Maulet & Adams Are Point Producers
After more than 164 minutes of game action, the Patriots finally yielded their first touchdown of the season when Jets cornerback Arthur Maulet recovered a muffed punt inside the end zone in the final minute of the third quarter. Unfortunately for the Green & White, the special teams score made it just a 30-7 game because the offense wasn’t able to generate any points on top of returner Gunner Olszewski’s gaffe.
In the fourth quarter, third-year safety Jamal Adams was the recipient of a Jarrett Stidham overthrow and returned his second-career interception 61 yards for a touchdown that cut the Patriots’ lead to 30-14. With a two-score game, Bill Belichick benched his rookie passer and reinserted future Hall of Famer Tom Brady to finish.
"I thought the defense and special teams did a good job," head coach Adam Gase said. "I know we had a rough start there on defense, but those guys did a good job of finishing the game out the right way, putting points on the board. Special teams, same thing. Offensively, we were atrocious. Bad as you can get. We have a lot to fix. Going into the bye, we're going to have to address all these issues that we're having right now."
Tale of Two Quarterbacks
Making his first NFL start against his boyhood idol, Jets QB Luke Falk had an impressive 15-yard connection to Jamison Crowder on his first pass of the afternoon. The Jets got past midfield on their initial possession, but the visitors failed to convert on each of their 12 third-down attempts. Falk was sacked on a pair of occasions in the first half as the Patriots built a 20-0 lead and the Jets failed to gain traction in the run game, producing just 20 yards on their 12 carries heading into intermission.
The 24-year-old Falk actually completed 7-of-10 in the first two quarters, but most of his passes were short and he was limited to 59 passing yards at the break. The Washington State product and his receivers weren’t on the same page in the third when he was victimized by his first pro interception. Devin McCourty’s theft led to a 37-yard Stephen Gostowski field goal that extended New England’s lead to 23-0. Falk was sacked a total of five times and finished 12-for-22 for 98 yards with the one turnover.
"I think when you walk away and you don't score points, you're pretty frustrated. There'll be a lot to learn from the film, they're a good team. Credit to them, they played a good game. We have to go into the bye week, work on a few things and be able to score some points," said Falk, who later added, "We made some errors today. It's on me. We have to score points and I have to put the ball in play and lead our team into the end zone."
The Jets defense was unable to get off the field out of the gates as Brady led three consecutive TD drives. The Pats converted on their first quartet of third downs and a 41-yard catch-and-run from TE Ryan Izzo proved to be a bad omen. The Jets blitzed on a third-and-1 as Izzo simply leaked out and nobody went with him for one of Brady’s easiest completions this afternoon. Brady went 11-of-13 in the opening stanza, which included a 25-yard scoring toss to an open Phillip Dorsett, who was streaking across the middle of the field. On the Patriots’ next possession, Brady had tremendous protection on third-and-goal and simply waited for Julian Edelman to get open for the easy score. The 14-time Pro-Bowl signal-caller hit on 67% of his throws for 306 yards and two touchdowns.
"From their offensive standpoint, they're just a very disciplined team," said LB Blake Cashman, who started his second game in as many weeks and totaled six tackles including of stop for loss. "They take care of their assignments and when you have 11 guys on one side of the ball doing their job and doing their job very well, it opens up plays and that's what we saw today."
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For the second consecutive week, Nate Hairston started on the outside at corner across from Darryl Roberts. Trumaine Johnson, who didn’t play until the fourth quarter against the Browns, did receive some reps in sub packages. Nickel cornerback Brian Poole finished with a team-leading 12 tackles and nearly picked off of Brady in the second quarter.
With Jordan Jenkins nursing a calf injury, Tarell Basham got the call at RDE/OLB. As expected, Mike LB C.J. Mosley was among the game inactives after not practicing throughout the week with a groin injury.
With Demaryius Thomas (knee/hamstring) out against his former team, the Green & White used Braxton Berrios as their No. 3 receiver. Berrios’ 6-yard catch in the second quarter was the Miami product’s first-career reception. He later added a 23-yard gain in the third, winning his route in the slot and exploding up the Jets’ sideline. But the 5'9", 190-pounder was flagged for offensive pass interference later that drive, halting any hopes for points. Adam Gase went to a wildcat look with Le’Veon Bell in shotgun formation on a few occasions, but the dynamic back didn’t have daylight in Week 3, managing just 35 yards on 18 carries.
With an 0-3 mark to start the 2019 campaign and missing a number of starters, the Jets will have a bye week before returning to action in Philadelphia on October 6.
"The No. 1 thing is always staying together," team captain Steve McLendon said. "We have to stick together through thick and thin. Right now, these are some thick situations that we can cause teams to go the wrong way, but I know where we're going. I believe in this team, I believe in every man in this locker room, so I'm going to do the necessary things to keep them up."