The Jets battled to the end Sunday in the rain, making another late charge at home against a division rival. But unlike Week 1 vs. the Bills, there would be no dramatic come-from-behind win as the Green & White fell to 1-2 after a 15-10 loss to the Patriots. It was the third consecutive matchup these teams have played a game that was decided by one possession.
"We just have to keep working," head coach Robert Saleh said. "Obviously not good enough overall. Third downs, couldn't run the ball. ... Just overall it wasn't good enough from coaching to players to all of it."
Trailing by 13-3 in the fourth quarter, QB Zach Wilson got the Jets back in it as he completed 7-of-10 passes on a drive that culminated on FB Nick Bawden's 1-yard plunge. Wilson, who had just 47 yards on 9-for-17 passing before the scoring drive, passed for 79 yards on the march that ended on Bawden's first career TD.
With the crowd alive and the Jets defense energized, Jeff Ulbirch's unit forced a punt on the Patriots ensuing drive. Taking over at his 10-yard line, Wilson couldn't repeat the magic as two incompletions were followed by a holding call and then a safety by Matthew Judon. The Jets got one more crack at it down 15-10, but Wilson threw incomplete three times before Tyler Conklin was held to 2 yards on fourth-and-10. Later a Wilson Hail Mary was knocked around a few times but fell out of the reach of Randall Cobb. The Pats also moved to 1-2, avoiding Bill Belichick's first 0-3 start since 2000.
The Pats held a 10-3 lead at halftime, outgaining the Jets 216 to 39. The third down issues that plagued the Jets last week in Dallas reappeared as the visitors went 6 of 10 in the opening 30 minutes and the Jets were held to 1 of 8. New England finished 8 of 19 while the Jets ended up 2 of 14 (12.5%), the Green & White's lowest conversion rate since 2018.
"Even with Aaron [Rodgers] at quarterback, we knew there were going to be some hiccups along the way because of a new offense, new playcaller, new O-line, new players all over the offensive side of the ball," Saleh said. "Now you've got this curveball that was sent to us, so they're acclimating. They're going to get better, but it's still very early in the season."
See the best game action photos during the Week 3 matchup against the Patriots.
The only TD in the first half came on a broken coverage as Mac Jones connected with TE Pharoah Brown for a 58-yard score in the second quarter. It was Brown's first touchdown catch of his career and his first career reception that was longer than 30 yards.
"Mistakes like the 58-yard touchdown can't happen," Saleh said. "They can't happen. Unfortunately it did, but thought they did a really nice job in the second half locking down and giving us as many opportunities as possible. We had some opportunities there with the football. It was there, it was live. On a couple occasions it felt like we were about that close from flipping the game."
The Jets' scoring drive in the second quarter saw Breece Hall (4-17) and Dalvin Cook (4-12) running on 8 of 9 plays before Greg Zeurlein nailed a 52-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 10-3 before the break.
New England won the battle on the ground, churning out 157 yards on 40 carries (3.9 yds/att) while the Jets finished with 38 yards on 22 rushes (1.7 yds/att). Zach Wilson had completions to 8 different receivers, but the Jets had only 128 yards on their 17 completions.
Next Sunday night, the Jets will host the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.
After placing veteran T Duane Brown on injured reserve Saturday and without veteran OL Wes Schweitzer (concussion), the Jets lined up Mekhi Becton at LT, rookie Joe Tippmann made his first career start, at RG, and Alijah Vera-Tucker shifted over from RG to RT. … The Pats' defensive line depth was challenged as both DL Daniel Ekuale (elbow) and DL Davon Godchaux (ankle) were ruled out in the second quarter. … C.J. Mosley led the defense with another excellent effort, tying S Jordan Whitehead with a team-high 10 tackles. Mosley has recorded 5-plus tackles in each of his last 35 games played which is the longest active streak in the NFL. ... The Jets were aiming to move to 2-0 in the AFC for the first time since 2012, but the Patriots took home their 15th consecutive win in the regular-season series.