NFL Wire News

Same old song as Jets lose close one to Patriots


The Sports Xchange

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — New coach. New approach. Same ol’ result.

Todd Bowles’ New York Jets suffered the same fate Sunday against Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots as Rex Ryan’s Jets … and Eric Mangini’s Jets … and Herm Edwards’ Jets … as the Patriots came back from a pair of deficits to beat the Jets, 30-23, and once again assert themselves as the team to beat in the AFC East.

The Jets are 10-23 against the Patriots since Belichick bolted the Jets after one day as the “HC of the NYJ” for suburban Boston prior to the 2000 season. Ten of those losses have been by a touchdown or less, including the last four.

“I’m pissed, because I felt like we had them,” a visibly furious guard Willie Colon said Sunday afternoon. “I feel like we were the better team out there, but obviously we weren’t.”

The Jets are 1-4 in their last five games against the Patriots, during which New England’s point differential is a mere plus-10.

“It’s tough to keep swallowing this pill,” Colon said.

Now the job for Bowles is to ensure the sour taste doesn’t accompany the Jets across the country into a game Sunday afternoon against the suddenly relevant Oakland Raiders. For all the peaks and valleys the Jets traveled under the emotional Ryan, they were 7-5 following Patriots games – a far better winning percentage (.583) than the team’s overall record under Ryan (46-50, .476).

Despite the loss Sunday, the Jets (4-2) still lead the AFC wild-card race. But the Jets and Raiders (3-3) are two of the five non-division leaders in the AFC with three or four wins, so Sunday’s game could have major postseason tiebreaker implications come January.

“It’s one game, we’re going to move on, we’re going to get ready for the next game and get ready for Oakland,” Bowles said Sunday. “We should be upset we lost. Show me a good loser, I’ll show you a loser.

“We’re going to stew over it for a night. (Monday) we’re going to get ready for Oakland.”


–PASSING OFFENSE: C. Bill Belichick did Bill Belichick things by taking away RB Chris Ivory and forcing the Jets to try and win on the right arm of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (22-of-39, 295 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions), who played error-free ball after fumbling the second snap of the game deep in Jets territory. Fitzpatrick displayed his usual toughness in absorbing plenty of punishment, but being under a constant state of siege resulted in plenty of passes tipped at the line of scrimmage. He was also done no favors by WR Brandon Marshall (four catches for 67 yards), who punctuated his quietest game of the year with an odious drop in the end zone that would have given the Jets an eight-point lead early in the fourth quarter. Marshall was also flagged for a false start with one second left that ended the Jets’ last-ditch comeback attempt. WR Eric Decker (six catches for 94 yards) looked healthy and WR Jeremy Kerley (three catches for 27 yards and one touchdown) had a role despite the presence of WRs Chris Owusu and Devin Smith. Ivory proved capable of a bigger passing down role by catching a nine-yard touchdown pass.

–RUSHING OFFENSE: D. Belichick figured out a way to completely negate Ivory (17 carries for 41 yards), who missed a handful of series in the first quarter with a tight hamstring. Ivory’s longest rush was for seven yards and he averaged just 1.4 yards after contact, which was his lowest figure since the Patriots contained him in Week 7 of the 2013 season. The Jets seemed to miss passing down back Bilal Powell, who was inactive due to an ankle injury. Backup RB Zac Stacy (seven carries for 19 yards) may be in danger of losing his roster spot when Stevan Ridley is ready to come off the PUP list.

–PASS DEFENSE: C-minus. Some teams don’t even try to challenge the Jets in the air. Then there’s the Patriots, who completely ignored the run and still feasted on the Jets’ vaunted secondary. The Jets got plenty of pressure on QB Tom Brady (34-of-54 for 355 yards and two touchdowns), but didn’t hit him nearly as much in the second half as in the first, when he absorbed three of his four sacks. With plenty of time to throw, Brady carved up the Jets during a second half in which he was 21-of-30, including 16-of-20 after the Patriots’ first possession. It could have been worse: WR Brandon LaFell, making his season debut, dropped a whopping six passes while WR Danny Amendola beat CB Darrelle Revis in the third quarter yet dropped an easy touchdown pass. With S Calvin Pryor (ankle) limited early in the third quarter, TE Rob Gronkowski collected 108 yards on a career-high 11 catches, including a game-clinching 15-yard touchdown reception with 1:13 left.

–RUN DEFENSE: A. Or is it an INC? The Patriots rushed just 10 times for 16 yards. Their longest gain was an 11-yard scramble by Brady. The Patriots passed on 90.9 percent of their snaps, the most by a team in the last 10 seasons. Good for the Jets’ seasonal statistics against the run, but Belichick, as usual, got the last laugh.

–SPECIAL TEAMS: B. The Jets gave themselves a chance to overcome a 10-point deficit in the final minute, when K Nick Folk nailed a 55-yard field goal before Marshall recovered an onside kick. Folk converted all three field-goal attempts and sent four of his five kickoffs into the end zone. The Jets might have been better off having Folk punt, too: Of the four punts by P Steve Weatherford, signed Saturday after Ryan Quigley was sidelined with an infected shin, two traveled fewer than 35 yards. Owusu averaged 29 yards on two kickoff returns while Kerley had one punt return for six yards.

–COACHING: B-minus. Head coach Todd Bowles did a good job of getting the Jets prepared for the Patriots without treating it like the Super Bowl. Alas, he evoked images of Herm Edwards with some questionable clock management down the stretch, when the Jets didn’t use any of their timeouts during a final drive by the Patriots that ended with Gronkowski’s touchdown catch. Offensive coordinator Chan Gailey found a good balance between trying to establish the run with Ivory without playing entirely into Belichick’s hands by throwing on every down. Defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers drew up a good game plan but got beaten by the best. It happens most of the time Belichick is on the other sideline.

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