The Jets evened their preseason mark at 1-1 with a 27-0 win over the Panthers, the team's largest shutout margin in franchise preseason history, on Saturday in Charlotte, NC.
The visitors showcased their defensive depth with a dominant effort. Offensively, RBs Israel Abanikanda and Michael Carter were impressive in addition to a solid outing from QB Zach Wilson for a second consecutive game.
Starting a defensive lineup that had Jermaine Johnson and Bryce Huff at the edge spots, and Jamien Sherwood leading the linebackers, the Jets wasted no time introducing Panthers rookie QB Bryce Young to the NFL. Solomon Thomas and Johnson each got a clean shot on the No. 1 overall pick in April's draft during Young's preseason drive. Thomas sprung free off a twist and Johnson went untouched, working his way from the outside through the inside of Carolina's offensive line.
In the second quarter, veteran Quinton Jefferson, a free-agent addition, registered the first of 5 sacks for the defense as he brought down Young for a 9-yard loss on third-and-4. Rookie Will McDonald took down backup QB Matt Corral for his first NFL sack after registering 2 tackles, 2 pressures and a QB hit last week against the Browns. Johnson, looking poised for a sophomore jump, had the full arsenal at work on his first sack of the summer in the second quarter (split with Huff).
While the Jets rested most of their first-unit defenders, Wilson played with a lineup that included many starters minus OL Alijah Vera-Tucker and WR Garrett Wilson. Carter, who starred at the University of North Carolina, ran decisively (4-19) and his 25-yard catch-and-run in the first quarter led to Greg Zeurlein's 47-yard field goal to put the Jets up, 3-0. Abanikanda, who scored last week against the Browns, had chunk gains on the ground and through the air while totaling 87 yards. His 25-yard run set up the Jets' opening TD — a 2-yard completion from Wilson (14 of 20 for 123 yards) to TE Kenny Yeboah. Abanikanda ran up the middle and put a spin move on Panthers S Jammie Robinson before taking off for an extra 15 yards to put the offense on the 1-yard line.
The D-line picked up where it left off in the second half as Bruce Hector, who joined the team Tuesday, had a strip-sack and fumble recovery of Corral that set the offense up on the Carolina 34-yard line. The Jets couldn't capitalize and extend their lead as QB Tim Boyle, who started the second half, was picked off by Panthers S Sam Franklin at the 10-yard line. Boyle did not throw another incompletion. He finished 9 of 10 for 84 yards and 2 touchdowns – one to UDFA TE E.J. Jenkins (5 yards) and another to rookie TE Zack Kuntz (4 yards).
The Jets will return to New Jersey Saturday night, have a walk-through Sunday and then a day off Monday. The team will host the Buccaneers for joint practices on Wednesday and Thursday before ending the week Saturday night at MetLife Stadium in the Green & White's third preseason contest.
See the best photos from second preseason game of the 2023 season.