Jets blow big lead but beat Commanders on last second field goal
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Trevor Siemian was able to laugh a little and let out a sigh of relief. And then the Jets quarterback perfectly summed up New York's nail-biter of a win.
“Oh, man, it was freakin' fun, man,” Siemian said after a 30-28 victory over the Washington Commanders on Sunday. “It was fun, it wasn't fun and then it was fun again.”
Greg Zuerlein kicked a 54-yard field goal with 5 seconds left, rescuing the Jets from what would have been an embarrassing loss after they blew a 20-point third-quarter lead and needed to come back to beat the Commanders.
“It wasn’t necessarily complacency or anything," Jets coach Robert Saleh said. "It was just, the momentum shifted and we couldn’t grab it.”
Jacoby Brissett replaced the benched Sam Howell in the third quarter and led the Commanders on three straight touchdown drives, including Antonio Gibson’s 2-yard run that put Washington ahead 28-27 with 4:52 remaining.
After the Jets (6-9) held Brissett and the Commanders to a three-and-out, they got the ball back with 1:41 remaining. Siemian marched New York into field goal range and Zuerlein booted the game-winner.
“GZ, he never misses,” running back Breece Hall said of Zuerlein, who's 30 of 31 on field goal attempts this season. “I wasn't surprised at all. Literally, as they snapped the ball, I was already walking onto the field ready to shake everybody's hands because I knew he was going to make it.”
It was the second win in eight games for the Jets, and it came hours after owner Woody Johnson told the New York Post he was bringing back Saleh and general manager Joe Douglas next year.
Siemian finished 27 of 49 for 217 yards with a touchdown pass and an interception in his first start in place of the injured Zach Wilson. Hall ran for 95 yards and two TDs and caught 12 passes for 96 yards in the home finale for New York.
Brissett was 10 of 13 for 100 yards and a touchdown in relief of Howell, who was benched for the second straight game. Howell was 6 of 22 for 56 yards and two interceptions with a 1.7 rating for the Commanders (4-11), who have dropped six straight.
“We didn’t help him early,” coach Ron Rivera said of Howell. “We dropped a couple of balls that we probably should have caught. Your confidence sometimes can get shaken. That’s what I started to feel in the second half and I was really concerned. That’s why I made the decision that I did.”
Chris Rodriguez had two touchdown runs for Washington, which looked to be out of it early before Brissett led an impressive comeback.
“For me, it’s just about going out there and playing football," Brissett said, "what I know how to do best and put our team in the best position possible.”
Rivera said he'd decide on a starter for the Commanders' next game against San Francisco early in the week.
In a matchup of the Commanders' 32nd-ranked defense against the Jets’ NFL-worst offense, New York gained the upper hand early.
New York took a 3-0 lead just two minutes in on Zuerlein's 25-yarder after Tony Adams intercepted Howell. It was Howell's NFL-leading 16th interception.
The Jets got another takeaway on the Commanders' next drive when Jermaine Johnson blocked Tress Way's punt. New York got the ball at Washington's 9 and Siemian found undrafted rookie Jason Brownlee, for an 8-yard touchdown — the first score of Brownlee's career — to take a 10-0 lead.
It was the Jets' second touchdown in the opening quarter this season, and they weren't done.
After New York forced a three-and-out and Washington was penalized for an illegal touch on its punt, the Jets started their third straight drive in Commanders territory. On second down, Hall took the handoff from Siemian and zipped into the end zone for a 36-yard touchdown to make it 17-0.
Washington benefited from its own takeaway late in the second half when Siemian couldn't handle Joe Tippmann's high snap and Casey Toohill recovered. Rodriguez ran for about 7 yards and then was helped the next 5 yards into the end zone by a scrum of Commanders for his first career TD to make it 20-7.
Hall gave the Jets a 20-point lead again with a 2-yard touchdown run.
But then came Washington's comeback.
Brissett replaced Howell and promptly led a scoring drive, connecting with Logan Thomas for a 15-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to 27-14.
Rodriguez ran from 1 yard out with 9:33 left to make it 27-21.
Commanders: Rivera said Rodriguez rolled an ankle late and is “probably going to be sore the next couple of days.” ... RT Andrew Wylie hyperextended an elbow in the first half. ... CB Benjamin St-Juste suffered a concussion in the third quarter.
Jets: TE Jeremy Ruckert was ruled out in the third quarter with a concussion.
Commanders: Host San Francisco next Sunday.
Jets: At Cleveland on Thursday night.
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