When a team lacks the necessary talent to make game changing plays on defense; when the team's punter can't punt the football accurately in a big spot, and when the quarterback can't make plays in big spots, and can't be trusted with the football other times, it will somehow lead to a loss.
That is exactly what happened to the Jets Thursday night in New England. They did a lot of things right against the Patriots. The ran the ball at will against a very soft Patriots defense; kept Tom Brady on the sideline for most of the night, but when it mattered, the Jets couldn't keep from shooting themselves in the foot.
Of the seven games the Jets played this year, this was their best performance. And their most excruciating. To their credit the Jets should have won this game. They should be 2-5 Friday morning, not 1-6, but shoulda, coulda, woulda never leads to anything.
Let's start with the defense, which was bad, really bad.
Not even 2:30 minutes into the game, the Patriots found themselves on the scoreboard when Tom Brady found a wide open Shane Vereen, who was probably stunned he was so open himself, streaking down the sideline for a 49-yard pitch-and-catch touchdown to make it 7-0.
That was just the first of many faux pas by the Jets beleaguered secondary. Even though the Patriots didn't possess the football for more than 19 minutes, and never had a drive longer than 4:48, they still managed to score three touchdowns in the game, with Tom Brady playing the lead roll. The Jets rarely hit Brady, and when they got to him, he had already found his target.
Case in point with the Jets taking their first lead, 9-7, the New York defense allowed New England to cruise across the field on 10 very crisp plays in 80 yards for another Brady touchdown pass to Vereen to make it 14-9.
It seemed that no matter what the Jets tried to do Thursday night, they were going to find a way to put themselves behind the eight ball.
While the defense wasn't any good, the offense was terrible in the clutch. While the Jets controled the clock for over 40 minutes, thanks in big part to Chris Ivory and the Jets offensive line, when it mattered the most, quarterback Geno Smith couldn't get it done.
On the Jets first possession, Smtih actually threw a touchdown pass that was negated for offensive holding. Instead of rising up to the challenge, the Jets offense decided to shrink like crushed tin foil. Smith danced around for a five yard gain of first and 19. They handed it off to Ivory for nothing on second down, and on third down, Smith threw a completion well short of the first down marker, forcing the Jets to kick.
This would be a trend. Three more times Chris Ivory guided the Jets down field, and three more times, Smith screwed it up in the red zone. Late in the first quarter with New York knocking on the door, Smith threw two dreary incompletions to Jace Amaro, who wasn't even open to force, yet another field goal.
A good team would have at least scored one touchdown in two terrific possessions, but the Jets aren't a good team.
Overall Smith had the Jets in striking distance four times, and four times they came up snake eyes. Perhaps the biggest disaster coming late in the first half with the Jets at the Patriots seven yard line. New York tried to force feed Ivory on second down, it didn't work as he lost two yards; then on third down Smith lobbed a pass that wasn't even close to David Nelson to force a fourth field goal. Instead of 16-14 Jets, it was 14-12 Patriots.
As the second half wore on the Jets were still in the game, shockingly, down 20-19 before special teams decided to cost the Jets dearly. After a New York three and out, punter Ryan Quigley shanked a punt for only 28 yards, giving New England great field position at the Jets 46.
Brady went right to work hitting a couple of big completions, before finding Danny Amendola in the end zone for an acrobatic 19 yard catch. Patriots 27, Jets 19.
Even with that the Jets wouldn't go away. While he played poorly at times, Smith had his best drive here. He ran for a first down on a key third down, and hit a couple of big completions to Jeremy Kerley and Jeff Cumberland. Low and behold the Jets were at the Patriots 10 before anyone knew it.
We then saw the good Geno and bad Geno in the matter of two plays. The good Geno hit Cumberland for a touchdown pass from the 10-yard line to cut the deficit to 27-25. But, the bad Geno reared his ugly head again, when he overthrew his back-up tight end on an attempted two point conversion killing the Jets chances of tying it at least.
After New England unsuccessfully tried to run the clock down, the Jets got the football back with a minute and change. Smith's completion to Kerely at mid-field was huge in giving New York a chance in this thing. However, Bad Geno came back again, when he wasted an important play by intentionally throwing an incompletion at the Pats 40 yard line with eight seconds to go, when he had a receiver open for at least five more yards.
That forced a 58-yard field goal attempt by Nick Folk, which was blocked by the Patriots with five seconds left. It is not fair to ask a kicker to make that kind of kick from that point in the field, no matter how good he is. The Jets should have gotten closer. But, hey just more stupid Jets tricks for ya.
New York (1-6) is now on a six game losing streak. They played well, but not well enough to win. When the talent pool is so bad, every miscue becomes the size of a crater.