Things seem to have trouble falling into place for these Jets. So just when they finally got all three of their starting wideouts — Breshad Perriman, Jamison Crowder and rookie Denzel Mims — on the field for their first game together at MetLife on Monday night, they had to make the switch at QB from sore-shouldered Sam Darnold to ageless Joe Flacco.
But in general things worked out quite well for the trio that Head Coach Adam Gase has referred to as "the three dudes." Flacco threw with abandon for the first three quarters and all three receivers contributed to the Jets' 27-17 lead before it melted away under the Patriots' fourth-quarter onslaught.
"Most definitely, I just feel like we came out with a lot of energy," Perriman said after the Jets' 30-27 loss to their AFC East rivals. "We said we were going to put it on the line, put it all out there, don't leave anything in the tank today, and I feel that's what we did. We were just riding that momentum."
Perriman was the greater of three equals in this one. He assembled five catches for 101 yards, his first 100-yard game in green and white but the fourth of his career, all coming since Game 14 of last season.
And two of those five grabs went for touchdowns — a 50-yarder from Joe Flacco for the Jets' first TD of the game early in the second quarter, then a wide-open 15-yarder after the Patriots' coverage fell down that gave the Jets that 10-point lead to take into the fourth quarter. And that was the Jets' first two-TD game by a wideout since Robby Anderson vs. Denver over two years ago.
Perriman gave some colorful descriptions of his two scores:
"The first one, I had a double move," he said. "The corner, he jumped outside, I released inside and stuttered and he bit on it, thank God. Joe threw a beautiful ball and I was just able to run under it.
"The second one was a go-ball in the red zone. I just kind of took my time with my release and Joe threw another dime."
Crowder, in his first game back in action after missing two games with a groin pull, was a little more quiet than Perriman with two catches on two targets for 26 yards. But one of them was a pretty 20-yard Flacco throw on the side of the end zone. Initial call: out of bounds, incomplete. Booth replay call: Reversed. Touchdown.
"It was just a beautiful pass from Flacco," Crowder recalled. "I was able to make my catch, do my job, make sure I got my feel in and get six. It was good to get that for sure. ... I just wanted to see the replay to get confirmation, but I felt I had it the whole time."
In the middle of the threesome was Mims. Flacco clearly wanted to get his rookie the ball with his team-high eight targets. One he wanted to throw better was the fourth-quarter go-route that was too far for Mims but just right for a J.C. Jackson interception for the Patriots. But Mims did catch four of the balls to him for 62 yards, with his 26-, 17- and 15-yard catches leading to 13 Jets points.
The dudes didn't have a big impact in the final quarter when the Patriots flipped the tables on the Jets. But Crowder and Perriman had a good vibe for the final seven games for when Darnold returns or if Flacco is called on again.
"That was a tough loss right there. That was a game we should've won," Crowder said. "Going into the bye, speaking personally, it's a much needed bye because I can get more rest and more treatment. We've just got learn to regroup and learn to finish ballgames. Tonight we played well through three quarters, we didn't do anything in the fourth quarter, so we've got to put it all together."
Which Perriman thinks is doable.
"Yeah, it definitely hurts. You've got to kind of be positive about the situation," he said. "It was the best game the offense has had all season, and like that's just the start."
See Best Images from the Week 9 Monday Night Game at MetLife Stadium Against New England