Brandon Marshall was wide open. The pro bowl wide receiver turned around to his right and saw Ryan Fitzpatrick had him lined up for a completion that would have been a touchdown that could put Gang Green up eight points. Marshall had his hands ready, felt the ball his his grasp, and dropped it.
A potential 24-16 lead instead turned into a field goal and a 20-16 Jets lead. In a game against Tom Brady, a 20-16 lead is not good enough, especially when there is 12:50 left to go in the ballgame.
Overall it was a bad day for Marshall, who not only dropped a huge touchdown, he was called off-sides on the last play of the game, leading to a clock run off to send the Patriots to a win.
While most will say it is not fair to blame one player on a loss, Marshall's mistakes are a big part of the reason why the Jets are sitting at 4-2 in second place, and not 5-1 atop the AFC East.
What's most disappointing about New York's 30-23 loss to the Patriots, is the simple fact they should have won this game. The Jets had the Patriots on their heels for three quarters, and were actually getting something of a pass rush on Tom Brady. Brady had a shaky start for New England, he was sacked three times, and couldn't get his receivers to hold onto the football as Brandon LaFell and Julian Edleman let the Super Bowl MVP down on a number of throws.
Whatsmore, Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was brilliant, completing 22 of 39 for 295 yards and two touchdowns, and was clutch on third down, with eight of his completions moving the chances in crucial third down situations. This with running back Chris Ivory hobbling on one leg as he played the entire game with a hamstring injury.
Early in the second quarter, Fitzpatrick converted three third downs on the Jets' 14 play 83-yard drive that culminated in a Jeremy Kerley touchdown that gave New York a 10-3 lead.
After New England took a 16-10 lead on a couple of field goals, the Jets once again were on the move with Fitzpatrick orchestrating the effort. The quarterback was 4-for-6 on the drive including a 23-yard completion to Eric Decker on third down to move the ball to the New England 13. Two plays later Ivory caught a 9-yard screen pass from Fitzpatrick for the score to push the Jets in front 17-16.
Sadly all the good feeling would end there with Marshall playing the court jester. Fitzpatrick had the Jets right at the New England 12 yard line before the former pro bowl receiver dropped what would have been a huge touchdown to give the Jets an eight-point lead. Instead New York settled for the field goal, then Tom Brady went to work.
Granted, a lot of blame should also go to the Jets defense. New York had New England on a third and 17 before Brady connected with tight end Rob Gronkowski for 27 yards to the Jets 46. Gronkowski would catch the next three passes for the Patriots, before Brady finished off the drive with a touchdown pass to Danny Amendola to put New England on top 23-20.
New England would put the game away on their next drive when Gronkowski caught a 15-yard touchdown, unchallenged by the Jets defense to pull New England farther ahead at 30-20.
With the loss the Jets have a big game next week in Oakland against the red-hot Raiders.