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Jets HC Robert Saleh: QB Zach Wilson 'outstanding' in successful return to starting lineup

Following the third benching of his career, Zach Wilson found some semblance of redemption, returning to lead the New York Jets to a 30-6 win over the Houston Texans.

"The second half, I thought Zach probably played the best game of his career," coach Robert Saleh said, via the Associated Press. "I thought he was outstanding today."

After banishment to third-string the past two games, Wilson looked uneven again through two quarters, as the game went into halftime scoreless. But in the second half, the 24-year-old quarterback finally showed the upside that once made him the No. 2 overall pick.

"I mean, he balled, man," Garrett Wilson said after a nine-catch, 108-yard performance. "Zach went crazy today."

Wilson finished with 301 yards on 27 of 36 passing with two touchdowns. It was his first 300-plus-yard of the season, third for his career. In the second half, he earned 209 of those yards on 18-of-21 passing. Sunday marked just Wilson's second career game with two-plus pass TDs and zero interceptions.

The QB played loose in the second half after fear of the mistake characterized his play this season.

"As a coach, you're always like, 'Don't throw those,'" Wilson said, via ESPN. "Sometimes they go the other way. So, for me, it's throw it when you believe it's there, trust in it. Sometimes bad plays are going to happen, but you're going to have to trust in those and let it rip. It's part of football."

The shift in mentality and more wide-open play-calling from Nathaniel Hackett helped unlock Wilson in the second half. Teammates noticed the quarterback's frame of mind change entering this week.

"He told me, 'I'm playing for y'all. I've got nothing to lose,'" cornerback D.J. Reed said. "He said, 'What's the worst that can happen, I get benched again?' That's what he said and that's the way he played. It showed."

"He said it early this week: F it. Go out there and have some fun. Leave it all out there," guard Laken Tomlinson said.

We've seen flashes from Wilson in the past -- i.e., the Chiefs game -- but he's immediately regressed. The question for the final four weeks is whether Wilson will continue to play loose with a nothing-to-lose mentality or the issues that have plagued his career.

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