The Jets finished the 2023 NFL season on a high note in a winter wonderland Sunday, capturing a 17-3 win over the Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA. With speculation swirling whether this would be Patriots HC Bill Belichick's final contest after an historic 24-year run, the Jets gained a split in the season series behind a career-effort from Breece Hall paired with a dominant defensive performance.
Hall was a brilliant workhorse, carrying a career-high 37 times for a personal-best 178 yards including a 50-yard score. The Jets defense hounded Patriots QB Bailey Zappe all afternoon, registering 7 sacks and 10 PDs. With the snow-capped road victory, the Jets (7-10) equaled their win total from last season and ended a 15-game losing streak to the Patriots.
"Credit to them," HC Robert Saleh said of the streak. "You have to do something pretty special to be able to have a winning streak like that. Starting 2024 was the most important thing for us, starting strong and with a win. It was a really good effort from the team today."
Sacking Zappe twice in the first quarter, the Jets gained the upper hand in the field-position battle and used a short field to grab their first lead at the end of the first quarter in their past 16 meetings at New England. Taking over at the NE 38 with 7:20 left in the opening frame, the Jets moved to the opposition 3 before Greg Zuerlein connected from 21 yards out.
The Pats countered in the second stanza on Chad Ryland's 30-yard field goal, knotting the game at 3 with 9:32 remaining before halftime. Safety Tony Adams prevented a Mike Gesicki TD the previous play, neatly getting his hand on the ball and registering his fourth PD of the season. The battle of field goals continued when the Jets struck on Zuerlein's 40-yarder into the driving snow, culminating an 8-play, 56-yard drive. Second-year wideout Garrett Wilson got the march going with a 30-yard reception up the sideline and Hall added a pair of 12-yard carries.
With both teams battling the wintry conditions, the Jets went into intermission up, 6-3, after having outgained the Pats 133 to 69. New England didn't reach 100 yards until early in the fourth quarter and S Ashtyn Davis made a key play on a fourth-and-1, catching up an open Pharoah Brown to force a Zappe incompletion.
But the Jets had to sweat it out late when Davis' INT of Zappe in the waning minutes led to flip in possession the other way. While trying to lateral to CB Sauce Gardner, Davis was hit, and the ball was recovered by the Pats. Two plays later, Adams put the game on ice with an INT of a Zappe pass intended for Jalen Reagor. Hall finished it with a 50-yard TD and snow angels ensued for the Green & White. After a trying season, New York's AFC representative had reason to celebrate.
"Obviously not where any of us want to be or any of us expected to be at this point this year, but we all know what we have," Saleh said. "It may seem like we're really far away from the outside world, but we all know how close we are. Today's game was about starting 2024 on the right foot, getting a win and hopefully the first of many in 2024."
See the best game action photos during the 2023 season finale in New England.
Bryce Huff had 2 sacks and his team-leading sack total moved to 10.5. … Second-year WR Garrett Wilson, who had 2 catches for 34 yards, left in the third quarter with a head injury after Patriots S Jabrill Peppers appeared to inadvertently make contact with him following an incompletion along the Jets sideline. … Rookie C Joe Tippmann (ankle) was carted off in the third quarter and replaced by Chris Glaser. …. Pro Bowl DT Quinnen Williams, who this week became the first Jets defensive lineman since John Abraham in 2001 and '02 to be named to back-to-back Pro Bowls, became the fifth Jet with at least 4.5 sacks when he took down Bailey Zappe in the first quarter. Williams added to that total with his second sack of Zappe coming in the third quarter…. During "Fox NFL Sunday," league insider Jay Glazer said he expects that the Patriots and HC Bill Belichick would coach his last game for the Patriots on Sunday. … Entering the final weekend with a draft position of eighth in the first round, the Jets will wait for Sunday's late results to find their spot. … Greg Zuerlein hit on 2 of 3 FGAs with his miss coming from 49 yards out, a right to left shot that hit the left upright. … The Jets held the Patriots to 1 of 14 on third down. ... QB Bailey Zappe finished just 12 of 30 for 88 yards with 2 INTs. … With the win, the Jets finished 2-4 in the AFC East and 3-5 on the road.