After three weeks on the sidelines with a groin injury, Jamison Crowder made his presence felt in his season debut on Sunday.
The veteran wideout racked up 61 receiving yards, hauling in seven passes—including one touchdown catch—in the win over Tennessee.
"He’s a baller," rookie quarterback Zach Wilson said after the 27-24 win in overtime. "I’m glad we have him back."
While Wilson stole the show with his off-script plays, flashing his rocket for an arm with a handful of bombs down the field, a few plays to Crowder over the course of the game were crucial in New York's first win of the season.
Two plays before Wilson found Crowder in the end zone, the two connected on a miraculous 29-yard gain. After fumbling the snap and snatching the football from the turf in one fluid motion, Wilson dropped back to his left, keeping his eyes down the field.
Rather than panicking after the mishap at the line, Wilson delivered a pretty ball to the near sideline, finding Crowder in stride while the wideout had two Titans defenders in pursuit.
Wilson recalled after the game that he knew Crowder was going to be open on the play. That pre-snap excitement could've been the culprit for the fumble at the line of scrimmage, wanting to get ready to deliver the pass as quick as possible.
"We had checked to our second play and I was like, ‘Dude, this is going to be huge,’" Wilson said. "I knew J-Mo was going to be open and the center said I probably pulled out a little early right there, but the second that ball was on the ground I was trying to pick it up as quick as I could and get my eyes around."
That pitch and catch was a precursor to Wilson's first touchdown pass of the afternoon, finding Crowder on an out route in the end zone from three yards out.
It wasn't the perfect pass—Wilson could've led him more to the sideline—but the pair got the job done nonetheless.
The touchdown pass to Crowder tied the game at 17, recapturing momentum after Tennessee had marched down the field in their previous drive.
Fast forward into overtime, and that's where Crowder made another huge play. Head coach Robert Saleh referenced a third-down conversion where Wilson hit Crowder for 11 yards, taking New York's offense down to the nine yard line.
"You guys saw it. He’s a security blanket," Saleh told reporters on Sunday. "I thought [that play] was going to end up getting us that win. He’s a reliable one-on-one separator. When you have one of those security blankets and you know where he’s going to be, those guys are priceless."
Crowder wound up with fewer yards than both Keelan Cole (92) and top receiver Corey Davis—who totaled 111 receiving yards on four catches against his former team—but he did exactly what he set out to do in his first game of the year. That's serve as a reliable target for Wilson and help this team secure a victory.
"Jamison was a huge piece in today's win," Davis said. "For him to come back and handle business like he did was huge for us. We're happy to have him."