With Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes both at MetLife Stadium on Sunday night, it shockingly was Zach Wilson who was the best quarterback in the building for most of the night.
Wilson was even a bigger star than Taylor Swift, whose presence in a luxury suite added to the big-game feel, for a few hours.
But one mistake from Wilson in the fourth quarter opened the door for Mahomes and the Chiefs to steal a 23-20 victory.
It was a heartbreaking loss for the Jets but they also can take solace knowing that Wilson showed he can be a competent quarterback.
Wilson overcame a slow start and began slinging the football all over the field.
He looked like he was in command and made some beautiful throws.
He brought the Jets back from a 17-0 deficit to tie the game at 20-20 in the second half.
Things unraveled with 7:24 remaining in the game and the Jets trailing 23-20.
On second-and-9 from the Chiefs’ 49, Wilson could not hold onto center Connor McGovern’s shotgun snap and Chiefs defensive tackle Thershawn Wharton recovered the ball at the Jets’ 47.
Mahomes took over from there.
He ran for a first down on a third-and-23 with just over six minutes to play.
He later threw a pretty pass to Travis Kelce for a first down that was wiped out by a holding penalty.
The Jets had their own brutal penalty when a holding call on Sauce Gardner with 4:19 left to play nullified a Michael Carter II interception on third-and-20 and gave the Chiefs a first down.
From there, the Chiefs milked the clock and moved into the red zone.
Mahomes ended the game on a scramble on third-and-8 on the Jets’ 11.
Mahomes broke contain and ran for 9 yards, sliding short of the end zone so the Chiefs could run out the clock.
Wilson completed 28 of 39 passes for 245 yards and two touchdowns.
The 28 completions were a career high.
Mahomes was 18 of 30 for 203 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions.
The loss drops the Jets to 1-3 but they at least looked like a competitive NFL team against the defending Super Bowl champions.
Jets coach Robert Saleh should be able to build off of that as they head to Denver for a game with the 1-3 Broncos next week.
Early in the game it looked like the Chiefs would blow the Jets out.
Kansas City scored on its first three drives and none looked very difficult.
Mahomes found Kelce two times for 29 yards on the eight-play opening drive and Harrison Butker kicked a 37-yard field goal to put the Chiefs up 3-0.
The Jets went three-and-out on their first drive and it felt like it was going to be more of the same from Wilson and the offense.
The Chiefs hit the Jets with a big play to score their first touchdown.
New Jersey’s Isiah Pacheco broke a tackle by Micheal Clemons in the backfield and then raced 48 yards for the touchdown and a 10-0 lead for the Chiefs with 8:32 left in the first quarter.
Chiefs guard Trey Smith threw a huge block on safety Jordan Whitehead that sprung Pacheco loose.
It took a while for the Jets’ offense to find its rhythm. On a third-and-1 in the first quarter, Nathaniel Hackett called a pass that fell incomplete.
Mahomes made the Jets pay with a 34-yard touchdown pass to tight end Noah Gray.
The momentum shifted early in the second quarter when the Chiefs were backed up near their own goal line.
Chiefs right tackle Jawaan Taylor committed a facemask penalty on Jets edge rusher Bryce Huff coming around the edge.
The officials ruled the penalty occurred in the end zone, resulting in a safety.
On the next series, Wilson began to look comfortable and throw it all over the field.
He hit Lazard for 39 yards on a play where he rolled to his right and saw Allen Lazard downfield.
It looked like Wilson could see the field better than he has during any other time in the NFL.
He nearly had Tyler Conklin for a touchdown but Conklin could not pull the ball in and the Jets had to take a 31-yard field goal from Greg Zuerlein to cut the score to 17-5.
The Jets’ defense seemed to flip the switch at the same time as Wilson.
Ashtyn Davis intercepted Mahomes to give the offense the ball at the Chiefs’ 41.
Wilson missed a long touchdown pass to a wide open Garrett Wilson but the Jets still marched down the field in seven plays and Zach Wilson found C.J. Uzomah for a 1-yard touchdown and the score was now 17-12.
Butker made another field goal with 2:15 left in the first half to push the Chiefs’ lead to 20-12.
The Jets drove to the Chiefs 34 before halftime but on fourth-and-1, Saleh decided to try a field goal.
Zuerlein’s 52-yard attempt hit the right upright and gave the Chiefs the ball back with 26 seconds and two timeouts.
But Mahomes threw another interception, this one to C.J. Mosley and the Jets went into halftime down 20-12.
The Jets continued the good vibes to start the second half.
Wilson marched them 75 yards on seven plays and capped it off with a laser of a throw for a 10-yard touchdown to Lazard.
Wilson then broke a few tackles and ran it in for a two-point conversion to tie the game 20-20 with 10:40 left in the third quarter.
The Jets pressured Mahomes all night and put the Chiefs on their heels after their early success.
Kansas City continued to struggle to move the ball in the second half.
The Chiefs did mount a nice drive at the start of the fourth quarter that ended with another Butker field goal to give them back the lead at 23-20 with 10:51 left to play.
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