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Jets-Patriots 3 Takeaways: Defense Allows 3 Straight TDs in Season Finale Loss

Sam Darnold Throws for Season High in Yards; Cam Newton Strikes for 3 TDs

New York Jets tight end Chris Herndon, center, catches a touchdown pass between New England Patriots defensives backs Myles Bryant, left, and Devin McCourty, right, in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

No Answer for Cam
The Patriots put up 21 unanswered points in the second half as the Jets fell, 28-14, closing their 2020 season with a 2-14 record.

"It's definitely frustrating," S Marcus Maye said. "No one wants to lose. We've been playing pretty well the past two weeks, so we were excited coming in here. We fought hard and we played. The results didn't come the way we wanted them to. It was the last game of the season and you want to go out as a winner. We just have to look at the bright spots from today."

Head Coach Adam Gase added: "When you three in a row, that's a good feeling. It's never easy to do. That's what I was really hoping we'd be able to do -- finish this season out with three in a row because that's what you remember. We weren't able to do that."

After allowing a touchdown on the Patriots' opening possession of the game, the Jets defense tightened. It allowed no more than 30 yards on each of New England's next four drives and forced four punts. QB Cam Newton had a 49-yard run on the fourth play from scrimmage and put the Pats in the red zone and had 5 rushing yards the rest of the half.

Newton finished the game with 78 rushing yards on 9 carries and threw for 242 yards and 3 TDs. He was also on the receiving end of a Jakobi Meyers 19-yard TD pass that tied the game at 14 in the third quarter. New England started the game 0 of 5 on third-down conversions before converting on its 6 attempts in the second half.

"They did a great job switching things up in the second half just attacking us in some areas we didn't expect," Maye said. "They did a great job adjusting at half time. We have to find a way to get off the field in certain situations."

Up and Down Performance on Offense
The Jets had momentum in the second half -- and the lead -- after sandwiching two scores at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second. First, TE Chris Herndon tied the game, 7-7, with a 21-yard reception that capped a 10-play, 80-yard drive. Then RB Josh Adams gave the Jets the lead with a 1-yard TD run, capping a 6-play, 75-yard drive to open the second half. That possession was highlighted by a Breshad Perriman 53-yard catch-and-run that set up the offense on the Patriots' 12-yard line.

"I wanted to win this game," Gase said. "I've come up here enough times to have this result. It felt like we had good plans coming in and had a decent stretch there where we did some good things. We just didn't finish it the right way."

The offense gained 23.3 yards per drive after the second-half touchdown and QB Sam Darnold, who played turnover-free in his last three games, threw 2 INTs. He passed for a season-high 258 yards, completing 23-of-34 passes (67.6%).

"I think the turnover definitely derailed us," Darnold said. "The first one and obviously the second hurt us really bad. I just have to take better care of football."

He said of his 2020 season: "I didn't play consistent enough. Right off the bat I made too many impulse decisions and I think I'm going to go back and look at the tape and figure it out. Those are just kind of my thoughts right off the jump."

Injuries on Offense
The Jets entered Sunday's season finale without rookie RB La'Mical Perine (COVID/list) and lost three key contributors during the game. LT Mekhi Becton sustained an ankle injury on Adams' 1-yard TD run and WR Denzel Mims sustained a concussion in the first half. WR Jeff Smith also left with a shoulder injury.

Conor McDermott took over for Becton at LT. With Perine out, Adams led the Jets with 11 carries for 47 yards and 1 TD. Ty Johnson had 11 carries for 45 yards.

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