Delayed a half-hour by lightning storms, the New York Jets’ preseason finale in East Rutherford was dominated by reserves.
Thunder and lightning on and off the MetLife Stadium turf defined the New York Jets’ 2021 preseason finale.
East Rutherford rains pushed back the opening kickoff of the Jets’ resumed summer series against the Philadelphia Eagles, as the team met annually in their respective final exhibition game since 2001 before the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted the proceedings last year. Two late hook-ups between James Morgan and Kenny Yeboah allowed the Jets to erase a late deficit and force a 31-31 tie on Friday night.
New York (2-0-1) and Philadelphia (0-2-1) mostly played their reserves after heavy precipitation delayed kickoff by a half-hour. Jets quarterback Zach Wilson was among the many held out.
ESM has three game balls from Friday’s unusual showdown…
- RB Josh Adams: 12 carries, 62 yards, 3 receptions, 17 yards
- QB James Morgan: 13-of-23, 158 yards, 2 touchdowns
- WR Jeff Smith: 3 carries, 44 yards, 2 receptions, 16 yards
- WR Lawrence Cager: 3 receptions, 21 yards, 1 touchdown
- WR Vyncint Smith: 2 receptions, 32 yards
- S J.T. Hassell: 4 tackles, 1 sack
- P Braden Mann: 3 punts, 51.3 average
Well lookie here … Kenny Yeboah answers the preseason prayer. Jets line up to go for the obvious 2-pt attempt. pic.twitter.com/1Ff3WLvuKI
— Robby Sabo (@RobbySabo) August 28, 2021
3rd Star: TE Kenny Yeboah
4 receptions, 100 yards, 2 TD
With Tyler Kroft sitting out (perhaps solidifying his status as the Jets’ top tight end) and the Chris Herndon/Daniel Brown tandem struggling, Yeboah capitalized on an opportunity by becoming an eternal legend of New York summer lore. He got open over the middle for a score in the third quarter to reduce the Jets’ deficit to one before hauling in the Morgan miracle. With major questions surrounding the Jets’ veteran tight ends beyond Kroft, it’ll be interesting to see if Friday’s standout performance was enough for Yeboah to carve out a year-long role on the team through either an active roster or practice squad spot.
— NFL (@NFL) August 28, 2021
2nd Star: QB Josh Johnson
7-of-8, 73 yards, 1 TD
Jets fans who braved the rain to see the only sanctioned home game of the preseason were probably disappointed that they didn’t get to see new franchise man Zach Wilson. Johnson did what he could to make up for the loss of aerial antics and gave the Jets a quarterback quandary over the next few weeks. The Jets scored on two of Johnson’s three possessions, the first capped off by a short scoring hookup on fourth down with Lawrence Cager. Friday’s snaps were Johnson’s first of the preseason, as Mike White has taken a majority of the post-Wilson throws. White didn’t play on Friday night; it was vague as to whether was part of the Jets’ roster locks or the aftermath from taking several hits against Green Bay last weekend. Johnson certainly gave the Jets something to think about as Week 1 looms.
TY JOHNSON DELIVERING PUNISHMENT 💪💪💪💪
📺 WCBS/nyjets.com/Jets app pic.twitter.com/MyrMLSltNg
— New York Jets (@nyjets) August 28, 2021
1st Star: RB Ty Johnson
13 carries, 53 yards, 1 TD
Thanks to Marvel, pondering the question of “What If…?” has become a national pastime of sorts. One such quandary from Jets fans could center around the hypotheticals of Ty Johnson getting the lion’s share of the rushing attempts instead of giving Frank Gore a farewell tour in green. It probably wouldn’t have shifted the Jets’ standing in…well, the standings…but run game clarity could’ve been gained. All signs currently point to veteran newcomer Tevin Coleman being the top back. Coleman has taken minimal snaps during the preseason but is still listed at the top of the Jets’ current depth chart. Many expect freshman Michael Carter (7 carries, 12 yards) to over at some point this season. But Johnson (108 yards on 28 carries behind an offensive line that was never at full strength) is making his case to be a premier back, once again taking advantage of the opportunities afforded to him like he did last season. The Jets also can’t forget Josh Adams, who wound up leading the team in rushing on Friday night as a major contributor to the Jets’ comeback effort.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags