Another strong defensive effort was something for the Jets to hold onto Thursday night. The football was not. Inability to catch the ball — and it was dry the entire first half — is not something to let drop.
The Patriots' offense is struggling. Unreasonable as it seemed to be able to beat Bill Belichick at Foxboro in a rookie quarterback's second start, the game lay there for 60 minutes and the Jets repeatedly missed opportunities to seize it. It only would have taken 14 points to win the game.
The Foot Fumble: As Aqib Talib wrestled Stephen Hill to the ground following a first-quarter catch, the defensive back's foot flew up and dislodged the ball, which the Pats recovered. Not exactly what we usually are talking about when the kicking game makes a difference.
Best Individual Effort: On third-and-short, Jets fullback Tommy Bohanon didn't have it the first time, made it on a determined second push.
Best Play:** Geno Smith was on the money to Clyde Gates down the sideline in the third quarter for 34 yards to the New England 39. The drive fizzled, but Robert Malone's punt to the 4 set up field position the Jets cashed for their touchdown on the following possession.
Best Throw: Even with the above work of beauty, it probably was the one where Smith, on the run, came across his body low and away to Clyde Gates in the end zone. It was a throw impossible to cover, but replay determined the receiver didn't control the ball all the way to the ground.
Worst Throw: Smith underthrew Stephen Hill by 4 yards on Talib's sealing reception.
Second-Worst Decision: Nick Mangold hit Talib out of bounds on the runback — well, actually, it was kind of an extended celebration — and started a melee from which Willie Colon and D'Brickashaw Ferguson were thrown out of the game. The contest was over, sure, but this was unnecessary and dangerous.
Worst Decision: On third-and-5 at the New England 27 early in the fourth quarter — and just after finding Hill for 37 — Smith threw a little behind Santonio Holmes into double coverage. The pass was tipped by Kyle Arrington and picked by Talib. Had the quarterback thrown it away, the Jets were in tying field goal range.
Third-Worst Decision: Hill was wide open for a sure touchdown over the middle when Smith unsuccessfully went to the sideline and Santonio Holmes.
When to Hold 'Em, When to Fold 'Em: Decisions by Smith were as much the story of the night as anything. Can't just blame receivers inability to get open for four sacks — all apparently of the coverage variety. The kid has to learn to get rid of the ball.
As Promising as It Gets When You Score Just 10 points, Drop the Ball All Night and Turn It Over Four Times: Vladimir Ducasse did a remarkable job on Vince Wilfork, including a burial on Bilal Powell's touchdown run.
Not a Good Mornhinweg: Powell scored easily, Chris Ivory spun for some tough yards, and the Jets averaged four yards per carry. So why didn't they run more often?
Best player: Demario Davis
Best Play: By Davis on a third-and-1 in the first quarter. He pushed away Marcus Cannon and tackled Stevan Ridley for no gain. Just outstanding
Second Best Play, If It Would Have Been a Play: Dee Milliner was all over Julian Edelman and made a terrific strip for a Jets recovery, but on review the play was ruled an incompletion. That call really could have gone either way and all of them went against the Jets in the first half.
Business as Usual for a Rex Ryan Defense, Part II: After holding the Bucs to two first downs rushing and 68 yards, the Pats ground game — if you want to call it that — had one first down and 54 yards.
Worst Play: The Jets were caught on a blitz on Tom Brady's 39-yard touchdown pass to the otherwise struggling Aaron Dobson that put the Jets in a 7-0 hole on the game's first possession. Nobody home. Let the record show the play was not to Milliner's side, so this apparently was not among the sins for which he was benched.
Tom Brady Frustrated: He was screaming at his young receivers all night.
Best Play: Robert Malone's punt had the Pats starting at the 4, key to the Jets' field position that resulted in their only touchdown. Worst Play: Kyle Wilson fair-caught a punt despite an 8-yard cushion. Wilson, filling in for the concussed Jeremy Kerley, appeared to be taking marching orders from him, too. Sure, the ball was wet, but the Jets never will break one playing it so consistently safe.