By Brian Costello
CLEVELAND — Garrett Wilson was on the sideline hoping for another chance.
The Jets rookie wide receiver had played a strong game, scoring his first touchdown and making several other key plays against the Browns on Sunday. But on third-and-4 with 7:54 left in the game and the Jets down by a touchdown, Wilson dropped a pass from Joe Flacco that would have been a first down.
The Jets then went three-and-out on their next series and Wilson watched the Browns go up 30-17 with 1:55 left. A Corey Davis 66-yard touchdown set up an onside kick, which the Jets recovered, and no one was happier than Wilson.
“I went absolutely crazy on the sideline,” Wilson said. “I didn’t want my drop to be the reason we lost the game.”
Instead, Wilson caught the game-winning touchdown pass, a 15-yarder from Flacco with 22 seconds to play. Wilson went from potential goat to hero that quickly.
“He’s got grit,” Jets coach Robert Saleh said. “He is a dynamic football player. We all know that. He is still trying to find his footing. The sky is the limit. I thought he did a really nice job today. Obviously, he has a couple things that he needs to clean up, especially there in the fourth quarter, but again he showed resolve. He got that big touchdown at the end. He’s going to be a stud for a long time.”
Wilson finished with eight catches for 102 yards and two touchdowns. He scored the Jets’ first touchdown and last touchdown in the 31-30 win. He showed how dynamic he can be as a route runner and his ability to go up and get the ball.
The No. 10-overall pick had a major impact on his second professional game, a potential sign of things to come.
“Garrett’s a playmaker,” veteran linebacker C.J. Mosley said. “When the ball’s in his hands you don’t know what’s going to happen. He’s going to make his moves. He’s going to do something. It was fun to see. He’s been grinding in practice. He’s been grinding all camp, all offseason. It was cool to see those plays pay off for him.”
Wilson’s role in the first game of the season was small and the Jets coaches admitted he should have played more. He had just six snaps in the first half against the Ravens. This week, he was a huge part of the game plan.
“I just wanted to take my mindset in practice and they know how I go about preparation,” Wilson said. “Throughout the week, it kind of just happened. You get a little bit more balls, you kind of start to realize. No, they never came up to me. They did not need to. I’m a team player, I want to win, and I trust my coaches to do whatever it takes to get to that point.”