The New York Jets lost a closely contested game 24-17 to the New England Patriots today in a battle that showed the gap between the two teams is not as far as most perceived heading into the season. After jumping out to a 14-0 lead (I looked up Super Bowl tickets, didn’t you?), the Patriots took control of the game with 24 unanswered points before a late Jets charge fell short aided by a horrific call from the officiating crew on an apparent Austin Seferian-Jenkins touchdown. The ASJ call will be the talk of the week but there were other reasons the Jets were unable to win this game.
Offensively, Josh McCown became the sixth straight quarterback to throw for over 300 yards against New England and made his fair share of plays (31/47, 354 yards, 2 TDs and 2 INTs). However, he continues to miss or ignore open receivers too frequently, turn the football over too much and not manage the clock well (he burned two timeouts in the third quarter at the line). The Jets aren’t going to win many more games if they keep averaging 17 points each week. There was no running game to speak of, as outside of McCown’s scrambles, the team had 21 carries for 53 yards.
The ball was spread around well in the passing game, as Austin Seferian-Jenkins grabbed another touchdown and 8 receptions. Jeremy Kerley had two monster plays down the field, including a touchdown. Both Jermaine Kearse and Robby Anderson went over 75 yards. John Morton had a strong early game script but struggled with his play calling in short yardage situations. It remains frustrating to see a sluggish Matt Forte get 17 opportunities (9 carries and 8 targets).
Defensively, we ask this every year but where is the pass rush? Through six games Leonard Williams and Muhammad Wilkerson both have zero sacks, which is completely unacceptable. Wilkerson is now well into his second year of underachieving and is on track to be cut after this season so the Jets don’t have to take his cap hit. Williams has been disappointing as well and has not yet taken the next step many anticipated he would this year. Jordan Jenkins? Zero sacks. Zero pressure. Nobody in the linebacker group made any plays today, as New England rushed for 118 yards.
It was the second week in a row that Jamal Adams struggled as well. Rob Gronkowski beat him for a pair of touchdowns and he failed to make any impact plays. Morris Claiborne was solid again on the back end and for the most part, the Jets avoided allowing big plays over the top. Buster Skrine recorded an interception but also dropped a potential pick six. Daryl Roberts continued to hold up well on the outside.
Overall, this was a more than respectable showing from the Jets who will have the opportunity to sweep the Miami Dolphins if they can win on the road next week. It is going to be interesting to see how long this team can hover around .500. It may end up being longer than was commonly anticipated.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com