The New York Jets fell to 3-8 today with a hard fought 22-17 loss to the New England Patriots. The Jets did not play badly in this game. In fact the Jets may well have played their best game of the year against perhaps the best team in the NFL. Unfortunately it was just enough to lose a close one. The defense for the most part played well, holding the Patriots to just 13 points halfway through the 4th quarter. The defense held the Patriots to their lowest point total since Tom Brady came back in the 5th game of this season, and held Brady to his worst completion percentage, worst yards per attempt and worst passer rating all year. It was the finest work the Jets defense did all season, but it wasn't enough. The Jets offense played very well for one quarter of football, bolting out to a 10-0 lead, then scored just seven points over the last three quarters. 17 total points scored is not enough to win most NFL games, and is not nearly enough against a Tom Brady led Patriots offense.
With the Jets offense shut down in the last three quarters the Patriots gradually gained the edge, and the Jets never adjusted. It is one of the main themes of the season. The Jets may or may not come out with a good game plan, but once both teams throw their first punches, the opponents adjust and the Jets don't. The result is usually failure as the game wears on, which is exactly what we saw today. Despite playing perhaps their best game of the season the failure to adjust as the game wore on doomed the Jets to yet another defeat. In the end it was just another loss in a lost Jets season.
The Jets are now 3-8 on the season. Soon they will be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. Let’s talk about the good and the bad below.
Overall the defense played very well against a high octane Patriots offense. There were three main exceptions.
Darrelle Revis. Revis gave up both of the Patriots' touchdown passes, getting beat by Patriots rookie wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell both times. Revis was also burned by Julian Edelman for a long completion late in the game. It has come to this: Revis can't even cover opponents' third and fourth options anymore. He isn't just bad compared to his former greatness, Revis is simply a bad cornerback, period.
Muhammad Wilkerson. Wilkerson had a couple of weeks to rest and rehabilitate his dinged up body. It didn't help. As has been the case all season Wilkerson was invisible out there. It has come to the point the Jets should seriously consider drastically reducing Wilkerson's snap counts. Like Revis, Wilkerson isn't just bad compared to his former greatness; he is just plain bad.
Marcus Gilchrist. Same as it ever was. Bad coverage skills, bad angles, bad judgment. Gilchrist has been a disaster all season.
You could throw in Darryl Roberts among the bad too, he was often burned, but because his mistakes were not disastrous in the game I'm being generous and leaving him out of the bad column.
The offense wasn't terrible, but there were key mistakes that cost the game.
Robby Anderson. He wasn't terrible, but his fumble at midfield in the first half changed a big play for the Jets into a big play for the Patriots and led directly to a Patriots score.
Bilal Powell. He also wasn't terrible, but he had a crucial drop late in the game on a third down pass that might have kept a drive alive that could have iced the game for the Jets. Other than that drop Powell was OK, but it was a crucial play that might have cost the Jets the game.
Matt Forte. Forte had a really rough game and was never able to get much going on the ground, finishing with just 27 yards on 13 carries.
C.J. Spiller. He dropped a long pass that went right through both of his arms and hit him in the numbers. Terrible, just terrible.
Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick wasn't terrible. His numbers were some of the best he's put up this season. If you don't want to put him in the bad column I can see that. For me, however, his crucial errors at the end cost the Jets dearly and the bad outweighed the good. He had a costly late intentional grounding penalty and his strip sack fumble effectively ended the game for the Jets. In addition, after starting hot and leading the Jets to a 10 point lead early in the game Fitzpatrick and the Jets offense did nothing the rest of the way, scoring just seven points over the last three quarters and just 17 for the game. That generally just isn't enough to win consistently in the NFL , and it's almost never enough to win against the Patriots. Fitzpatrick was better this week, but he still wasn't good enough.
The Coaching Staff. Not terrible, just not good enough. Give the Jets coaches credit for having a 3-7 team ready to play and giving the Patriots all they could handle. Give credit for bolting out to a 10-0 lead. Give credit for containing Brady. But ultimately the game ended in failure because the Patriots adjusted successfully to what the Jets were doing and the Jets never adjusted to what the Patriots were doing. Every week it's the same story, the team always loses the battle once adjustments are made. Failure to make in game adjustments cost the Jets in this game just as it's cost the Jets all year. If you want to give the coaches credit for a fine overall effort against an elite opponent I won't argue, but for me the continual lack of adjustments that has the Jets getting beat over and over in the second half outweighs the considerable good the Jets brought to the table this week.
Leonard Williams. Like almost every week Williams was a beast, putting continual pressure on the quarterback even if he didn't register a sack.
Darron Lee. His coverage skills are improving and he was all over the place making tackles. Lee is developing nicely.
David Harris. Harris played one of his better games this season and registered 10 tackles, one less than Lee.
Quincy Enunwa. Enunwa was brilliant, making a couple of tough catches and finishing with 100+ yards receiving and a touchdown. Enunwa was the best Jets player on the field today.
Brandon Marshall. Marshall stopped the dropsies for this game and had several important catches for first downs, as well as a touchdown catch. One of Marshall's better efforts this year.
The Offensive Line. It wasn't perfect, and the offensive line allowed pressure on Fitzpatrick late, but for most of the game they kept Fitzpatrick clean and upright and for the most part gave him enough time to throw.
Ultimately what was disheartening about this game was that the Patriots are famous for taking away your best option and forcing you to beat them with your secondary and tertiary options. The Patriots were unable to take away the Jets' best offensive weapons today. The Jets' best options, Marshall and Enunwa, were too much for the Patriots to handle today and the Jets still scored only 17 points and still lost. A few costly mistakes ultimately doomed this team in another lost game in a lost season.