Jets tight end coach Ron Middleton Credit: Bill Moore photo

The New York Jets have been one of the most interesting stories to follow in the NFL. There was a lot of hype surrounding the 2021 No. 2 overall NFL Draft pick, quarterback Zach Wilson, who they hope can develop into a cornerstone of the team for years to come. However, some mid-season injuries, including a sprained PCL in his right knee, hindered what many thought Wilson would be able to bring to the table. Sunday afternoon, he showed that there is still major upside for a franchise that is having another losing season. The Jets have not had a winning season since 2015.

Under the direction of tight ends coach Ron Middleton, a former longtime Jacksonville Jaguars assistant filling in for head coach Robert Saleh, who was in the NFL’s health and safety protocols due to testing positive for COVID, the Jets (4-11) were able to pick up their fourth win of the season, their third at home, taking down the Jaguars 26-21 at MetLife Stadium. Granted, the 2-13 Jags have the worst record in the league, but it was important for the Jets to break a three-game losing streak.

Wilson had two touchdowns, one rushing and one passing. The highlight reel play was a 52-yard scamper in the first quarter in which he eluded numerous defenders. “It was the longest touchdown run probably in my whole life, too,” Wilson said, smiling. His run and the Jets’ win emphasize the importance of ball security and minimizing mistakes. The team has a distinct bad habit of sabotaging their own chances of winning weekly with both. They did not turn the ball over against the Jaguars, and Wilson was sacked only once. Staying in front of the chains and limiting turnovers is a recipe for success week in and week out.

“It was just the culmination of the week, everybody being professional, everybody going about their job with all the adversity,” said Middleton. The 56-year-old native of Atmore, Alabama, who played tight-end at Auburn was awarded the game ball by the team in the locker room after the victory.

Another key for the Jets is their rushing attack, which has steadily improved. New York recorded 273 yards on the ground against Jacksonville, which helped keep opposing quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the No. 1 selection in last April’s draft, off the field. Both Michael Carter and Tevin Coleman have provided a much-needed punch in the Jets’ run game. Carter tallied 118 yards rushing versus the Jaguars and looks to continue that momentum when the Jets face the 11-4 defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the road this Sunday.

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