Like the last time these two teams played, the Jets defense set the tone for the game early by pressuring Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and sacking him twice in the first quarter.
“We had a feast out there,” said defensive end Sheldon Richardson, who had a half-sack, three tackles and a one quarterback hit.
After falling behind 7-0 early in the second quarter on a three yard touchdown pass to tight end Rob Gronkowski, the Jets offense responded with a 12 play, 87 yard drive capped off by a 20 yard pass from Geno Smith to tight end Jeff Cumberland.
The Jets threatened again late in the second quarter but were forced to settle for a 26 yard Nick Folk field goal, giving the Jets a 10-7 lead going into halftime.
After stopping the Patriots on their opening drive of the third quarter, the Jets once again had a chance to stomp on the Patriots throats but like the last time these two teams met, and all season, the Jets couldn’t score a touchdown in the red zone and had to settle for three.
“Yeah, he underthrew it,” said Ryan. “Poor throw…that was a big play on their part…that was a big play in the game obviously.”
“I wanted to put air on it (the ball) and lead him (Amaro) out to the sideline,” said Smith of his interception. “I took the hit, I couldn’t see where the ball was going. I just was hoping it fell to the ground and 91 (Jamie Collins) made a good play.”
The Patriots took the lead on a one yard touchdown run by Jonas Gray but replays of the run showed Gray’s knee was clearly down before he crossed the goal line but after reviewing the play, the officials declined to overturn it, giving the Patriots a 17-13 lead.
“Really shocked by that one because his knee was clearly down,” said Ryan of Gray’s touchdown.”
The Jets had a third chance to score a touchdown in the red zone on the ensuing drive but again were unable to punch it in to the end zone. Being unable to convert field goals into touchdowns ultimately came back to haunt the Jets.
“Always comes back to haunt (us),” said Ryan. “Obviously red zone was a critical factor in today’s game.”
“In the red zone again, (we) just had to kick field goals,” said Eric Decker. “Against a good team, you’re not going to win if you’re going to kick that many field goals.”
The Jets had one more chance to take the lead after rookie cornerback Marcus Williams intercepted a pass intended from Brandon LaFell to set the Jets up on New England’s 30-yard line.
But on a third-and-four, Smith took a sack resulting in a ten yard loss making what would have been a short field goal into a 51 yard attempt.
“The guys got me real quick,” said Smith of the sack. “I was bottled up in the pocket, and didn’t have a chance or an outlet to really throw the ball away so I just tried to limit the loss and really just take the sack right there instead of running backwards and losing more yards.”
“You can’t take a sack there,” said Ryan. “I don’t care who is in your face, get rid of the football. You can’t take sacks in those situations. Obviously we botched the end of that as well.”
What Ryan means is after the Smith sack, the Jets inexplicably called a timeout right before Folk attempted the field goal. Folk’s field goal was ultimately partially blocked and the Patriots were able to maintain possession for the rest of the game and come away with the win.
With the Jets now at 3-12, Ryan was asked after the game what he would do differently.
“Everything. We haven’t been good enough. I don’t know what to tell you. I never thought we’d only have three wins but that’s where we’re at.”
NEWS AND NOTES
During the pregame, center Nick Mangold wore an NYPD hat to pay tribute to the two officers who were shot to death in Brooklyn on Saturday.
“Those two officers, it’s a shame. That’s tough. Those guys do a great job. I’ve been here nine years. Every one of those guys that’s out there, they risk their lives every day. They go out there to keep the community safe, and for that to happen to those two guys, their families, that’s a raw deal. If wearing that gives them a little bit of comfort or shows support for those folks, I’m happy to do it.”
During the game Mangold and wide receiver Percy Harvin both left the game due to injuries. Mangold injured his ankle and was carted off the field but Ryan said Mangold’s ankle “doesn’t appear to be broken.”
As for Harvin, he left with a rib injury but the significance of that injury was not revealed.
Linebacker David Harris recorded the 1,000 tackle of his career in the first quarter.