By DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
AP Pro Football Writer
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Trevor Lawrence leaped for a touchdown and the Jacksonville Jaguars continued their push toward the playoffs with their third straight victory, 19-3 over an embarrassed Zach Wilson and the New York Jets on a rainy, windy Thursday night.
The second matchup between last year’s first two draft picks — Lawrence at No. 1 and Wilson No. 2 — wasn’t even close.
Lawrence finished 20 of 31 for 229 yards and ran for 51 yards and the score on seven carries for the Jaguars (7-8), who moved within one-half game of skidding Tennessee in the AFC South. Jacksonville would win the division title with victories in its final two games — including the season finale against the Titans.
While Lawrence sliced through the Jets’ normally strong defense, Wilson couldn’t get anything going and was booed frequently — all the way to the bench. Chris Streveler, elevated from the practice squad before the game, replaced Wilson late in the third quarter.
Wilson went 9 of 18 for 82 yards with an interception and a dismal 41.9 rating for the Jets (7-8), whose playoff hopes took a devastating hit with their fourth straight loss. That’s the worst skid under second-year coach Robert Saleh.
And it came in their regular-season home finale — in front of a national television audience.
Wilson, who returned from a three-game benching last Sunday in place of an injured Mike White, couldn’t make any plays and his offensive line gave him little protection.
Things actually got off to a promising start for the Jets when Quinnen Williams strip-sacked Lawrence on the Jaguars’ third play from scrimmage. Carl Lawson recovered to put New York at Jacksonville’s 16. It was Williams’ career-high 12th sack and Lawrence’s eighth lost fumble, tops in the NFL.
But the Jets couldn’t get into the end zone and settled for a 37-yard field goal from Greg Zuerlein after Andre Cisco sacked Wilson on a safety blitz on third down.
Riley Patterson kicked a 32-yarder to tie it on Jacksonville’s second possession.
Lawrence jumped over the pile for a 1-yard go-ahead touchdown early in the second quarter to cap an impressive 16-play, 96-yard drive. The Jaguars faced just one third down on the drive — on Lawrence’s score. It was Jacksonville’s first scoring drive of 95 yards or more since 2018.
Patterson’s 45-yarder with 2:55 left before halftime extended the Jaguars’ lead to 13-3.
The Jets had just 66 yards of offense in the first half and three first downs. While boos rained down throughout the first half, the poncho-clad crowd really let New York — and Wilson — have it when he was intercepted by Devin Lloyd on a Hail Mary just before halftime.
After Patterson added a 41-yarder midway through the third quarter, Wilson was booed again when he jogged onto the field with the offense. But then, the Jets instead put Streveler in at quarterback — and the fans went wild. And New York’s offense finally found a short-lived spark.
There were cheers after his 30-yard duck of a throw that C.J. Uzomah caught for a first down. The crowd loved Streveler’s consecutive runs of 14, 10 and 8 yards before he was stopped for a 2-yard loss. On fourth-and-4, Streveler completed a 4-yard pass to Garrett Wilson and he led the Jets to the Jaguars 13.
But the drive stalled when his throw to Wilson sailed wide of the receiver, turning the ball over on downs.
Streveler, who went 10 of 15 for 90 yards, became a fan favorite during the summer when he led the Jets to three fourth-quarter comeback victories in the preseason. He also helped lead the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to a Grey Cup victory during the 2019 season, but couldn’t deliver a victory for the Jets in this one.
Instead, Lawrence — who lost 26-21 to Wilson and the Jets last season — and the Jaguars maintained control.
Jaguars: RG Brandon Scherff left in the second quarter with an ankle injury, but returned. … DE Dawuane Smoot appeared to injure his left leg late in the game.
Jaguars: At Houston on Jan. 1.
Jets: At Seattle on Jan. 1.
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