In need of some post-bye mojo on offense, the Jets turned to Quincy Enunwa and Brandon Marshall. The talented tandem responded in near-dramatic fashion, combining for 11 receptions and 176 yards and 2 TDs. But the Jets, who took the lead on Enunwa's 22-yard scoring grab in the fourth quarter, dropped a 22-17 decision to the Patriots at MetLife Stadium.
Early in the final stanza, Enunwa made the catch of the Jets' season. It was so good that the score was waved off on the field, but replay officials overturned the call and ruled the second-year WR indeed had control of the ball and got his body in bounds in the back corner of the end zone.
"Honestly, I didn't think I was getting the ball," Enunwa said. "The coverage kind of looked like I shouldn't get the ball, but Fitz believed in me to make a play. So I did my best to go up there and make that play and it felt great afterwards."
Enunwa reached the 100-yard mark for the first time in his career on the Jets' ensuing possession, hauling in a 23-yard reception as the offense moved out from the shadow of its end zone. But in need of more points and a sustained possession with the lead down to just a point at 17-16, the Jets were forced to punt and they would see their lead wiped out by Tom Brady. A heartbreaking eighth loss for the Green & White will overshadow a pair of tremendous performances from Q and Marshall.
With the Jets getting Marshall involved early, the veteran receiver had a pair of catches on the team's opening drive that covered 33 yards. Ryan Fitzpatrick went back shoulder to Marshall on the game's first play up the home sideline and the Green & White came back to him over the middle for a 20-yard gain. Marshall had four receptions in the opening quarter for 53 yards, a number that had eclipsed his total in three of the past games.
"I thought Chan [Gailey] did a great job this week of game planning and in the first half really spreading the ball around," Marshall said.
"We caught them in a couple of situations where we were able to take advantage of it or maybe a zone coverage here of there," Fitzpatrick added. "It was just part of playing against them is you have to be patient sometimes. They're going to try to take your best guys away."
Top Images from the Week 12 Matchup in MetLife Stadium
Then on the opening play of the second quarter, Fitzpatrick went to Marshall in a 1-on-1 situation and the 6'4", 230-pounder came down with the 82nd scoring reception of his illustrious career. More importantly, it was Marshall's first TD since Week 5 and the connection gave the Jets an early 10-0 advantage.
"I think it's the story of the year," Marshall said. "We come out and we're in the game in the first half and then in the second half we're not clicking. It's disappointing not to be able to correct that. We've hit stumbling blocks throughout the year."
Enunwa, who has become the team's No. 2 receiver with Eric Decker on injured reserve, was limited to two catches for 32 yards in the Jets' Weeks 9 and 10 losses Dolphins and the Rams. But taking advantage of a favorable down and distance situation in the opening stanza, Enunwa made a fantastic catch on CB Malcolm Butler for a 40-yard gain. That flipped the field, from the 30 to the 30 and Marshall would later get the offense into the red zone with an 11-yard gain on a third-and-9.
The Jets couldn't capitalize on Enunwa's 21-yard gain late in the second stanza. A drive stalled and Nick Folk's 54-yard attempt was blocked by DL Alan Branch.
"Quincy has been the same guy week in and week out," said CB Darrelle Revis. "He's been making big plays for us. You can see over the course of the year he's gotten more confident as a player and Fitz is definitely looking for him in passing game. He's definitely a spark for us on offense."
Marshall and Enunwa were targeted nine times in the opening half and combined for eight receptions 118 yards and 1 TD. The Jets went scoreless in the third as neither of their top two wideouts were targeted, but Marshall got a key 13-yard reception at the beginning of the fourth. Fitzpatrick narrowly overthrew him in the end zone, but the 12th-year signalcaller came back to the opposite corner and got the Jets' final points to Enunwa.
"I felt good about Quincy, good thing he does all the squats he does to get his butt down," Fitzpatrick said. "But No. 12 on their side — it hasn't nothing to do with lack of faith in our defense or anything like that, but he is who he is for a reason."