The Jets showed a national television audience watching Monday Night Football why they’re the NFL’s only winless team.
They appeared to be on their way to a victory, holding a 10-point lead over the Patriots with just over six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. But they imploded at the end in ways only they know.
The Jets allowed 13 points in the last 6:04. Former Jets kicker Nick Folk drilled the gut-wrencher, a 51-yard field goal as time expired to give the Patriots a 30-27 win at MetLife Stadium.
The Jets are 0-9 for the first time in franchise history, and still in the pole position to draft Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. But this was an awful way for them to head into their bye week, especially after they finally looked like an NFL offense and team for three quarters.
"It hurts," Adam Gase said. "I thought guys, they battled. They gave everything they had. Just had a few mistakes that really cost us and cost us the game."
It could cost Gase, too, if Jets CEO Christopher Johnson decides this is the right time to make a coaching change.
Sam Darnold didn’t play because of a sore right shoulder, and the Jets lost left tackle Mekhi Becton in the first quarter with a chest injury. But they had their three starting receivers — Jamison Crowder, Breshad Perriman and Denzel Mims — on the field for the first time all season, and they made an impact with a combined 189 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
Joe Flacco threw for 262 yards and three TDs but had a costly interception in the fourth quarter.
On the Patriots’ final drive, Cam Newton threw a 20-yard pass to Jakobi Meyers to the Jets’ 33. New England immediately called timeout with three seconds left, and Folk delivered the kick that ended the Patriots’ four-game losing streak.
"It definitely was disappointing," Flacco said. "Guys’ emotions are running high."
It was a brutal defeat for the Jets, who had a passing touchdown for the first time in four games. They scored multiple offensive touchdowns for the first time since Week 1 and put up points in the second half for the first time in four games.
But none of it mattered because they don’t know how to win. They ran only four plays in the fourth quarter and gained three yards.
"We haven’t been in these situations a lot this year," Flacco said. "We got to get better at closing it out when we’re right there.’’
Perriman caught five passes for 101 yards, including touchdowns of 50 and 15 yards — the first two TDs of his Jets career. He also dropped a touchdown pass on his team’s opening drive, and the Jets had to settle for Sergio Castillo’s field goal.
Mims, in his third NFL game, had four catches for 62 yards. Crowder made two catches for 26 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown with 25 seconds left in the first half that gave the Jets a 20-10 lead. "That’s a game we should have won," Crowder said.
The Jets went ahead 27-17 with 30 seconds left in the third quarter on Perriman’s 15-yard touchdown reception.
On third-and-1 from the Jets’ 10 with 9:15 left, Newton slipped and fell for a 4-yard loss. The Patriots lined up for a field goal, but the Jets were flagged for 12 men on the field, giving New England a first-and-goal from the 9. The Patriots wound up settling for a 29-yard field goal with 6:04 left that made it 27-20.
Then it was the offense’s turn to make a mistake, and Flacco made a huge one. On the first play of the ensuing possession, he threw a deep pass intended for Mims that was picked off by J.C. Jackson at New England’s 28.
Flacco saw the coverage New England was playing and thought Mims could beat his man, but Flacco led him too far and hit Jackson in stride.
"I’ve been rattling it around in my head," Flacco said. "I don’t think I’d make a different decision in the moment. I wish I had that one back."
The Jets appeared to get a stop when Newton’s third-down pass fell incomplete, but Bless Austin was called for holding, extending another Patriots drive.
Newton and Meyers connected on a 19-yard pass on third-and-20, and on fourth-and-1, Newton pushed forward for the first down. On the next play, he hit Damiere Byrd, who ran from one side of the field to the other for a 31-yard gain.
Three plays later, Newton scored on a 1-yard run. Folk’s extra point tied it with 1:57 left.
The Jets got the ball back but went three-and-out. Flacco was sacked on second down.
The Patriots got the ball back at their 22 with 47 seconds left, Newton led them into field-goal range and Folk ended it.
"These guys keep trying to execute what’s being asked of them," Gase said. "They played their [butt] off. We’re not finding ways to win."