The New York Jets' thrilling victory against the Washington Commanders came by the skin of their teeth, as backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett did an unexpectedly tremendous job of putting out the fires that young scattershot passer Sam Howell created.
Even as the losses piled up and Howell, who now leads the NFL in interceptions with 17, continued to make more head-scratching plays, Ron Rivera stuck by him. He reached a breaking point against the Jets, benching Howell for the second consecutive game after a terrible performance.
The Jets' lockdown defense forced Howell into two more interceptions, completing just six of his 22 passes before Brissett came in into the game. The Howell experiment has come to an end, it seems, as Rivera announced Brissett will start in their next game against the 49ers.
Even though Robert Saleh and the Jets don't have much to play for, they are still capable of making professional quarterbacks look absolutely silly. The defense beat up Howell so badly that they may have ended whatever lingering thoughts of Howell being the team's franchise quarterback still were percolating around.
NY Jets may have ended Sam Howell's career with Washington Commanders
While Trevor Siemian, Breece Hall, and the offense did have one of their best games of the season, they were being put in quite advantageous situations by the defense. Howell's early struggles led to some very short fields that Siemian cashed into points.
The same playbook the Jets used to "embarrass" the elite quarterbacks they played before Howell worked well once again. Sauce Gardner and DJ Reed were suffocating on the outside, which led to Howell holding the ball. With a terrible offensive line before him, the Jets' defensive front went to work.
The Commanders could be in the market for a veteran quarterback in the offseason, as names like Justin Fields and Ryan Tannehill could become available. Washington also has the No. 3 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, which means they might select either Caleb Williams or Drake Maye.
Doing so would not only end the Howell era and help whichever coach gets hired to replace Rivera start their era out with a bang, but it could also prevent the Patriots, picking No. 4 overall at this moment in time, from landing either Maye or Williams to begin their next half-decade off on the right foot.
And to think some Jets fans were upset at that win.