Zach Wilson’s debut took center stage, but the New York Jets should be very pleased by a relentless defensive effort.
The New York Jets welcomed back their fans to MetLife Stadium with a glorious defensive showing and a hint of the future under center.
Zach Wilson had an uneventful yet effective evening on two possessions that ended in opposing territory (6-of-9, 63 yards) while the upgraded pass rush earned five sacks en route to a 12-7 victory over the New York Giants. The resumption of the East Rutherford civil war was the first professional football game staged in front of fans in the tri-state area since February 2020.
Though the Giants did not play a majority of their offensive starters, it’s probably hard for Jets fans not to be enthused by their team’s defensive showing. Gang Green allowed only 163 yards of total offense and 11 first downs. They also allowed the Giants to convert only two third downs in ten attempts.
ESM looks back on the Jets’ preseason triumph, awarding three game balls to the victors…
— NFL (@NFL) August 15, 2021
3rd Star: WR Vyncint Smith
3 receptions, 39 yards
Each of Smith’s receptions (the first being a 12-yard grab from Wilson) led to first downs, but the veteran’s finest weekend contributions might’ve come on special teams. He helped Braden Mann land three of his five punts inside the Giants’ 20, including a tip out of the end zone that pinned Big Blue a yard away from a safety. It’s plays like that that will allow Smith, a third-year Jets, to continue his career in green amidst of a crowded receivers’ picture.
2nd Star: LB Bryce Huff
3 tackles, 2 sacks
The Jets’ offseason obsession with bolstering their pass rush…which was one of the rare silver linings of the woebegone 2020 season…was immediately vindicated through a five-sack showing. That tally was headlined by a pair from Huff, whom some see as a breakout candidate for the Jets after making the most of an unexpected opportunity last season. His first preseason outing made a strong statement and helped make the case that he has a future in New York.
Several unsung rookies appear ready to follow in the undrafted Huff’s footsteps. Hamilcar Rashed Jr. had 1.5 sacks on Saturday night while the team’s final draft pick, Jonathan Marshall, was involved in two, bringing down Clayton Thorson for a safety on the latter. Elsewhere, Hamsah Nasirildeen forced a fumble in the red zone, one recovered by another undrafted breakout, Michael Dwumfour (who shared a sack with Marshall before leaving with a calf injury).
"GET OFF ME"
-Denzel Mims (probably)
— Jets Videos (@snyjets) August 15, 2021
1st Star: WR Denzel Mims
3 receptions, 51 yards
Rumors of Mims’ New York demise appear to be greatly exaggerated. Mims appeared to be a talking point for all the wrong preseason: he barely played in the first half, appearing only in kickoff coverage (sharing a tackle with Javelin Guidry on the opening boot). Granted an extended offensive opportunity in the second half, Mims left a lasting impression.
Mims earned some big yards after the catch and created one of the biggest plays of the infantile preseason on the Jets’ lone touchdown-scoring drive: with New York facing an 18-yard third down in Giants territory, Mims earned 14 yards himself after making the grab from Mike White before dragging about three Giants past the first-down marker. The Jets would take full advantage, punching it on La’Mical Perine’s scoring run three plays later.
The Jets return to action next Saturday night on the road against the Green Bay Packers (4:25 p.m. ET, WLNY/NFL Network)
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMagsÂ