This Thursday night matchup was easy to overlook at the start of the season.
However, the New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars have both played well enough to be in contention for AFC wild card spots. The Jaguars were on a roll heading into Week 16. The Jets were making mistakes.
The trends continued at a rainy and windy MetLife Stadium, with the Jaguars defeating the Jets 19-3 and closing in on the Tennessee Titans in the AFC South.
It was the Jets’ fifth loss in six games, and it symbolised their downward spiral. Quarterback Zach Wilson was benched again in the third quarter in favour of the unknown Chris Streveler.
Here are the winners and losers from the season’s second-to-last “Thursday Night Football” game.
Engram lived at MetLife for five seasons. As a member of the New York Giants, he was booed several times at the stadium.
The boos were not for him this time.
Engram caught seven passes on eight targets for 113 yards, frequently demonstrating his ability to gain yardage after the catch.
The former first-round pick, who signed a one-year contract with Jacksonville this offseason, had 11 catches, 162 yards, and two touchdowns against the Titans two weekends ago. He had 62 yards on eight catches in a win over the Cowboys last Sunday.
Lawrence continues to develop into the potentially franchise-changing quarterback the Jaguars hoped to acquire when they selected him first overall in the 2021 draught. He completed 20 of 31 passes for 229 yards. Lawrence, on the other hand, was even more impressive on the ground, with seven rushes for 51 yards (7.3 yards per carry).
He scored the game’s lone touchdown on a quarterback sneak in the second quarter, stretching the ball over the goal line right after the snap.
In the last 11 years, the Jaguars have had 10 losing seasons. They aren’t yet.500, but they have won three of their last four games and appear to be getting better with each passing week.
In the first quarter, Pederson’s slick play call to spring Engram free to counter a Jets blitz set up Riley Patterson’s 32-yard field goal, the game’s first score. The Jaguars went 96 yards in 16 plays on the touchdown drive. The sequence took 8 minutes, 15 seconds of game time, and Jacksonville had eight first downs before Lawrence’s touchdown run.
The Jets didn’t have many highlights in this one, but Williams put the Jets in control on the third play of the game. It also demonstrated why he is one of the league’s most underappreciated, yet dominant, defensive players.
Lineman Tyler Shatley was bulldozed by the interior defensive lineman, who sacked Lawrence, who fumbled. Carl Lawson recovered and gave the Jets first-and-goal at the Jaguars’ 16-yard line. It led to Greg Zuerlein’s 37-yard field goal, New York’s only score of the game.
Patterson could have defeated the Jets on his own. He was 4-for-5 on field goals in a game with poor kicking conditions. Just before halftime, he missed from 44 yards out.
This week, the Jets included a play package featuring Streveler to emphasise the run game and counteract potentially inclement weather. Streveler made an early appearance with about five minutes remaining in the first quarter, but the play was called back due to a false start.
Streveler took over for Wilson with 3:31 remaining in the third quarter. He made plays with his legs (nine rushes for 54 yards) and passed for 90 yards (10-for-15).