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Jets 26, Jaguars 21: Preseason In December

Syndication: The Record Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

The New York Jets defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 26 - 21 in one of the worst and most meaningless NFL games you’re likely to see.

This was effectively a preseason game in December. Meaningless game where the outcome doesn’t much matter? Check. Hyper-aggressive, what the hell kind of decisions on fourth down? Check. Sloppy play all around? Check. Inability to game plan with players you’ve barely met? Check. A bunch of players auditioning for jobs? Check. Can’t tell the players without a scorecard? Check.

Frankly, there’s precious little to take from a game like this. If you’re on Team Tank then you come away disappointed. If you’re on Team Just Win Baby, you’re happy. But in the long run there is no more to take away from this than there is from your typical preseason contest. What can you say about plays being made by players who won’t be on an NFL roster next year? What insight can we glean from such plays? Not much. So I’ll keep this relatively short.

The Good

The offensive line, without both starting guards, protected Zach Wilson reasonably well and opened up holes all day for the running game. As a result the Jets ran for more yards than they have all season. Good job, even if it was against a ragged Jaguars defense.

Michael Carter. He rushed for 118 yards and 7.4 yards per carry. Carter is looking good as the Jets best back.

Braxton Berrios. He had a kickoff return for a touchdown and led all Jets receivers with five receptions for 37 yards. Without Berrios and Carter the Jets lose this game.

Conor McDermott. Any time an offensive lineman catches a touchdown pass it’s freakin’ awesome.

Zach Wilson. This wasn’t the breakout performance we hope for, but Wilson avoided turnovers and for the most part made good decisions. He had a scintillating 52 yard scramble for a touchdown and a late touchdown pass to McDermott. While Wilson’s 102 yards passing left something to be desired, his 91 yards rushing made up for the lack of fireworks in the passing game, and in the end he made the plays the Jets needed for the win. It wasn’t great, but it was good enough.

Ron Middleton. He was hyper-aggressive on 4th down, and it was great to see. Sure, for the most part the strategy failed. But with the Jets just playing out the string, hey, why not? At least it was entertaining. I think more NFL teams should be doing this, especially once the playoffs are no longer a consideration.

The Bad

Denzel Mims. Another game, another disappearance. His future with the Jets does not look promising.

Keelan Cole. The Jets need him to step up with their top receivers out. He has not stepped up.

The defense was down a bunch of players, so there’s not much to take from this performance, but as they have all year, they allowed long scoring drives almost every time the opponent got the ball. There was no pass rush to speak of, the secondary continually allowed third down conversions, and the run defense was ineffective as usual, even after James Robinson left the game with an injury. This doesn’t have much significance going forward, as the players the Jets ran out there were mostly backups and practice squad dudes, but it was not a great day for the defense. I guess we have to acknowledge at least they held on to seal the win on 4th and goal at the one yard line. Special mention goes out to Brandin Echols, who had a long pass interference penalty impersonating Kyle Wilson and a later defensive holding penalty.

The pass rush was nonexistent, but what can we expect when the Jets were missing basically all of their best defensive linemen?

I’ll end this here. I just can’t get too invested in analyzing a preseason game in December.

Please let us know your own views of the good and the bad of this game in the comments.