The auditions for a backup quarterback have come to an end for the Jets. Now it's up to coach Todd Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan to make the final call.
Matt Flynn and Josh Johnson impressed in a 24-18 win over the Eagles in Thursday night's preseason finale at MetLife Stadium. Flynn, who played the entire first half, threw two touchdown passes, including an 18-yarder to Chris Owusu in the first quarter. He completed 10 of 14 for 136 yards with an interception. The newly signed Johnson was 7-for-12 for 82 yards and gained 76 yards on seven carries.
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"I thought they both came in and did a good job,'' Bowles said. "Matt made a heck of a throw on the touchdown play; put touch on it, which is hard to do because we ran it a couple times in a row. He threw the ball to the sideline pretty well. Josh came in, you know him, he can always run. But he threw some good passes as well.''
The Jets have until 4 p.m. Saturday to get down to 53 players. Not surprisingly, Bowles refused to tip his hand.
"They all did some good things. So that'll be tough,'' he said of whittling his active roster. "We've got some tough decisions tonight, and when we know, you'll know.''
During CBS' broadcast, Maccagnan said he and Bowles "are a team'' who will collectively decide whom to cut. He agreed the decisions will be difficult.
The Jets' backups finally got their chance to shine, and Owusu and Zac Stacy took advantage of the opportunity.
Stacy, behind Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell on the depth chart, caught a 5-yard TD pass and had 68 yards on 20 carries. Owusu, fighting for a spot in a crowded receiving corps, caught a perfectly thrown TD pass from Flynn. Owusu had five catches for 72 yards.
"I didn't look at it as 'I've gotta go play well to make the team,' '' Flynn said. "I hadn't been out on the field in a long time. I tried to soak it all in and enjoy it.''
Another player on the bubble, Walter Powell, returned a kick 57 yards, but he also was flagged twice for offensive pass interference on one drive.
Former Jets quarterback Tim Tebow provided much of the Eagles' offense. The former Heisman Trophy winner is battling Matt Barkley (4-for-9, 45 yards, interception) for a job behind starter Sam Bradford and former Jet Mark Sanchez.
Tebow pulled Philly within 17-12 on an 18-yard TD pass over cornerback Dexter McDougle and made an impressive 45-yard throw to Freddie Martino. But his fourth-down pass was intercepted by cornerback Darrin Walls, his second pick of the night.
As Jets owner Woody Johnson famously said in 2012: "You can never have enough Tebow.'' And that was proved true this time, as Tebow refused to be denied until the very end. He escaped pressure and threw another TD pass, a 9-yarder accentuated by Martino's impressive body control and toe drag.
"We won, it went well,'' Johnson said. "That's the most important thing. We were able to put a lot of drives together. We got a nice comfortable lead and were able to close it out.''