Through three quarters, Ryan Fitzpatrick (22-for-32 passing, 269 yards, 115.2 rating) fared statistically better than Tom Brady. But as is always the case with the Jets’ erratic quarterback, Fitzpatrick came up small in the fourth quarter. With less than two minutes to go, he was stripped from behind by Chris Long as he attempted to throw and fumbled the football. That turnover — and Fitzpatrick’s intentional grounding penalty on a previous drive (which came as he was trying to elude a sack) — negated what had been an otherwise efficient outing for the 34-year-old. It also overshadowed a breakout game by wide receiver Quincy Enunwa, who gave the Jets a 17-13 lead with his jaw-dropping “Butt Tumble” touchdown in the back of the end zone. He had a career-high 109 receiving yards on five catches. Brandon Marshall (six receptions, 67 yards and a TD) was more productive in the first quarter (four catches, 53 yards) than he was the past two games. The negatives: The running game was virtually a nonfactor behind Matt Forte (27 yards) and Bilal Powell (36). Robby Anderson’s lost fumble was a momentum-changer for the Patriots.
This is what happens when you give Brady too much time: He makes you pay. Despite a strong, spirited start by the Jets, the unit fell flat when it counted most. A banged-up Brady surgically picked apart Todd Bowles’ secondary and victimized cornerback Darrelle Revis on the Patriots’ go-ahead scoring drive. The future Hall of Famer, laboring on a swollen knee, wasn’t his best. But he was good enough to keep the Jets off-balance. “There’s never a time where he’s out of it,” Marshall said of Brady, who finished with an 89.2 rating after completing 30 of 50 passes for 286 yards and two TDs. Youngsters Lorenzo Mauldin, Leonard Williams and Darron Lee impressed, while their most high-priced players — Revis and Muhammad Wilkerson (two tackles) — didn’t. Wilkerson was virtually invisible until flagged for an offside on fourth-and-1 with 8:41 to go in the third quarter. Thanks to the penalty, the Patriots took a 13-10 lead on a 29-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski. The Patriots came in averaging 27.1 points and were only 2-for-5 in red-zone efficiency. But the Jets failed to take advantage of a hobbled Brady (only four QB hits) and the fact that New England played much of the game without 6-6 tight end Rob Gronkoswki, who left late in the first quarter because of a back injury.
SPECIAL TEAMS C
Nick Folk gave the Jets a 3-0 lead with a season-long 51-yard field goal, but the kicker had his 54-yard FG attempt blocked with 1:58 to go in first half and the score tied at 10. Jeremy Ross returned one punt 10 yards and averaged 17.3 yards on three kickoffs. Punter Lachlan Edwards had a net average of 42.5 yards on four attempts.
Coaches aren’t the ones on the field, but the same old issues continue to plague the Jets: Wasted timeouts, confusion on the field, miscommunication on defense and questionable play-calling. The offense became too predictable as the game wore on and the defense seemed to be in perpetual “prevent” mode. The coaches often seemed scared to lose against the Patriots. Week after week, Bowles preaches accountability but he goes out of way not to call out some of his biggest stars — i.e., Fitzpatrick, Revis and Wilkerson.