Foxborough, MA – The Jets came into the game losing four straight to the Patriots. In fact, the last time these two teams met, the Jets embarrassed themselves, giving up three touchdowns in less than a minute. But this time there was hope for a different outcome. Already missing several key offensive contributors, the Patriots added Danny Amendola and Shane Vereen to the injury list. A strong Jets defense could certainly keep this game close.
Fast forward and the defense did just that. They kept the Patriots offense to 13 points, and completely shut them out in the second half. Three of those points came when New England started a drive inside the Jets ten yard line. Brady failed to complete 50 percent of his passes for the first time since 2009. The Pats only gained 54 yards on the ground for a 2.3 yards per carry average, and went 4-18 on third down. But the Jets could only muster 10 points, losing when Geno Smith threw his third interception of the day to seal the 13-10 loss.
But this loss can’t squarely be placed on Smith. The first turnover of the game was on Stephen Hill who was careless with the ball and fumbled, a turnover that set that Pats field goal up to make the game 10-0. Both Hill and Clyde Gates had some forgettable plays. Gates only caught two of the eight passes he was targeted on, which included some bad drops. It was expected Smith would struggle in his second NFL start, but the guys around him let him down.
There was some good news for the offense. Vladimir Ducasse had a good game for the Jets, a week after struggling badly enough to hear calls for the rookie Brian Winters to replace him. The running game rebounded as well, adding 129 yards with a 4 yards per carry average. And Chris Ivory showed the bruising power the Jets expected when they traded for him.
This is a tough loss. The Patriots were vulnerable and this game was definitely winnable. Smith was picked off on three of the four Jet drives in the fourth quarter, and the first one came with the Jets on the New England 27 yard line. Worse, both Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson left the game early. Richardson’s injury didn’t seem serious, but losing either one would be a blow. It also doesn’t help that both Willie Colon and D’Brickashaw Ferguson were ejected following a scuffle that occurred after the last pick, and they might be facing a suspension.
No one wants to hear a silver-lining with the season only two games old. 2-0 and first place in the AFC East was in the Jets grasp. More importantly it would’ve been a road win against a team, a coach, and a quarterback that has dominated the division in the last decade.
But let me try my best to give you one. The defense looked phenomenal for the second straight week. The running game came to life today, and Chris Ivory was a big part of that. Santonio Holmes looked good for playing on a short week. Sure Geno made mistakes, but it was his second career game. He also showed a lot of positives. Next week the Jets host the Bills, who have their own rookie quarterback. A win and the Jets will be 2-1, and the good vibes will be flowing once again.