After losing two consecutive games on the road and four of its last six overall, Gang Green was looking to get out of its funk against a red-hot Lions team.
The Jets playoff hopes took a hit in their first home game in three weeks.
Lions (7-7) defeated the Jets (7-7) on a sunny, 40-degree day at MetLife Stadium.
Sunday marked the return of quarterback Zach Wilson, who started in his first game in a month after he was benched for Mike White following the Jets’ loss to the Patriots on Nov. 20. Doctors didn’t clear White after injuring his ribs in the 20-12 loss to the Bills last weekend.
Wilson had his best first half of the season against the Lions. He completed 8-of-14 passes for 185 yards and a touchdown. However, in the second half, Wilson threw his first interception of the game, which turned into three points for the Lions.
The Jets benched Wilson because they wanted him to give him a “reset” so he could work on his mechanics with the hopes of him starting again this season.
However, for most of the second half, Wilson looked like the quarterback who completed 9-of-22 passes for 78 yards in the 10-3 loss against the Patriots a month ago. Wilson finished the game 18-of-35 for 317 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
The Jets were also without defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, who has 11 sacks on the season, due to a calf injury sustained in the Week 14 loss against the Bills. In his absence, the Jets defense didn’t allow a touchdown in the first half. However, a busted coverage on fourth down with less than two minutes left in the game allowed the Lions to take a three-point lead and the win.
Detroit drove the ball right down the field to the one-yard line on the game’s first drive. But the Jets and linebacker Quincy Williams provided a goal-line stand on fourth down, which kept the Lions out of the end zone.
Following a three-and-out by the Jets’ offense, the Lions got the ball right back and scored a touchdown on former Jet Kalif Raymond’s 47-yard punt return, which made the score 7-0.
Gang Green got on the board at the beginning of the second quarter. First, Wilson completed a 33-yard pass to Garrett Wilson, which put the team at the Lions’ 40-yard line. Immediately following that, Wilson threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to C.J. Uzomah that tied the game and brought a roar to the crowd at MetLife Stadium.
A little past the midway point of the second quarter, the Lions retook the lead, 10-7, after Michael Badgley’s 31-yard field goal.
The Jets tied the game up, 10-10, at halftime after a 50-yard pass to Jeff Smith, which put them in Lions’ territory. Greg Zuerlein then converted a 34-yard field goal.
Gang Green got the ball after halftime, but Wilson threw an interception to Jerry Jacobs as he returned it to the Jets’ 15-yard line. Detroit got three points off the turnover as Badgley’s 34-yarder gave the team a 13-10 lead early in the third quarter.
Neither team did much offensively in the third quarter as Wilson struggled with accuracy, to the displeasure of Jets fans, who booed the team’s offense multiple times.
But finally, the Jets got their offense in gear after Badgley’s 54-yard field goal was no good. Wilson completed a 33-yard pass to Wilson, which put the Jets on the 21-yard line. Five plays later, Wilson completed a one-yard touchdown to Uzomah, giving the Jets a 17-13 lead with 4:41 left in the fourth quarter.
With two minutes left in the game, the Jets defense had a chance to end the game on 4th and 1 as the Lions had the ball on their 49-yard line. But Jared Goff completed a 51-yard touchdown pass to Brock Wright, giving Detroit a 20-17 lead with 1:49 left.
Wilson and the Jets had one last opportunity to tie or take the lead before the end of regulation. But Zuerlein’s 57-yard field goal was no good.
The Jets will return to the field four days from now as they will host the Jaguars in their final home game of the season. The Lions will be on the road next weekend as they will play the Panthers at Bank of America Stadium.