The New York Jets overcame a 17-0 first-quarter deficit to tie up the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs 20-20 in the third quarter on Sunday night.
The Chiefs ultimately won 23-20, after Harrison Butker kicked a 26-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter and Kansas City held onto the ball for the game’s final 7:24 after a costly Zach Wilson fumble gave the Chiefs the ball at the New York 47.
Despite that being the final time Wilson and the Jets touched the ball, New York found its way back into the game after a miserable first quarter behind big plays from both the offense and defense, as well as the beleaguered Wilson, who entered the game facing plenty of criticism.
Wilson completed 28 of 39 passes for 245 yards and two touchdowns in the loss, with a career high QB rating of 105.2.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the reigning NFL MVP, had fewer passing yards (203) and one touchdown to go with two interceptions, while completing 18 of 30 passes. Mahomes, though, converted a pair of third downs on the final drive with his legs to keep New York from getting the ball back.
Mahomes had a message for Wilson after the game.
“Play like that all year,” Mahomes told Wilson in a conversation caught by NBC’s cameras.
Mahomes further expounded on that when asked about what he saw from Wilson, who has struggled to lead the New York offense since taking over after Aaron Rodgers was injured just four plays into the season.
On Sunday morning, The Athletic’s Dianni Russini suggested a change at QB could be coming for the Jets if Wilson didn’t turn things around quickly.
“He played his tail off, he battled. We have a good defense, and he made a lot of big-time throws into the windows and down the field,” Mahomes told NBC in a postgame interview.
Despite the slow start, Wilson helped the Jets climb back into the game by leading the offense on touchdown drives of 41 yards in the second quarter and 75 in the third quarter.
His second-quarter TD pass to C.J. Uzomah made it a 17-12 game, and in the third, Wilson threw a 10-yard touchdown to Allen Lazard, then converted a two-point conversion with his legs to make the score 20-20.
“I’ve watched him since his BYU days, so I was proud of him to go out there and show out. Luckily, we got the win in the end,” Mahomes said.