Jets vs. Jaguars score, takeaways: Trevor Lawrence bests benched Zach Wilson as Jacksonville wins third in row
Jacksonville dominated New York on 'Thursday Night Football,' and is closing in on the AFC South
The Jacksonville Jaguars won their third straight game in Week 16, as they downed the New York Jets in rainy MetLife Stadium, 19-3. The Jets scored the first points of the game, but it was all Jacksonville after that. Trevor Lawrence and Co. reeled off 19 straight points, leading to Zach Wilson's benching in the third quarter. He was replaced by Chris Streveler.
Thursday night was truly a disaster for New York. Wilson struggled to complete passes, the Jets' lead rusher, Zonovan Knight, recorded -2 yards on six carries and the defense had a hard time stopping the Jaguars offense all night long. Wilson was benched for Streveler on the third drive of the second half, and the practice-squader gave the Jets offense an instant boost -- picking up four first downs on a drive that ended on downs at the Jaguars' 13-yard line. Prior to that possession, New York had recorded just three first downs all game. However, the QB change did not result in any points, as the switch was made too late.
Wilson finished with 92 passing yards and one interception. Streveler threw for 90 yards, but rushed for 54. Michael Carter was the Jets leading receiver with five catches for 44 yards.
Lawrence completed 20 of 31 passes for 229 yards. He was also effective on the ground, rushing for 51 yards and one touchdown on seven carries. His Clemson teammate had a solid game as well, as Travis Etienne rushed 22 times for 83 yards. Evan Engram recorded his second 100-yard performance in the last three games, as the former New York Giant caught seven passes for 113 yards.
This was an important victory for the Jaguars, as their seven wins now tie the Tennessee Titans in the AFC South. Jacksonville controls its own destiny with two weeks remaining in the regular season, and sportsbooks believe Doug Pederson's squad will indeed finish this run with their first division title since 2017. Let's take a look at what went down in New Jersey Thursday night.
Why the Jaguars won
While Lawrence fumbled away possession on Jacksonville's first drive, the Jaguars looked like the better team from that point on. Jacksonville then put together a 10-play, 61-yard drive which ended with a field goal, then Lawrence led the offense on a statement 16-play, 96-yard drive that was capped by the lone touchdown of the game -- a 1-yard rush by Lawrence. The Jags then went eight plays, 61 yards and scored a field goal on their next possession. The 13 points scored in the first half were more than the Jaguars needed to win this one.
Jacksonville's offense did a great job stringing together long drives despite the windy, rainy conditions. They racked up 365 yards of total offense, won the time of possession battle, the turnover battle and didn't commit a penalty until the second half. Put simply, the Jaguars took care of business.
Why the Jets lost
I can't imagine what New York sports radio is going to be like on Friday morning. Wilson has received an extraordinary amount of hate this season. Is a lot of it warranted? Sure. He's inaccurate, he struggles with simple throws, he hasn't shown much improvement and then of course his comments after the New England Patriots loss rubbed people the wrong way. Wilson was again bad on Thursday night. He missed throws, couldn't move the chains and the only Jets points of the first half came thanks to a short field that was gifted via turnover.
Getting behind the sticks was a big problem. On New York's second drive of the game, a false start dropped the Jets back to second-and-12. They weren't able to recover. On the third drive of the night, Knight was dropped for a loss of seven yards, and the Jets offense followed that play up with a false start. That gave New York a second-and-21, and again, the offense was unable to recover.
Wilson deserves blame for this loss, but he is far from the only reason why New York fell to 7-8. The Jets' identity this season has been their defense. That defense did not show up on Thursday night. Etienne rushed for 83 yards, Lawrence had his second-best rushing day on the season with 51 yards and Engram torched the Jets defensive backs. Allowing a 16-play, 96-yard touchdown drive is not something this Jets defense normally does. New York's offense and defense performed poorly on Thursday night.
When Streveler entered the game, the energy completely changed. Fans were cheering instead of booing, players were celebrating first downs and it almost looked like the Jaguars defense was playing on its heels for a bit. That first drive for the backup quarterback ended up being New York's best, as the Jets went 73 yards down the field on 16 plays before the possession ended on fourth-and-2 at the Jaguars' 13-yard line, when the quarterback failed to hook up with Garrett Wilson. If the Jets had scored points on that possession down 13, we would have had a game.
Play of the game
A forced fumble with a foot? That's what the Jaguars did with just over four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, as Foye Oluokun kicked the ball out of Garrett Wilson's hands! This was New York's second turnover of the game.
The Jaguars will hit the road again next week, and face the rival Houston Texans on Sunday. As for the Jets, they will travel west for a date with the Seattle Seahawks.
Remember, Streveler was the comeback legend in the preseason. Down 13 points with 5:26 remaining.
Drive finally ends at the Jaguars' 13-yard line, on downs. 16 plays, 73 yards. Easily the best drive the Jets had all night. How do the Jets have three QBs on roster that have looked better than their No. 2 overall pick?
The Jets have picked up four first downs on this drive. They have seven all game.
Streveler is running HARD on these read options. 39 yards on five carries. Leads all Jets in rushing. New York approaching the red zone.
Streveler hits a wide-open C.J. Uzomah for a gain of 30 yards. It was very under-thrown, but caught!
It looks like Streveler has replaced Zach Wilson at QB.
Jaguars commit back-to-back penalties after not committing a penalty the entire first half!
Once again, the Jaguars are waltzing down the field. Evan Engram just burned Sauce Gardner. How? He's now over 100 yards receiving.
Jets go three-and-out on their first drive of the second half. Wilson missed Corey Davis high on third-and-1. What's worse is that it looked like he could have run for the first down.
HALFTIME: Jaguars 13, Jets 3
1st downs: JAX 13 NYJ 3
Third downs: JAX 4-8 NYJ 1-6
Total yards: JAX 251 NYJ 66
Penalties: JAX 0-0 NYJ 4-19
TOP: JAX 20:11 NYJ 9:49
Trevor Lawrence 11/16 147 yards
Zach Wilson 7/14 78 yards 1 INT
Travis Etienne: 17 for 64 yard
Jets RBs: 4 carries for 3 yards
Evan Engram 5 catches for 83 yards
The rain looks like it's really coming down now.
More points for the Jaguars. Eight plays, 61 yards and a 45-yard field goal. Pretty impressive from Riley Patterson with this swirling wind.
13-3 Jaguars with 2:55 remaining in the second quarter.
After that 36-yard catch and run, Evan Engram is up to 77 yards on four catches.
The Jets' big problem so far tonight is them getting behind the sticks. On the second drive, they had a false start that pushed the offense back to second-and-12. They weren't able to recover. On the third drive, Knight was dropped for a loss of seven yards, and the Jets offense followed that up with a false start. That gave New York a second-and-21, and again, the Jets were unable to recover.
A seven-yard loss from Knight and then a false start. Second-and-21. I don't want to speak too soon, but this Jets drive may be over.
Trevor Lawrence punches it in himself from one yard out. Caps a 16-play, 96-yard drive. Really felt like a statement possession. Lawrence is playing well. Zach Wilson has more pressure on him now.
Brandon Scherff is down and laying awkwardly. Looks like a right knee. He was questionable to play tonight. Jaguars already down on the offensive line.
Jaguars now at the two-yard line. New left tackle Walker Little had a nice block in space for Etienne -- who has 11 carries already!
First quarter ends with a 13-yard run from Trevor Lawrence. Game tied at 3 apiece. Jaguars look like the better team thus far, but they have to finish in the red zone. Let's see if they can get there on this possession.
Etienne comes out and he looks injured. Not sure if it's serious or not. But that would be a huge loss for Jacksonville.
Looks like a right shoulder.
Jets go six plays, 28 yards and punt. Zach Wilson missed badly on a curl route to Garrett Wilson. He's been hearing it from the home fans tonight. Not good for a kid who potentially has some confidence issues.
He gets in! But Jets false start.
Goodness. Tyler Conklin was WIDE open. Takes a 7-yard pass for a gain of 27 on third-and-7!
Jaguars answer the Jets FG with a FG of their own. 32 yards from Riley Patterson. Caps a 10-play, 61-yard drive. Lawrence got just three yards on a read option on second down, and then missed Christian Kirk on third down.