The New York Jets earned their first win of the Robert Saleh-Zach Wilson era, outlasting the Tennessee Titans, 27-24, in overtime after Randy Bullock missed a field goal that would have tied the game.
For the rookie QB, who'd struggled through his first three games, Sunday's win was a microcosm of what he can be -- a gunslinging demon -- but there are improvements to make to win consistently. Wilson finished 21-of-34 passing for 297 yards, two touchdowns, one interception, and a 97.3 passer rating.
After imploring Wilson to take the "boring" outlet pass at times, Saleh was pleased with the strides he saw from his young QB.
"For Zach, it's just letting the game come to him," Saleh said, via the team's transcript. "He didn't make any mistakes. The interception was unfortunate, but he made the right reads. He put the ball where it needed to be. He was aggressive when he needed to be. Believe it or not, he was boring when he needed to be. Just thought he did a really, really nice job playing this game."
Wilson called it a "rollercoaster" game, which included several splash plays from the rookie. In the third quarter, the QB scrambled out of the pocket and uncorked a 54-yard shot to Keelan Cole that set up a field goal to give Gang Green their first lead of the season. On the next possession, he rolled right, pointed for Corey Davis to go deep and heaved a gorgeous 53-yard TD pass.
"That's like backyard ball," Davis said after his four-catch, 111-yard day in a revenge game against his former club.
It wasn't a perfect day for Wilson, who tossed his eighth INT of the season (second-most for a rookie QB through four games in the last 40 years -- only Peyton Manning's 11 was more). The rookie also missed a couple of chances to close out the game late, including Davis falling on a third-and-10 throw in the fourth quarter before the Titans tied it late and a scramble on the OT drive that lost three yards instead of throwing it away.
"Regardless, I thought he was awesome," Saleh declared.
For Wilson, the good and bad are all part of the NFL learning curve.
"I've got to take advantage of my opportunity to end that game," the rookie said. "I'm excited to go into this week and learn from that. I thought we had a lot of awesome plays, but it really comes down to that crunch time. The NFL's hard. We've got to win that. I'm excited but at the same time I'm beating myself up."
Beating himself up after a win is much more fun than after a loss.