Any goodwill earned from a promising finish down in Charlotte in Week 1 evaporated in a flash on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium as the New York Jets were thumped by the New England Patriots 25-6 to drop to 0-2 on the season.
The growing pains that are bound to linger around rookie quarterback Zach Wilson were in full force against a fellow rookie quarterback in New England’s Mac Jones. Wilson completed just 19-of-33 passes for 210 yards and four interceptions — three of them coming in the first half to immediately put the Jets behind the proverbial eight-ball.
After forcing a Patriots punt on their opening drive, Wilson gave the visitors the ball right back as his first pass of the day over the middle intended for Corey Davis was tipped and intercepted by J.C. Jackson to give New England possession on the Jets’ 35-yard-line. The Jets’ defense would hold, though, forcing the Patriots to settle for a 46-yard Nick Folk field goal to open the scoring with 4:46 to go in the first quarter.
Any good feelings created by the defense evaporated when Wilson was picked off on his second attempt — a rollout to the right that sailed high and through the hands of Davis that settled into the arms of Adrian Phillips at the Patriots’ 28-yard-line.
This time, the Patriots made the Jets pay as they marched 72 yards in six plays to make it a 10-0 game as James White scrambled in from seven yards out.
After the Jets went back to the run game to stabilize the offense, Wilson hit his first completion of the day early in the second quarter, finding a wide-open Elijah Moore down the left sideline for 27 yards to bring New York deep into Patriots territory.
It was the only pass play of the drive that the Jets called, but good enough to get them on the board with a field goal after the drive stalled on New England’s 2-yard-line.
The Jets continued wrestling away momentum from the Patriots after sacking Jones twice — via John Franklin-Myers and Sheldon Rankins — to coax a quick three-and-out.
Jones played the role of game manager on Sunday, completing 22-of-30 attempts for 186 yards without a touchdown or interception.
Back to the ground game, the Jets drove down to the Patriots’ 28-yard-line, but Wilson’s struggles struck again as his pass down the right sideline intended for Moore was picked off by Jackson to continue the rookie’s nightmare start.
The Jets’ defense continued to limit the damage, however, allowing just a field goal at the end of the first half to put them down 10 at the break.
The deficit only grew to start the second half as Damien Harris took on the entire Jets defense to rumble in from 26 yards out to put the Patriots up 19-3. The score came after Wilson was picked off for a fourth time as he tried to go back for Moore on a deep route on a 2nd-&-28. The problem was that Patriots defender Devin McCourty was closer to the pass than anyone for the easy interception.
Jets ineptitude further continued as the day grew older. A 53-yard missed field goal was followed by a turnover on downs shortly after another Folk field goal made it 22-3 New England.
The Patriots would tack on another pair of field goals to put the finishing touches on a dominating day over the minnows of the AFC East — a familiar result over the last two decades.