East Rutherford, NJ – Started the season as a tight end and was promoted to the first round out of necessity following a trade for TJ Hockenson.
He had 25 catches in 23 professional games going into Sunday, and when Jared Goff looked his way into the first play of the biggest series in… Detroit LionsOn the season, he let a pass slip through his hands.
But with their playoff hopes on the line yet another moment, the Lions called up Brock Wright’s number again, and the big tight end ran out in deliriously unexpected fashion.
Wright recorded a 51-yard catch and run on fourth-and-one with 1:49 to play as the Lions continued their improbable drive to a wild spot with a 20-17 come-from-behind win over the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium.
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“I thought it was a great call,” said Goff. “He’s a No. 2 in progression, and he gave it back to him and completely replaced himself with that play earlier in the drive. He’s a lot faster than people know. I think he ran a 4.6 40 or something, but he can roll and so when I got to him in the open there I’m like, “He might score.” And he, too.
A Wright touchdown capped a wild fourth quarter that saw the Lions win by a 13-10 lead after a missed 54-yard field goal.
The Jets scored the final touchdown seven plays later, then had a chance to tie the game on a long fourth down conversion after a TD run by Wright but missed a 58-yard field goal left.
The Lions improved to 7-7 with the win, their third in a row and sixth in seven games, to move within a game of last place for the NFC wild cards, pending the outcome of Sunday night’s New York Giants-Washington Commanders game.
The Lions have three games left against teams with a record under . 500 — at the Carolina Panthers next week, at home against the Chicago Bears in Week 17 and at the Green Bay Packers to close out the regular season — and a 41% chance of making it. playoffs, according to FiveThirtyEight.com.
“You can’t walk away from winning, not in the league,” said Lions coach Dan Campbell. “And I told our guys, No one knows that better than us. I mean, we’re not going to talk trash about winning. A win is a win and we’ll take that because we earned it. Our guys earned it.”
In a two-team battle for the playoff bubble, the Lions dominated play for most of Sunday, holding the Jets (7-7) to three first downs on their first four possessions in the second half before giving New York’s offense a risky life. The field goal attempt was reminiscent of the kick they missed in September’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
In Week 3, Campbell picked a 54-yard field goal attempt on fourth-and-four with 1:14 remaining. Austin Seibert fumbled the kick, and the Vikings scored the winning touchdown three plays later.
On Sunday, Badgley missed a 54-yard field goal on fourth-and-five with 7:57 remaining, and the Jets began gaining possession at their own 44-yard line.
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Zach Wilson, in his first start since being benched after a 77-yard day in a Week 11 loss to the New England Patriots, completed a 33-yard pass to Jarrett Wilson on the second play of the series, then threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to CJ Uzomah with 4:41 to play.
“This was one of those,” said Campbell, “a tough decision one way or another.” “Because I really did, I wanted to.” We had just thrown the ball, but it just didn’t work out. It is incomplete, you may have to throw it again. And we were just on the sidelines. We were so close to where I felt good about Badgley. It was on this line, and so I took a shot and it just didn’t work. It didn’t work. But that was the bottom line if you’re going to kick it a little bit longer, you’re going to want to go in that direction.”
The Lions answered the Jets’ touchdown drive with one of their own. D’Andre Swft ran for 8 yards, Goff completed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Amon-Ra St. Louis. Brown. Justin Jackson ran for 4 yards. And Calif Raymond caught a short pass for another 5.
On the first play after the two-minute warning, the Lions lined up a run with Jackson in the backfield and three receivers split near the line of scrimmage. St. Brown pointed right, Goff faked a handoff to Jackson, and Wright, tied to the right side of the line, sold a block on Jets defensive lineman Jermaine Johnson that seeped into the left flat on his own for an easy catch.
With no Jets defender 15 yards out, Wright sprinted down the sideline, caught a block from Josh Reynolds at the 10 and cut it into the end zone.
He said he told himself after landing to “reset and finish” and make the most of any opportunity that came his way again.
“I didn’t have my best foot, of course,” Wright said. So many plays I want to take back like I said two minutes ago, but I was telling myself I finished the play and we managed to get the win. I think that’s the most important thing.”
The Jets converted 3rd-and-19 and 4th-18 on their final drive, and Wilson hit Elijah Moore on a 20-yard pass with one second on the clock to set up a game-tying field goal attempt, but Greg Zuerlein pushed his kick well left, sending New York to a third loss Straight.
Goff finished 23-for-38 passing for 252 yards for the Lions, who got two field goals from Badgley and a 47-yard touchdown return from Raymond to build a 13–10 lead in the fourth quarter.
A Raymond touchdown, the Lions’ first kickoff return score since 2020, came after the Lions were stopped at their own 1-yard line on their opening series, then forced the Jets to punt out of the end zone.
Wilson was 18-for-35 passing with two touchdowns and one interception for the Jets, who managed to rush for just 50 yards on 22 carries.
A Wilson interception on the opening drive of the second half marked Badgley’s second field goal.
“I think that’s part of the maturation process,” Campbell said. “Growth, everything. I don’t know if we would have made these plays earlier in the year. It would have gone the other way. It just shows we’ve become more mature. We become more disciplined in critical moments. That’s the big one.”
This article originally appeared on the Detroit Free Press: How TE Brock Wright completely redeemed himself to lead the Detroit Lions