Zach Wilson leads Jets to 30-6 win over Texans in return. C.J. Stroud leaves late with a concussion

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New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) celebrates after a touchdown against the Houston Texans during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. (John Munson/AP Photo)

By DENNIS WASZAK Jr. | AP Pro Football Writer

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Zach Wilson threw a pair of second-half touchdown passes in his return from a two-game benching, New York shut down C.J. Stroud before Houston’s star rookie quarterback left late with a concussion and the Jets ended a five-game losing streak with a 30-6 victory over the Texans on Sunday.

Wilson was 27 of 36 for 301 yards — his third career game of 300 or more yards — in easily his best performance of the season after sitting in favor of the since-waived Tim Boyle.

Breece Hall and Randall Cobb caught touchdown passes and Xavier Gipson ran for a score for the Jets (5-8), who reached 30 points for just the second time this season and first since beating Denver 31-21 in Week 5.

Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) steps back to pass against the New York Jets during the first quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. (Adam Hunger/AP Photo)

Stroud left with 6:30 remaining when he was hit by Quinnen Williams, fell backward and his head appeared to bounce off the MetLife Stadium turf. He was examined briefly on the sideline before he walked to the locker room. The Texans announced Stroud was done for the game and Davis Mills replaced him.

Stroud, who came in leading the NFL in yards passing, was unable to do much against an aggressive Jets defense. He was just 10 of 23 for a season-low 91 yards before leaving with the head injury. The Texans (7-6) finished with just 135 total yards and went 1 for 12 on third down.

Now, they’ll have to see if Stroud will be ready for next Sunday’s game against AFC South-rival Tennessee.

The Jets finally broke through in the scoreless game on their opening drive of the second half when Wilson found Cobb for a 15-yard touchdown.

New York Jets tight end Jeremy Ruckert (89) reacts during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. (Adam Hunger/AP Photo)

The suddenly TD-happy Jets struck again on their next drive with Gipson taking a handoff from Wilson and zipping into the end zone for a 9-yard score that made it 14-0 — New York’s largest lead of the season to that point — with 4:31 left in the third quarter.

New York was driving again on its next possession, but Wilson scrambled for 11 yards before Christian Harris knocked the ball out of the quarterback’s hands and Khalil Davis recovered.

Stroud and the Texans took advantage, quickly moving downfield on passes of 26 yards to Andrew Beck and 23 to Brevin Jordan. A pass interference call on Tony Adams in the end zone put the ball at the 1 and Devin Singletary ran up the middle for a touchdown.

Matt Ammendola missed the extra point, leaving the Jets leading 14-6 heading into the fourth quarter.

Houston Texans safety Jimmie Ward (1) and cornerback Desmond King II (25) scramble after a fumbled ball during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. (Adam Hunger/AP Photo)

Wilson and the Jets bounced back from the turnover by marching down the field on their next possession, capped by a wide-open Hall taking a pass 3 yards for a touchdown to make it 21-6 with 9:27 remaining.

Greg Zuerlein kicked a 51-yard field goal through the rain drops to put New York up 24-6. He added kicks of 55 and 44 yards to cap the scoring.


Neither team could get anything going in the first half in the driving rain, the first time there was a scoreless first two quarters since San Francisco beat Washington 9-0 in Week 7 of the 2019 season.

It was the first time the Texans played in a scoreless first half, and the first for the Jets since Week 4 in 2007 in a 17-14 loss to Buffalo.

The teams combined for 11 punts — six by Houston, five by New York — and just 10 first downs — five by each.


With Houston already playing without WR Tank Dell (broken leg), WR Nico Collins went out early with an injured calf. … Texans CB Tavierre Thomas and LB Blake Cashman had hamstring injuries in the first half and didn’t return. … Houston rookie DE Will Anderson had an ankle injury in the fourth quarter.


Texans: Travel to Tennessee to take on the Titans next Sunday.

Jets: Head to Miami to face the AFC East-rival Dolphins next Sunday.