Jets head coach Adam Gase, left front, leaves the field...

Jets head coach Adam Gase, left front, leaves the field after losing an NFL football game to the New England Patriots, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Foxborough, Mass.  Credit: AP/Charles Krupa


Adam Gase’s offense struggled to put up points again. The Jets sputtered early, looked competent for a couple of series and then became inept. Lather, rinse, repeat. Sam Darnold threw for a season-high 266 yards. But his two interceptions in the second half were not only costly, but they showed that Darnold is still forcing things and making bad decisions. One of them was an overthrow to Breshad Perriman with four Patriots players in the area. The other was in the end zone, killing a potential scoring drive. It’s Year 3, and Darnold continues to make the same mistakes. He finished the season — and maybe his Jets’ career — with nine touchdown passes and 11 interceptions. Gase gets a lot of blame for this, and paid with his dismissal by the club Sunday night. But Darnold needs to be smarter with the ball. The protection wasn’t great. Darnold was sacked three times. The Patriots totaled three sacks in their previous three games.


The Jets’ defense played well the previous two games against high-scoring offenses. But they slid backward against one of the worst offenses in the league. The Patriots finished with 404 yards. It was just the second time in eight games that New England had 400 yards of offense. The Patriots scored four offensive touchdowns, matching their high this season. Coming in, Cam Newton had only five touchdown passes on the season, and never more than one in a game. He threw three against interim coordinator Frank Bush’s defense and caught one. Newton surpassed 200 passing yards for just the second time in six games.


Chase McLaughlin made both of his extra-point tries in his Jets debut. Rookie punter Braden Mann had a 52-yard punt. But he netted 30.2 yards on his five punts. The Jets’ punt coverage team didn’t give up any big returns. But they missed tackles on returner Gunner Olszewski that gave New England better field position.


The offense looked bad for much of the game, and terrible for most of the season. Gase wasn’t aggressive, didn’t take many shots. Enough with the wide-receiver screens. It was the last game. Throw everything out there. The defense was better overall than the offense this season, but this was a bad final game. Newton made some bad throws or it would have been even worse.

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