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Jets QB Zach Wilson: 'There's No Quit'

Green & White Come Off the Mat to Win the Battle of New York


Zach Wilson and the Jets found a way when there seemed like there was no conceivable path to victory.

Taking snaps from his third center of the game and with 24 seconds left in the fourth quarter and roughly 40 yards between the Jets and field goal range, Zach Wilson completed back-to-back 29-yard passes -- first to Garrett Wilson (7 catches/100 yards) and then to Allen Lazard (3/45) to the Giants' 17-yard line. 

As time melted away, Z.Wilson got his team set and spiked the ball with 1 second left. Greg Zuerlein converted from 35 yards out to tie the score, 10-10, with three zeros showing on the clock.

"In situations like that, with what we went through, all it takes is a play, actually all it took was two plays," said Z.Wilson (17 of 36, 240 yards, 1 TD on a 50-yard pass and run by Breece Hall ... but 2 fumbles). "I had no doubt we were going to win the game in OT. That's why there's no quit. You have to have a short-term memory, come off the field, go back out and keep going."

The 16th regular-season meeting between the two local teams (the Giants lead, 8-7) was certainly one of the wackiest, yet enthralling 60-plus minutes in recent memory. It was the Jets first game back after their bye week -- the Jets had lost seven straight after their annual week off during the season.

Center Connor McGovern took 18 snaps before leaving with a knee injury. Wes Schweitzer moved over from right guard, but took only 10 snaps before sustaining a calf injury. In came Xavier Newman, who was elevated from the practice squad on Saturday and played in his fifth NFL game. On his first snap after replacing Schweitzer at right guard, Wilson bobbled the snap from Newman and fumbled the ball, his second miscue after a strip sack by the Giants' Kayvon Thibodeaux on the Jets' first series on offense. 

"Me and X had never taken a snap," Z.Wilson said. "He asked me on the fumble if it was 'me or you.' We just haven't practiced, you just have to move on to the next play. Keep your head up and keep going. It was an unbelievable job by those guys."

The playing conditions had a huge impact on the game. Neither team put on an offensive display, going a combined 3 of 34 on third downs (the Jets were 2 of 15), with the Jets committing 9 penalties for 85 yards, seeing several flags at critical junctures. The Jets (Z.Wilson) committed 2 turnovers and Thomas Morstead was called on to punt 11 times (48.1 average), though he landed the ball inside the Giants' 20-yard line four times. In all, there were 24 punts in the game, the most in an NFL game since 2003.

With 1:33 left in the fourth quarter and the Jets facing fourth-and-10 at their 41, Thibodeaux sacked Z.Wilson on a play that seemed to settle matters. But the Giants' decision to try to build a six-point lead failed when Graham Gano missed a 35-yard field goal. The Jets got the ball back and Z.Wilson went to work.

"I guess I'm to the point where I have short-term memory," Z.Wilson said of the sack. "You really can do nothing but move on to the next play."

That next play for Z.Wilson and the Jets was his 29-yard pass to G.Wilson that took the ball to the Giants' 46 with 17 seconds left in the fourth. With no timeouts, Z.Wilson scrambled and found Allen Lazard over the middle to the 17. And this time, unlike the failure to spike the ball at Denver at the end of the first half, Wilson mustered his teammates, got the team set and rammed the ball into the soggy turf with a second left.

"The coaches have done a great job bringing up situations and how to correct things," Z.Wilson said. "And I think this pass was longer than the Denver pass and went further. [He was referring to the 5-yard sideline toss to C.J. Uzomah against the Broncos as time expired.] It was such a good job by them, being on top of it.

"Right before the drive started X [Newman] asked if we had to clock it, what's the cadence. We haven't practiced that. Absolute hustle. It was flawless. I peeked at the clock and looked up to see 4 seconds, I took one more glance to make sure we were set and knew we would get that one off."

In a game that was far, far from flawless, the Jets will certainly take it ahead of next Monday night's visit by the Los Angeles Chargers.

After holding the Giants to open overtime, Wilson converted the Jets' second time on third down (he had scrambled 17 yards earlier for the other first down) when he found G.Wilson for 11 yards to midfield. Two plays later, a pass interference call that prevented Malik Taylor (elevated from the practice squad) gave the Green & White a first down at the 15. The teams traded times out before Zuerlein nailed his 14th career game-winning field goal, this one from 33 yards out.

"Just unbelievable grit and battle by the guys," Z.Wilson said. "No waver." He added: "The defense keeps doing an unbelievable job. I think we're always going to be in close games with a defense like that, but we have to play more balanced football."

On a dank, rainy and cool afternoon at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Z. Wilson and the Jets -- to paraphrase a cliché -- snatched victory from the seething jaws of defeat. Who says an ugly game can't have a beautiful ending? 13-10 Jets in OT. A 4-3 record after the Green & White's third-straight victory after three defeats. And a sense that they're never out of a game.

"There's a lot of resilience from this group," head coach Robert Saleh said. "It's been the mark of this group, it never feels like we're out of the game."

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