FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The stage was set for Nick Folk to work his magic once again.
On first-and-10 at their own 12, the Jets had just 1:06 to get to within range of the uprights. The problem is, they had no timeouts.
Folk did get his chance, but his 58-yard attempt was blocked by Chris Jones as time expired, sealing a 27-25 win for the Patriots Thursday night.
Thanks to Folk, the Jets scored on all of their first-half drives -- four field goals. He connected from 22, 47 and 46 and 27 yards.
But if the Jets wanted to beat the Patriots, they needed touchdowns, not field goals. The problem with the Jets has always been clear: Even when they get decent quarterback play, their defense gives way. And when their overworked defense has the wherewithal to stuff opponents, their momentum is easily undone by inexcusable penalties.
The same was true last night, when a winnable game against their most hated rivals slipped through their fingers. The Jets entered Gillette Stadium desperate for a win, but instead left the field having lost their sixth straight to fall to 1-6.
They tried to claw their way back with a late touchdown, courtesy of Jeff Cumberland's 10-yard catch. But it wasn't enough.
The Jets' brain trust suffered the ultimate scare when Geno Smith lay near the end zone, writhing in pain after his left leg got twisted up in the third quarter. Smith was tended to on the field by the Jets medical staff for a few minutes before jogging gingerly off the field. Michael Vick hurried to find his helmet and trotted onto the field. But his appearance was brief.
Smith (20-for-34, 226 yards, 1 TD) returned after missing one play. And despite the pain, he led his team downfield and threw the TD pass to Cumberland, which pulled the Jets to within 27-25. But they failed to convert the two-point conversion when Smith overthrew rookie tight end Jace Amaro in the back of the end zone.
Tom Brady completed 20 of 37 passes for 261 yards and three touchdowns, including a 19-yarder to Danny Amendola that gave the Patriots the lead for good with a little under eight minutes left in the game.
The Jets' rushing attack got going early as the team finally unleashed the beast that is Chris Ivory. The bruising back rushed for 107 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries.
Ivory spent most of the evening bowling over Patriots defenders. He recorded his 100th rushing yard minutes into the third quarter, and it didn't take long before he found the end zone. And with Sheldon Richardson -- their star defensive tackle making a rare appearance on offense -- clearing the way as a fullback, Ivory had plenty of room to elevate over the crowd and across the goal.
Ivory's 1-yard TD run gave the Jets a 19-17 lead in the third quarter. The Patriots went ahead 20-19 on a 36-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski.
Behind Smith's solid play and Ivory's violent running style, the Jets had a chance to pull off the upset. But as the third quarter waned on, Ivory stood on the sideline. And it's no coincidence that the Jets' offense stalled in his absence.
Rex Ryan's defense committed its first major blunder just 1:29 into the game, resulting in an easy Pats score. On second-and-7 from the Jets' 49, Ryan rushed three, which forced Brady to roll to his right. But Jets cornerback Phillip Adams allowed Shane Vereen to run by him as safety Antonio Allen inexplicably ran forward, which allowed Vereen to sprint toward the end zone before leaping to make the 49-yard TD catch.
Ryan's defense settled down from there, however, forcing the two straight three-and-outs. And while they were stuffing Brady's offense, Folk was putting the Jets on the board. But in the end, with a chance to win it from 58 yards out, the kicker couldn't put them ahead.