The Jets (3-8) secured their first road win of the season in Houston on Sunday with a come-from-behind 21-14 victory over the Texans (2-9). The defense sacked Texans QB Tyrod Taylor five times and rookie QB Zach Wilson, who returned to the lineup after a four-game absence due to a PCL sprain, benefited from a ground attack that totaled 157 yards and 2 TDs while averaging 4.6 yards per carry. The Jets scored the game's final 18 points and Jeff Ulbrich's defensive unit shut out Houston in the second half.
Led by DL John Franklin-Myers, the Jets defensive line created havoc all afternoon. JFM thwarted a Texans' scoring threat on their opening possession, tipping a Tyrod Taylor pass into the air and coming down the ball before rumbling 32 yards on a return.
"Foley [Fatukasi] is the reason I got that interception," he said. "He got the pressure on the quarterback, he threw it up, I tipped it, caught the ball and I tried to score a touchdown, but you know how it goes."
Following JFM's first career interception, LB Quincy Williams sacked Taylor late in the first quarter. Franklin-Myers, who attended Greenville HS in Texas, sacked Taylor for a 7-yard loss in the first stanza and again got to Taylor again for a 10-yard loss midway through the second quarter. The defense had 6 QB hits in the first half, but Taylor countered with two scoring passes and 134 yards passing in total, including a 40-yard dime to WR Brandin Cooks that Houston up 14-3 in the second quarter.
"He's worth his weight in gold," head coach Robert Saleh said of Franklin-Myers. "To much given, much expected, right? He has a very high standard for himself and I know he was beating himself up all week for that [roughing the passer penalty against the Dolphins], but at the same time, he comes out to practice every single day, he works his butt off and he's working his tail off on gameday. It was really cool for him to get the production he got."
With JFM briefly taking the team lead with his sixth sack, DT Quinnen Williams tied the versatile DL with his sixth sack of the season in third quarter. CB Bryce Hall sealed the win late with a fourth-down PD, the Jets' fourth of the day.
RB Austin Walter, who was elevated from the practice squad on Saturday, and Wilson, making his seventh professional start, recorded the first rush TDs of their careers. Trailing by 14-3 early in the second quarter, the Jets responded with a 15-point run to grab the lead.
After Walter carried over the left side for 12 yards on his first rush attempt this season, he followed with a 2-yard score, and backup QB Josh Johnson converted the 2-point conversion to make it 14-11 before halftime. Then the Jets took over in the third quarter, marching 75 yards in 11 plays and Wilson culminated the possession with his feet.
"It felt great. There's no better place to do it than Houston, Texas. I'm from here, I went to Rice University. My whole family is in the building, it felt amazing. I couldn't have asked for it better."
RT Morgan Moses added: "I think you see guys buying into the system. Any time you lose a guy like Michael Carter, who's a fantastic running back and you have guys fill that void, that's a part of the team buying into things that we want to do. ... We have to find a way to take this game and take it to next week. Take what we did great this game and move on to fix the things that we didn't do."
Late in the game, Robert Saleh elected to keep his offensive unit on the field when his club faced a fouth-and-1 at the Houston 15. The Jets picked up 8 yards from Elijah Moore, who had 4 catches for 46 yards, and the Green & White was able to take valuable time off the clock.
"We were getting ready to kick that field goal and [Mike] LaFleur was adamant that he had a playcall to get the first down," Saleh said of the fourth-down call. "We burned the timeout, brought the offense back on and proved it right."
See Best Images from the Victory in Houston
Wilson Back in the Saddle
Wilson showed some signs of rust in his return to the lineup for the first time in more than a month. While the rookie's first pass was an 11-yard completion to Keelan Cole, he finished 6 of 12 in the first half for 44 yards. Wilson displayed good recognition on 10-yard third-down connection to TE Ryan Griffin in the second quarter and scored three plays later.
With a 3-0 lead and the Jets facing a third-and-17 play from their 18, Wilson scrambled and then tried to do too much on a shovel pass to Ty Johnson. The Jets RB had his back to Wilson by the time the ball reached him and CB Tavierre Thomas came up with an INT.
"I knew it was third-and-long," Wilson said of the pick. "We had a slant at the top, the corner did a good job just holding on to Keelan. The seas kind of just parted, I stepped up and I figured rather than me going, running and getting blasted by somebody or go to slide, just flip it to my checkdown in front of me. It was just one of those unfortunate things. I think maybe I should have got to it sooner, but Ty was just turning around to try and block for me at that point. It was one of those things that was just unlucky sometimes."
Both clubs had an INT in the first half, but the visitors had to settle for a 31-yard Matt Ammendola field goal while the home team grabbed the lead with rookie TE Brevin Jordan's 13-yard scoring catch.
Wilson was better in the second half and finished 14-of-24 for 145 yards and 1 INT.
"Really good, especially because I wasn't happy with the way I performed," he said of the win. "Just the ups and downs of it all, I have to just keep going. It's all part of the process. We're going to keep getting better, but it feels really good to go home having a win. That's the goal, to win games. I'm really happy we were able to pull it out. The guys battled, the defense played awesome, held them to not doing much on offense. I thought they did an awesome job and then I thought the guys up front battled all the way until the end. It's awesome to be able to learn from a win."
The Jets inactives were WR Corey Davis, RB La'Mical Perine, OL Isaiah Williams, DL Tim Ward, S Jarrod Wilson, DT Jonathan Marshall and CB Rachad Wildgoose. … CB Javelin Guidry started on the outside for the Green & White after Isaiah Dunn started last week against the Dolphins. Guidry shifted inside after Michael Carter II exited on the Texans' first possession but MCII returned the next drive. … With RB Michael Carter on injured reserve, Tevin Colemanstarted in the backfield and paced the visitors with 67 yards on 16 12 carries including a 19-yarder that precededMatt Ammendola's 31-yard FG. … With Coleman starting, WR Keelan Cole took his spot at KR. … LB Quincy Williams, who recorded the second sack of his career, departed in the third quarter with an injury … TE Kenny Yeboah partially blocked a punt right before the end of the half. … WR Braxton Berrios had a 46-yard catch-and-run that set the offense up in plus territory, but had no points to show for it. ... Matt Ammendola, who missed a 42-yard field-goal attempt, finished 2-of-3 including a 37-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter that put the Green & White up 21-14.