The Jets won their preseason opener, 24-21, with a go-ahead score in the final seconds on Friday night vs. the Eagles in Philadelphia, but the outcome and most of the game was overshadowed by the knee injury sustained by Jets QB Zach Wilson in the first quarter.
Having lost RT Mekhi Becton earlier this week to a right knee injury and with veteran T George Fant still working his way back from offseason knee surgery, the Jets started Chuma Edoga at LT and rookie Max Mitchell, a fourth-round pick from Louisiana, at RT. With 4:29 left in the first quarter, Wilson took a shotgun snap and faced immediate pressure from DE Tarron Jackson after the Eagles defender cleanly beat Mitchell off the line of scrimmage.
After neatly stepping aside the oncoming Johnson, Wilson saw open grass up the home sideline. Instead of electing to go out of bounds, Wilson looked for more, but his right leg gave way while making a move to his left. The athletic QB knew something wasn't right and gave himself up with a dive to the ground.
The Jets got blitzed early by the Birds, falling behind, 14-0, 8:32 into the game. The visitors hurt themselves with a pair of critical mistakes coming on a defensive penalty (Quincy Williams) and an interception (off Wilson).
After the Eagles entered Jets' territory on their opening possession, rookie DE Jermaine Johnson had great containment while forcing elusive QB Jalen Hurts to the boundary for no gain on a third-and-5 play. But LB Quincy Williams came late and high, delivering a thunderous hit on Hurts that resulted in an unnecessary roughness penalty. Two plays later, Hurts connected with TE Dallas Goedert for a 22-yard TD.
With Wilson looking for an early answer, he locked in on WR Corey Davis on the ensuing possession. Weakside 'backer Kyzir White read his eyes from the snap, stepped in front of Davis, and intercepted it, and returning the ball 27 yards to the NYJ 20. The Jets attempt at a goal-line stand was thwarted when RB Jason Huntley powered through from a yard out.
See the best images of the Jets' 24-21 victory during the preseason opener at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
Mike White took over in relief of Wilson and led the Jets to the Eagles' 8-yard line. Eddy Piñeiro's 26-yard boot gave the Green & White their first points of the summer. Rookie RB Breece Hall, a second-round pick from Iowa State, totaled 15 yards on his five first-half carries while WR Garrett Wilson, the team's No. 10 overall selection from Ohio State, had two catches for 25 yards. TE Tyler Conklin carried over his strong practice play, hauling in three first-half targets for 23 yards.
After rookie DE Micheal Clemons helped pin the Eagles deep inside their own end with a sack, White got the Jets moving with a pair of third-down conversions to Denzel Mims. They got 16 on a third-and-7 play and 9 on a third-and-3, the latter setting up the Jets at the Philly 11. Two plays later, rookie RB Zonovan "Bam" Knight, an undrafted free agent from N.C. State, got in from two yards out, cutting the deficit to 14-10.
With the Jets' defensive reserves holding the Eagles at bay, fourth-string QB Chris Streveler led a 10-play, 69-yard scoring march that culminated on a 1-yard TD to rookie TE Jeremy Ruckert. On the possession, Streveler had an 8-yard scramble plus two hook-ups with TE Lawrence Cager that covered 40 yards.
Philadelphia put together a 75-yard, 18-play drive that took more than 8 minutes before scoring the apparent game-winning TD on Kennedy Brooks' 2-yard TD reception with 1:46 remaining.
But it didn't end there. Knight rambled 52 yards to the Jets' 47 on the ensuing kickoff, Streveler used his arm and legs to take the Jets down the field, running for 23 yards and then found Calvin Jackson in the back of the end zone for a 5-yard TD, making it a 24-21 contest in the final seconds.
The Jets sat a few their starters including LB C.J. Mosley, and DEs Carl Lawson and John Franklin-Myers. They also were without CB D.J Reed (hamstring) S Lamarcus Joyner, and LT George Fant, who continues to get more work at practice. … The defense was credited with 5 sacks with veteran DT Tanzel Smart leading the way with 2 and Micheal Clemons, Quincy Williams and Jabari Zuniga collecting 1 apiece. … P Braden Mann, who averaged 46.2 yards on his 5 punts and had three downed inside the 20, handled kickoff duties, and made a TD-saving tackle on a kickoff. … The Jets planned to bus home Friday, have an off-day Saturday and then return to practice on Sunday in Florham Park.