With the Jets trailing, 16-3, with 3:31 left in the third quarter, Jets head coach Robert Saleh replaced QB Zach Wilson with Chris Streveler. Earlier this week, Streveler was elevated from the practice squad to the active roster ahead of Thursday night's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium. Mike White remained sidelined with bruised ribs that forced him to miss his second straight game.
Though Streveler gave the Jets a boost, it wasn't enough in the 19-3 loss to the Jaguars that put the Jets (7-8) playoff hopes in jeopardy with their final two games on the road, at Seattle and then at Miami to close out the regular season. It was the Green & White's fourth-straight loss.
"He gave us a spark," Saleh said about Streveler.
He added that the plan was to insert Streveler into the game if there was a need to kickstart the running game. Streveler entered with a package of plays that was installed specifically for him in the face of the extreme wind and rain.
"The intent was to spark the run game," Saleh said. "It was still a two-score game. We came into the game expecting bad weather with a package of plays for Strev to use in the run game in the event it got out of hand with the weather. With the package we moved down the field, just didn't finish. But he got them going."
On his first play from scrimmage, at the Jets' 14-yard line, Streveler ran for a 6-yard game. Then the burly 6-1, 216-pound, 27-year-old journeyman, who won the CFL's Grey Cup with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2019, found Elijah Moore over the middle for 7 yards and a first down. After a 1-yard gain, he connected with TE C.J. Uzomah for 30 yards to the Jaguars' 42.
After moving to the Jags' 25 and facing fourth-and-4, Streveler found rookie WR Garrett Wilson in the left flat for 4 yards and a first down to keep the drive going. The Jets faced another fourth-down play three plays later. But on the 16th play of the drive, Streveler's pass failed to connect with G. Wilson. It was the Jets' best drive of the night, a run-heavy, 73-yard, 8:07 march to the Jaguars 13 before his fourth-down pass went incomplete.
On the drive, Streveler ran 6 times for 37 yards (6.2 yards a carry) and injected some energy into the offense and the rain-soaked fans. He was 3-of-5 passing for 41 yards.
"You always just try to move the ball and score points," Streveler said. "Obviously we didn't do that. We have to finish drives, 3 points is not going to win games. We have to be better." He added: "You're just trying to make positive yards and get the ball moving."
After exhausting that planned package of plays, Streveler said he was not told he was coming out of the game.
"After that first drive, we went into up-tempo mode trying to get things going," he said. "We have to get down the field quick, a lot was the run game stuff. You have to move it quick and do different stuff."
His second series ended when a fourth-down completion to G.Wilson for 9 yards and a first down turned against the Jets when the ball was bizarrely and legally kicked out of Wilson's hands by LB Foyesade Oluokun. The Jets' last series ended when Streveler's fourth-down pass intended for Wilson failed to connect with 1:40 left in the game. He finished his night's work 10 of 15 for 90 yards passing and a team-leading 54 yards on 9 carries (6 yards a carry).
"Strev runs around and he makes plays," Saleh said. "The protection wasn't great for him either, but he was able to slide, get out of the pocket and create off schedule and move the chains."
Streveler, after short stays in the NFL with Arizona, Baltimore and Miami, eventually won a roster spot with the Jets after a strong preseason. He was 24 of 33 for 277 yards and 5 TDs in the summer and led the team in rushing with 71 yards on only 9 carries (7.9 yards a carry) as he helped the Jets go undefeated in three preseason games.
Given a chance for the first time this season, Streveler summed it up: "It's always disappointing when you don't execute, regardless of other stuff. I'm fine. Mostly I'm just feeling the disappointment of not winning a football game."