Foxborough, MA – What was a bad season for the New York Jets ended on the lowest of notes, a 26-6 defeat at the hands of divisional-rivals New England Patriots.
The Patriots dominated the Jets from the opening kickoff. Dion Lewis led the way offensively as he rushed for 25 yards. Helping him out through the air was Danny Amendola, who caught four passes for 43 yards. The 5 and a half minute drive was capped off by Lewis, who ran three yards into the end zone for a touchdown. The Jets put together their own drive down the field late in the first quarter, thanks to Bryce Petty finding Jermaine Kearse for 22 yards then Neal Sterling for 15 yards and also Bilal Powell for rushing for 24 yards. The drive stalled out at the Patriots’ 30-yard-line, forcing the Jets to settle for a three points by Chandler Cantanzaro. The first quarter ended with New England out front, 7-3.
The defense for both teams were doing their jobs, forcing the offenses to go three-and-out, leaving some to wonder who would blink first. It was the Jets who blinked, as the Patriots put together a four minute, 23 second drive, capping off with Brady connecting with Brandin Cooks for a 5-yard touchdown. The pass was Brady’s 550th career touchdown. It only got worse for the Jets before halftime as the Patriots drove down the field again and with 20 seconds left, Lewis rushed into the end zone for his second score of the game. The Jets headed into the locker room down 21-3.
The biggest improvement for the Jets was defense in the second half, limiting the Patriots to three offensive points, a 21-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski with just over a minute and a half to go in the third quarter. But the offense couldn’t make similar adjustments, as they went three-and-out on five straights drives. A safety in the fourth quarter summarized how discombobulated the offense was not only throughout the game, but throughout the season as well.
The Jets (5-11) will get ready for the off-season, potentially make some new additions to the team.
The Patriots (13-3) have a first-round bye and will wait to see who they host in the AFC Divisional Game.
- It was a disappointing way to end the season, but considering how many experts projected the Jets to be winless, this isn’t an all-around bad season for the Jets. They won five games and grew their young talent at safety and wide receiver. The future has the potential to be great for New York, but only if they continue to develop Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye, Robby Anderson, and Leonard Williams.
- Penalties have been an issue for the Jets all season, and today was no different. Four Patriot drives could’ve ended on third down, but defensive pass interference and holding penalties by the secondary extended the drives. The offense had some penalties called on them as well, but the defensive penalties are what killed their chances. There’s nothing wrong with being aggressive in coverage, but if you’re constantly being flagged for holding or interference, then you need to dial it down some. If one or two of those penalties hadn’t been called, the game would’ve been a lot closer.
- Petty didn’t take advantage of the snaps he played in the last month. There were flashes of Petty’s ability, but the Jets want consistency, and Petty didn’t prove he had consistency. Hackenberg didn’t get a chance during the regular season, but management clearly didn’t have any faith in him to put him behind center. At this point, the Jets will likely move on from both quarterbacks and either add someone from free agency or the NFL Draft. As for Josh McCown, the Jets got the best season out of him, so let’s hope they learned from the Fitzpatrick mistake and let McCown go or sign him for less.
- Third downs were the achilles heel for the Jets. They couldn’t convert on third downs, going 0-12. Head coach Todd Bowles acknowledged his offense’s struggles on third. “Couldn’t get going. We couldn’t get going, they switched up some coverages on us. They did a good job defensively.” Third downs are crucial during games. A conversion can build momentum for the offense, but a stop can boost the other team’s confidence. Whatever Bowles needs to do to fix that, he better do it.
- Bilal Powell turned a disappointing performance after last week, when he rushed for over 100 yards against the Chargers. His longest run came in the first quarter, a 24-yard run that set up a Jets field goal. After that, Powell only had 22 yards on the ground. With Forte out with an injury, this was an opportunity for him and Elijah McGuire to prove one of them was the running back that would lead the Jets, and neither Powell nor McGuire capitalized. Looks like the Jets will continue their three running-back system next year.