgers, who was activated on Wednesday, was a gameday inactive for the first time this season. Rodgers will continue to practice with the team over the final two weeks. …. Rookie RB Israel Abanikanda set career highs with 43 rush yards on 9 carries. … Following their 30-point second-half explosion against the Texans at MetLife Stadium on Dec. 10, the Jets opened with 27 first-half points against the Commanders. Those 57 combined points over their last two home halves were the most points at home over a two-half span (not including OT) since the Jets beat down the Bucs 62-28 on Nov. 17, 1985. … The Jets finished 4-5 at home and moved to 5-5 in games against opposition outside the AFC East.

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