PATRIOTS 22/JETS 17
It is getting harder and harder to call the Jets-Patriots rivalry 'a rivalry.' If you wanted to see a real rivalry, you were better off watching the Kansas City Chiefs-Denver Broncos game; at least those two teams are competitive and good. Here the Patriots have dominated the Jets for well over a decade, and Sunday was no different.
The game felt like a big tease with Gang Green jumping out to a 10-0 lead, and holding a slim 17-16 lead late in the fourth quarter. You knew it was only a matter of time before Tom Brady figured things out and beat the Jets, which he did.
Jets Mistakes: The Jets made a number of costly mistakes in this game against New England. When facing the Patriots, a team like the Jets can ill afford to make mistakes, and it came back to cost them in the end. The first mistake came with 9:59 to go before the half when Robby Anderson fumbled the football at midfield after a 25-yard completion. The Jets were ahead 10-3. This is not to say that if Anderson had held onto the football the Jets would have scored on this drive, but the fumble changed the complexion of the game. The Patriots turned the fumble into points when Tom Brady found Malcom Mitchell for the tying score.
Later on in the second quarter, Todd Bowles made a horrible coaching decision when he decided to kick a long 54-yard field goal rather than punt the football and pin the Patriots deep. The kick was blocked and New England had great field position with which to work. Fortunately for the Jets, Stephen Goskowski missed the field goal at the buzzer.
Ryan Fitzpatrick: The Jets mistakes continued to spring up thanks in big part to Fitzpatrick. In the fourth quarter, he killed the Jets with an intentional grounding penalty that pushed the Jets back into a third and 11 from their own 30. The Jets couldn't convert and had to punt back to New England.
After the Patriots took the lead 22-17, Fitzpatrick killed the Jets hopes when he got stripped of the football by Chris Long to seal the deal. While Fitz didn't throw a pick, he was horrible in crunch time. If this doesn't signal that Todd Bowles needs to make a change, I don't know what will.
Quincy Enunwa's Butt Catch: You may have heard of the buttfumble and the helmet catch, well on Sunday we had the butt catch. In the Jets lone bright spot of the evening, Enunwa hauled in a Fitzpatrick pass in the back corner of the end zone, got one foot down and fell on his rear end inside the end zone for the score. One butt = two feet in the NFL. Touchdown Jets!
The Other Guys: With Rob Gronkowski hobbled by back and lung issues, Tom Brady had to look elsewhere for support and he found it in Malcolm Mitchell and Chris Hogan. The two virtual unknowns combined for 112 yards on nine catches and two scores. In fact it was Mitchell who burned Darrelle Revis on the game winning score.
The Patriots May Not Be That Good: This was a game that the Patriots were supposed to roll in, but they really struggled with the Jets. While it is a divisional game, the Patriots are supposed to be light-years ahead of the Jets, but it didn't look like it on Sunday. New England struggled to handle the Jets blitzes early on, and made a number of costly mistakes themselves (see James White forgetting how to score a two-point conversion). The Patriots (9-2) are supposed to be the best in the AFC, but it sure didn't look like it on Sunday. The monsters in the AFC West are aware.
What's Next: The Jets disaster of a season continues next Monday night against the equally inept Indianapolis Colts. The Jets would have an advantage, but it looks like Andrew Luck will play. At least that draft stock keeps ticking up for Gang Green.
What to expect: More losing.