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Zach Wilson wins his first game as an NFL starting QB in thrilling fashion

The New York Jets rookie and former BYU football star helped lead a rally as N.Y. edged the Tennessee Titans in overtime

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New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) takes the field to face the Tennessee Titans.

New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) takes the field to face the Tennessee Titans during an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J.

Adam Hunger, Associated Press

Former BYU quarterback Zach Wilson has his first win with the New York Jets. It took overtime to make it happen.

The Jets rallied to defeat the Tennessee Titans 27-24 on Sunday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and the rookie helped lead the charge.

Wilson and the Jets overcame a slow start, as he completed 21 of 34 passes for 297 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in the extra-session win. 

New York received the ball first in overtime, and with a touchdown would have walked off with a win. The Jets instead got a field goal — a 22-yarder from Matt Amendola with 4:31 left in OT — and converted three third downs on a 13-play, 71-yard drive that nearly ended in the end zone but still gave Tennessee’s offense the chance to win the game.

Wilson sparked the drive by connecting with Keelan Cole for a 29-yard pass to the Tennessee 27 on a third-and-2. Three plays later, Wilson threw to Jamison Crowder for an 11-yard gain on third down to set up a first-and-goal at the 9.

New York eventually had to settle for the field goal after reaching the 1, and a designed Wilson run on third down turned into a 3-yard loss. 

That left it up to the New York defense to force a stop to win. The Titans converted a fourth-and-1 with a Derrick Henry 13-yard run to their own 47, only to face another fourth down moments later and have Henry again pick up the needed yardage at the New York 43 with under a minute to play. 

Eventually, Tennessee set itself up for a 49-yard field goal attempt from Randy Bullock, but Bullock pushed the attempt wide left, and the Jets had their first win of the season. 

Overtime was set up by a fourth quarter full of offensive fireworks. 

The Titans went ahead 17-10 on a Henry 1-yard touchdown run, along with a two-point conversion, with 13:14 left in the game. The Jets responded, though, with a pair of quick touchdown drives to take the lead. 

And in the process, Wilson showed off the arm strength that made him the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft.

On the first drive, Corey Davis drew a pass interference penalty that moved the ball to the Tennessee 34. Two plays later, Wilson overcame a fumbled snap, rolled left and hit Crowder for a 29-yard pass to the Titans 5. 

Wilson and Crowder again connected for a 3-yard touchdown pass two plays later, and it was a tie game.

Tennessee’s next possession went three-and-out, and following an 18-yard punt return, the Jets were in solid position at their own 47.

Wilson struck quickly, rolling out of the pocket to his right on the first play of the drive, then showing his arm strength with a 53-yard touchdown dart to Davis for the 24-17 lead.

The Titans, though, had a rally of their own. Tennessee drove 74 yards in 11 plays and tied the game at 24-all with 16 seconds remaining in regulation when Ryan Tannehill connected with Cameron Batson for a 2-yard touchdown pass.

It looked bleak again early for Wilson and New York, who had scored only 20 points total in the team’s first three games of the season, all losses. Tennessee scored three field goals on its first three possessions, and Wilson threw an early interception. 

After that interception, though, Wilson led an 11-play, 75-yard drive that ended with fellow rookie Michael Carter scoring on a 2-yard run in the second quarter. Amendola then gave the Jets their first lead of the season with a 27-yard field goal with 19 seconds left in the third quarter, a drive sparked by another long Wilson throw, this one 54 yards to Cole.