Skip to main content

Jets QB Zach Wilson: 'I Love This Game'

HC Robert Saleh Calls Passer’s 27-of-36 Performance ‘His Best Game’


Zach Wilson and the Jets came to play.

If there was one throw, one decision, one play that exemplified Wilson's moxie and determination it was a third-and-12 heave on the opening drive of the second half. Rolling out to avoid the Houston rush, Wilson threw across his body and found Garrett Wilson for 25 yards to the Texans' 15. One play later, Randall Cobb took a short toss from Z. Wilson into the end zone and the Jets were dancing on the painted turf.

"I felt the guy get the edge on that side and that set him [G.Wilson] up in the back door," Z.Wilson said. "I looked for Allen [Lazard], but I thought I had a good look at it across the field."

The Jets had built a 14-point lead with TDs on consecutive drives to open the second half. Houston then went three and out and the Green &White looked to be headed to scoring again when Z.Wilson eluded the rush and set off down the field. But instead of sliding after a 10-yard gain, Wilson was hit hard by Houston's Christian Harris, fumbled and Harris recovered.

Four plays and 57 yards later, the Texans scored, but Wilson and the Jets offense tossed all those negative scripts onto the saturated MetLife Stadium field. But that's when any vestige of a Houston comeback ended.

Sunday was a bright day against an ashen gray sky as Z.Wilson threw for more than 300 yards the third time in his career, completing 27-of-36 passes with a pair of TD tosses. He finished with a 117.9 passer rating, which surpassed his 105.2 in the narrow loss to the Chiefs in Week 4.

"His best game as a professional," said HC Robert Saleh after he watched the Jets (5-8) snap a five-game losing streak in a satisfying 30-6 victory over the Houston Texans. "He made things happen. I thought he was outstanding today."

He added about Z.Wilson: "It's a fine line between 'let it rip' and just trusting yourself," Saleh said, speaking about that pivotal third-down conversion. "You don't have to be a hero and you need to know when enough is enough."

That comment referred to that untimely fumble on the Jets' third possession of the second half.

"Be boring is just verbiage," Saleh said. "We were balanced today, aggressive, but smart, taking checkdowns and being calculated with opportunities."

To open the second half, after the teams slogged through a scoreless first 30 minutes that saw 11 punts, the Jets put together 2 drives in 15 plays, for 144 net yards and 8 first downs. The Green & White built their largest lead of the season on Z.Wilson's scoring toss to Cobb (a play that looked like it was drawn up by Aaron Rodgers, a former teammate with Cobb in Green Bay). On that drive, Z.Wilson was 5 of 6, throwing on first down three straight times. Then there was the nifty 9-yard end around scoring jaunt by undrafted rookie Xavier Gipson (his first rushing or receiving NFL TD, with a nice clinching block from TE Tyler Conklin).

"I thought we did a lot of good things in the first half," Z.Wilson said. "Just too many negative plays."

For the most part, the Jets turned the negatives into positives, rebounding after the Texans made the score 14-6 (Matt Ammendola missed the PAT) and marching right back down the field, going 75 yards in 10 plays before Wilson found RB Breece Hall (8 reception, 86 yards) alone in the flat for a 3-yard toss and catch to open the scoring in the fourth quarter.

"Winning is always fun," Z.Wilson said. "That's what we want every game to look like. We always go in with the expectation to do that, that's our goal every week. Everyone did a great job coming together, we played for each other and we've got each other's backs. I'm proud of the guys."

During the week, when Saleh returned Z.Wilson to the starting lineup after two games as the emergency, No. 3 passer, Z.Wilson said he planned to be "aggressively smart" against the Texans. He followed through on that, taking medium shots (a 27-yard catch-and-run by Hall), that gutsy 25-yarder to G.Wilson (9 catches, 108 yards) and the 3-yard dump off to Hall for a TD. In all, 7 different receivers caught passes while Z.Wilson was playing behind yet another different combination on the offensive line (with Jake Hanson making his first start for the Jets).

"The flow of play today was there," Z.Wilson said, as the Jets converted all three times in the red zone. "I can't say it's like that a lot in my career. Whatever we're searching for, it's just playing ball, converting passes, Hack [OC Nathaniel Hackett] called a great game."

The Jets had gone eight straight games without the offense scoring more than one TD (the last time was against Kansas City in Week 4), but this one was the first game the Jets had scored 3 TDs since Game 11 of the 2022 season against Chicago.

"The three years here have been challenging," said Z.Wilson, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. "I think what matters is focusing on what really matters, keeping my circle tight and knowing the guys that matter -- in the locker room -- they got my back.

"I love this game. I love to compete. I love the thrill of making big throws and winning games. It's exciting when we're able to do that as a unit. It makes it easy to ignore the noise when you do."

Zach Wilson came to play.

See the best game action photos during Sunday's game against the Houston Texans.

Related Content