EAST RUTHERFORD — The more things change, the more they stay the same. For the New York Jets, the nightmare that has been their rivalry with the New England Patriots only got worse Sunday afternoon.
New York’s offense was lifeless for a majority of the contest, and Mac Jones made enough throws to position the Patriots to a 15-10 victory over Gang Green in a wet and windy Week 3 contest.
“We just have to keep working. Obviously not good enough overall. Again, third downs, couldn’t run the ball…overall it just wasn’t good enough from coaching to players to all of it,” Jets head coach Robert Saleh said.
New England struck quickly in the first half with two scoring drives in the pouring rain due to Tropical Storm Ophelia. An opening drive field goal was followed later by a 58-yard touchdown from Jones to Pharaoh Brown. The 10-0 lead was answered before the half by a Jets field goal, but the ineptitude from their own offense sunk them the rest of the way.
“The mistakes like on the TD can’t happen. I thought they did a good job in the second half locking it down,” explained Saleh. The Jets coach did not specify where the breakdown in coverage happened, but only that the play was unacceptable.
New York would tally a late touchdown in the fourth quarter when Nick Bawden scored his first of the season on a fullback run from the one. His score cut the deficit to a measly field goal and gave the mostly silent MetLife Stadium crowd more life late in the contest.
A third-down stop gave Gang Green’s offense an opportunity to win the game with 2:51 left, but a first-down holding call from rookie Joe Tippmann and a safety from Matthew Judon sunk the offense. After the defense gave the ball back AGAIN, the offense couldn’t convert on two separate chances to win the game.
“We didn’t do anything on offense. We have to sustain drives, stay on the field, a lot of frustration for everyone…it starts with me, I have to be better,” Wilson said after the loss.
The Jets went under a series of changes along the offensive line before kickoff. Mekhi Becton moved from right to left tackle due to the injury to Duane Brown. Alijah Vera-Tucker moved to right tackle while second-round rookie Joe Tippmann recorded his first NFL start at right guard.
When they needed to step up, the new look line crumbled in the clutch. It also didn’t help that their quarterback did them little favors either.
In his second start of the season, Zach Wilson struggled to dissect the complex defense that Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick had for him. In the first half alone, the Jets recorded just three first downs while Wilson completed under 50% of his passes. Those struggles persisted in the second half where poor execution met poor play-calling.
Wilson finished the day just 18/35 passing for 157 yards. He took three sacks at inopportune times including the safety which ended any hope of a W.
New York (1-2) will face the Kansas City Chiefs at MetLife Stadium at MetLife Stadium for Sunday Night Football next week.
- The Jets had focused all week on improving their third-down play but failed once again at executing. New York was a measly 1/8 on offense in the first half while the Patriots were 6/10. Gang Green recorded just three first downs in the first half. While the Jets’ defense improved in the second half, the offense failed to record a third-down conversion for the rest of the game.
- A big thorn in the Jets’ defensive side was running back Ezekiel Elliott. The former Cowboy ran for over five yards a carry with just 16 touches.
- Frustration seemed to boil over on the sideline for New York late in the game. It appeared Michael Carter and running back coach Taylor Embree got into a shouting match in which Carter had to be restrained. After the game Carter said that there was no issue with his coach and that “emotions ran high.”