Wilson throws 2 TD passes as Jets beat Packers 23-14

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Zach Wilson directed three scoring drives and threw his first two touchdown passes of the preseason in the New York Jets' 23-14 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Saturday.

Wilson went 9 of 11 for 128 yards, including a pair of 18-yard scores to Tyler Kroft, to continue an encouraging preseason for the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft.

Facing a Green Bay defense that rested most of its starters, Wilson led the Jets to two TDs and a field goal in his four series. The only Wilson-led drive that didn’t result in points came when the Jets opted to punt on fourth-and-1 from their own 49-yard line.

This represented a clear step forward for Wilson, who went 6 of 9 for 63 yards last week in a 12-7 preseason victory over the New Yok Giants. In that game, Wilson operated two drives that produced three points.

Corey Davis caught four passes from Wilson for 70 yards. Davis signed a three-contract with the Jets worth $37.5 million after spending his first four seasons with Tennessee.

The Packers didn’t play reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers or backup quarterback Jordan Love, who hurt his throwing shoulder last week while making his pro debut in a 26-7 preseason loss to the Houston Texans.

That left Green Bay relying on Kurt Benkert, who made his first NFL start since the Atlanta Falcons’ fourth and final preseason game in 2018.

Benkert played all but the last Packers series and went 18 of 25 for 151 yards with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Jace Sternberger and an interception. He engineered a 19-play, 81-yard touchdown drive that lasted over 10 minutes.

RESTING PACKERS

The Packers didn’t dress 32 players for Saturday’s game, including nearly all their regulars. They had sat out 30 players in their preseason opener with Houston a week earlier.

One of the few regulars who played was linebacker Krys Barnes, who made a stop on third-and-1 to thwart a Jets drive.

COSTLY WEEK FOR JETS

The injuries continue piling up for the Jets, who held two joint practices with the Packers here this week before Saturday’s exhibition game.

Defensive end Carl Lawson ruptured his Achilles tendon and backup safety Zane Lewis injured his knee in Thursday’s practice, knocking both players out for the rest of the season. Backup offensive lineman Conor McDermott was carted off the field Saturday with a knee injury, and linebacker Jarrad Davis hurt his ankle.

Jets backup quarterback Mike White left with a rib injury late in the third quarter.

HILL SCORES AGAIN

Green Bay’s Kylin Hill, a rookie seventh-round pick from Mississippi State, moved closer to securing a spot on the roster as the Packers’ No. 3 running back. One week after turning a short completion into a 22-yard touchdown, Hill reached the end zone again on a 12-yard run.

Hill is competing for the No. 3 running back spot with Patrick Taylor and Dexter Williams. Taylor lost a fumble in the third quarter.

PACKERS’ GUARD ROTATION

One of the Packers’ main preseason competitions involves filling the two guard spots, assuming Pro Bowl left guard Elgton Jenkins must step in for injured All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari to start the season.

Green Bay opened Saturday’s game with Jon Runyan Jr. at left guard and rookie fourth-round pick Royce Newman at right guard. Lucas Patrick, who started 11 games at right guard and four at left guard, played center and guard later in the day but committed two holding penalties.

ODDS AND ENDS

Corey Ballentine had a 73-yard kickoff return to set up a Jets touchdown. ... Green Bay's T.J. Slaton and New York's J.T. Hassell recorded sacks. ... Ammendola was 3 of 3 on field-goal attempts with kicks of 30 and 46 yards to go along with his 54-yarder. ... Green Bay's Reggie Begelton had a 28-yard punt return. ... New York's Brandin Echols and Lamar Jackson intercepted passes.

UP NEXT

Jets: Wrap up the preseason schedule with their first home game next Friday against Philadelphia.

Packers: Head to Buffalo to face the Bills next Saturday.

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More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Steve Megargee, The Associated Press

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