Fresh off their bye week, the Jets had an opportunity to move into second place in the AFC East with a win over the Patriots at Gillette Stadium. But little went the Green & White's way in a 54-13 defeat on Sunday in Foxborough, MA, as they fell to 1-5 and the Pats improved to 3-4. To make matters worse, rookie QB Zach Wilson injured his right knee in the second quarter and did not return. Minus Mike linebacker C.J. Mosley, the Jets yielded 300 yards in the first half to the Patriots as New England scored on all five of its possessions and built a 31-7 advantage and cruised from there.
Wilson Goes Down
With the Jets trailing by 17-0 in the second quarter, rookie QB Zach Wilson exited the game with a right knee injury. While he headed to the medical tent following a Matthew Judon blow, it could have been cumulative damage because DL Lawrence Guy hit Wilson low by the sideline just two plays before. Wilson told reporters after the game, however, that he was able to escape Guy's hit without injury despite how it looked. In 17-plus minutes of action, Wilson completed 6 of 10 for 51 yards.
"I threw the ball and I think my front toe kind of got stuck in the ground," said Wilson of the play he sustained the injury. "[Judon] just kind of fell on it with all of his weight and kind of felt like it twisted, felt a pop in there. Obviously thinking of the worst-case scenario in my head, which sucks, but making sure it's going to be all right, hopefully. Just get it checked out. It's obviously frustrating, injuries are a part of the game of football. Just dealing with them as we can and be able to come back."
Wilson, who will receive an MRI Monday on his PCL, according to NFL Network, drew a 46-yard pass interference call on Patriots DB Kyle Dugger before Judon took him down to the ground. Backup QB Mike White took over with a first-and-goal at the 1 and ended up tossing his first NFL pass — a 3-yard score to Corey Davis. It was Davis' fourth TD in green and white and the Jets' first passing score in the first half this season.
In his first pro appearance, White was for 20 of 32 for 202 yards with 1 TD and 2 INTs.
"Well, first you worry about your friend out there on the ground, worrying about how he was faring," White said of relieving Wilson. "Then you kind of realize, 'Alright, this kind of my shot to go in there and help execute the offense.' I told myself not to do anything out of the ordinary, just play within the system, complete the ball, get the balls to our playmakers and go from there."
After winning the coin toss, the Jets elected to defer and the Patriots capitalized with their first opportunity with the ball. After hurting the Jets on a 28-yard screen to TE Jonnu Smith, the Pats took a 7-0 lead with some late October trickery. Rookie QB Mac Jones threw a lateral to receiver Kendrick Bourne, who then floated a 25-yard TD to Nelson Agholor. Then after a Jets' three-and-out, the Pats went 53 yards and took a 14-0 advantage on RB Damien Harris' 1-yard run. The Pats averaged 11.2 yards per play on their first two possessions as the Jets scuffled all afternoon without Mosley, who missed his first game in 2021 due to a hamstring injury.
The Jets' had three passing first downs in the first quarter after not having any the first five games, but they remained scoreless in the opening quarter this season. Matt Ammendola misfired right from 48 yards out with 1:53 remaining in the opening stanza.
Patriots QB Mac Jones had the first 300-yard passing game of his career, the Pats ran for 148 yards and they scored on nine of their first 10 possessions.
"They came out with some things we knew they were going to come out with," DT Sheldon Rankins said. "Some insert runs, screens, they were able to take some shots. All in all, they came out and did a lot of things we practiced against. It just came down to, simply, we didn't execute the way we wanted to. We allowed way too many big plays on early downs. We weren't able to keep them behind the sticks and when we got them into third downs, we weren't able to keep them off the field in timely situations. They were able to continue drives and we weren't able to capitalize on that. They didn't do anything that shocked us so to speak, they didn't do anything that was out of character for them. We have to execute better and be able to stop it, and put our fires out when they get rolling."
HC Robert Saleh added: "From a defensive standpoint, we all think we're a lot better than that. I want to tell you unforced errors, but obviously there's got to be a better way we have to coach it. Obviously messaging has to be a lot better, but clearly something wasn't connecting today, starting with coaching."
See Best Images from the Road Game in New England
WR Keelan Cole drew two PI penalties on Sunday that set up both Jets touchdowns. After Dugger interfered with Cole on the 46-yarder in the second quarter, Cole helped the Jets convert a third-and-5 when CB Jalen Mills blatantly held him and was charged with PI. On the ensuing play, speedster Elijah Moore took a pop pass from White and sprinted 19 yards for his first NFL TD.
"Definitely a blessing," Moore said of his TD scamper. "Scoring in the NFL is not something that comes easy. I take it with a grain of salt, I know it's a blessing. It felt good and I want to do it again. It would've been better if we got the win, so we just have to keep going.
"I kind of saw the way the O-line was pulling, the way they blocked it up, I was like 'Okay, I have room. I have to get in there.' You don't get that many opportunities, you have to make them count."
Jets S Ashtyn Davis started his first game of the season on Sunday alongside Marcus Maye. Davis (11) and Maye (12) were busy in the tacking department against a Pats team that amassed 551 yards… With RB Tevin Coleman (hamstring) inactive, RB La'Mical Perine dressed for the first time this season. Ty Johnson tied a career-high with 6 receptions and set a personal best with 65 receiving yards. Rookie back Michael Carter established individual highs with 8 catches and 67 yards receiving. … The rest of the inactives were LB C.J. Mosley, WR Jeff Smith, TE Tyler Kroft, DT Jonathan Marshall and S Adrian Colbert. … The Jets dealt with more injuries at linebacker in addition to Mosley as Blake Cashman (groin) and Quincy Williams (concussion) exited and Jamien Sherwood (head and ankle) cleared concussion protocol only to depart with a calf injury. Saleh said, "that fourth quarter, we ran out of humans." … LB Del'Shawn Phillips racked up his first career sack. … LT George Fant, who is ranked Pro Football Focus' ninth-best tackle, sustained an injury at the end of the third quarter and was replaced by Chuma Edoga before returning to the lineup. … During the CBS broadcast of Jets-Patriots, the announcing team of Andrew Catalon and James Lofton said that Jets head coach Robert Saleh moved up a four-play competitive practice period last week from 1:45 p.m. to 1 p.m. to jump-start the players body clocks earlier. … Sunday was the first time the Jets yielded 50+ points since a 52-14 loss at Miami in 1995 and the most points the Jets have allowed since 56-3 loss at NE in 1979.