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WR Randall Cobb on TD Catch: 'I Wasn't Supposed to Be in on That Play'

Impressed by Zach Wilson’s ‘Mental Toughness’

New York Jets wide receiver Randall Cobb (18) scores a touchdown during an NFL football game against the Houston Texans on Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

Randall Cobb wasn't even planning to be on the field. Then he caught a bit of serendipity, and he caught a touchdown pass.

"I wasn't supposed to be in on that play," Cobb said on Monday when he spoke about his 15-yard TD catch from QB Zach Wilson that helped spark Sunday's win over the visiting Houston Texans. "It was supposed to go to G [Garrett Wilson]. He had a couple of plays and was a little tired. He came running off and luckily they called a play for him and I was in for it."

The catch and run, the culmination of the Jets' 7-play, 75-yard drive to open the second half after a scoreless first half, was the only reception of the game for Cobb. The 13-year veteran, coincidentally, was on the field for 13 plays (19% of the total plays on offense). He has appeared in 8 games this season after dealing with injuries (shoulder) and being a "healthy scratch" for several games.

"I think we've all been very frustrated because we didn't think this is how the season would go," Cobb, 33, said after the Jets fifth victory snapped a five-game losing streak. "Me personally, it's been a war. I got hurt [shoulder], but I'm ready to go. There were the healthy scratches [the first in the Chargers game] a few weeks ago, I never really knew what a healthy scratch was. I've only played a couple of snaps [193 or 40%]. It's been a roller-coaster ride. I'm trying to stick to what's true to me and what's gotten me to this point, to continue to work, keep my head down and control the controllable. I can't put myself out there and be active. If I could, I would be out there as much as I could. When I'm given an opportunity, I'm just trying to make the play."

Other than Zach Wilson's scramble/fumble in the third quarter, the Jets offense was close to flawless in the 30-6 win over the Texans. Wilson, who was sacked four times, was back as the starting QB after serving as the No. 3, emergency passer for two games. He directed three TD drives, played fast and played well.

"I think more than anything, it was just his mental toughness," Cobb said of Wilson. "Just to bounce back and come back given an opportunity and making the most out of it. He made some checks in the game and just played his brand of football. You could tell he was having fun, enjoying himself and I feel like that pressure he's been carrying, it didn't seem to be there. It was nice to see him just play loose and free and having fun and going out there and slingin' it around."

He added: "From what I've seen, that's the best he's played. He just went out and played his brand of ball, without feeling constrained. The pressure he's faced over the past two or three years -- he just went out there and put it aside and played phenomenal."

Cobb signed a one-year deal with the Jets in May and was reunited with his friend and former teammate Aaron Rodgers. They had played together for 10 years with Green Bay, and last season they walked off the field together at Lambeau Field for the last time in green and gold after the Packers' season-ending loss to the Lions.

Though he has not seen as much game action as he might like, HC Robert Saleh has lauded Cobb's presence in the locker room while the veteran wide receiver has watched as the offense has struggled to score touchdowns.

What was different on Sunday?

"No self-inflicted wounds, that one of the big things that's really killed our drives and opportunities throughout the season," Cobb said. "Pre-snap penalties often put us in tough positions on second- and third-and-long. It's hard to overcome. We played complementary football and were able to make some plays and got a lot of guys involved. Guys stepped up to the plate when we had opportunities."

Wilson, who was 27 of 36 for 301 yards and 2 TD passes, spread the ball around to seven different receivers with Garrett Wilson eclipsing 100 yards (108) on 9 catches. In the second half, when the Jets scored all 30 of their points and Z. Wilson was 18 of 21 for 209 yards. Like Cobb, Z. Wilson, too, has had a roller-coaster season after being thrust back onto the field after Rodgers sustained a torn Achilles tendon four plays into the season opener against Buffalo.

"I think everyone has felt it, it's unfortunate things haven't gone the way we thought they would," Cobb said. "All of us have been pressing, trying to do too much. We tried to throw the kitchen sink with every possible thing we could scheme or personnel. We were trying to find something that would stick. We went back to the basics this week and made plays, we put the opportunities on guys to run routes and get open and catch the ball."

With G.Wilson as the No. 1 WR, and with Allen Lazard and the emerging undrafted rookie Xavier Gipson competing for playing time, Cobb can only hope the TD catch can mean more time on the field.

"This league will humble you day in and day out," he said. "I am trying to stay vigilant and present and know sometimes you have to create your own opportunity."

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