By Brad Carroll
Looking back a day later following the New York Jets loss to the New England Patriots 24-17 Sunday afternoon, the pure anger from one of the worst officiating decisions of all time has not simmered down. Not even a little bit.
Plain and simple, the Jets were screwed out of what should have been a touchdown by tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, which would have cut the Patriots' lead to 24-21 with plenty of time to not only make up that field goal (which the Jets would get on their next drive) but to use that huge momentum swing to take the lead and possibly win the game. But the replay officials took that away from the Jets, inexplicably to the rest of the universe (outside of a few delusional Patriots fans).
By now you’ve seen the replay a thousand times, but this is all that needs to be written: When Seferian-Jenkins is about to hit the pylon, he has control of the ball. The ball comes lose for a second, Seferian-Jenkins regains possession, and then hits the pylon and ground, never once losing the football. That’s a touchdown, no matter what trash the NFL tries to push on the fans, who are rightfully outraged.
The Jets may not have won the game anyway, but the NFL made sure they wouldn’t be given a fair shot, and that’s unacceptable.
But nothing is going to change and the Jets saw their three-game winning streak snapped in the worst possible way to fall to 3-3 on the season. Even taking away that huge would-be touchdown play, the Jets had every chance to win this game and couldn’t finish the job. They went up 14-0 and looked to be on their way to knocking the Patriots down a rung in the AFC East hierarchy. But the Patriots came back with two touchdowns to tie the game at halftime, with a killer interception by Josh McCown late in the second quarter being responsible for the second one.
The Jets tried to throw the ball against the Patriots, and did so successfully early on and 354 yards overall, but the ground game was basically forgotten, a sin considering New England can’t stop the run. It certainly cost the team, starting late in the second quarter and throughout the game from there.
It’s difficult to come up with positives from a loss, but at least the Jets proved they aren’t that far off from beating New England, and at 3-3 are still in the thick of both the division and wild card playoff races. For a team that was given little chance to even win one game this season, that’s an almost unbelievable position to be in. Best yet, it gives the fans something to cheer for this season, as the Jets are going to be in the playoff picture for at least a few more weeks.
The Jets are at the Miami Dolphins next week, a game they could and should win, so this season isn’t over by a longshot. But before we take a look forward to next Sunday, let’s take one more look back at the keys to victory against the Patriots and how they actually played out on the field.
Did Jets Get Pressure On Tom Brady?
Not nearly enough to win the game. If there ever was an opponent where the Jets defense could finally get pressure on the quarterback, it was the Patriots, who have allowed Brady to be hit 32 times and sacked 16 times. Of course, the Jets can’t sack any quarterback this season, and took down Brady zero times. Zero. That’s just not a recipe for success, especially against the Patriots. The Jets managed just four quarterback hits as well. Brady didn’t have a big game by any stretch, but still threw for two touchdowns. Mo Wilkerson and Leonard Williams continue to be invisible this season, with no sacks between them. Nobody on the defensive line has a sack and the Jets have just seven overall. Knowing that it’s almost impossible to believe the Jets actually have three wins this season.
Did Jets Let Rob Gronkowski Beat Them?
Gronkowski had a huge day, exposing Jets rookie safety Jamal Adams in coverage and beating him for two touchdowns. Adams was also called for a pass interference penalty on the tight end. It was a second straight poor game for the LSU product. Gronkowski had six receptions for 83 yards and the two scores. Except for a 44-yard pass to Brandin Cooks, the Jets secondary did a solid job slowing down the Patriots wide receivers, but as seemingly always, the tight end was the difference maker.
Did Jets Run Ball Successfully?
The Jets didn’t even give the running game a chance to succeed, as they called 54 passes in 75 plays. The Patriots were allowing 124.2 rushing yards per game on defense. It worked in the first half, as McCown was firing away against the Patriots, including two touchdowns. But the Jets didn’t take advantage of a Patriots weakness and it obviously cost them, as they managed just three points after the quick start. Matt Forte and Elijah McGuire both had 22 yards rushing and the Jets managed just 74 yards overall, 53 if you take away McCown’s 21 on three scrambles. McCown was 31-of-47 for 354 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. The passing game worked, but the running game was virtually ignored.