The final game to the regular season. The Jets traveled to Gillette Stadium to take on New England. With temperatures in the teens at kickoff, would New York play spoiler to the Patriots? Or would Gang Green be stopped cold in NFL Week 17?
The Jets offense could not get out of its own way.
After running back Dione Lewis rushed for a touchdown with safety Marcus Maye wrapped around his waist, New York had their first possession after 5 minutes in the 1st quarter.
But a false start on guard Dakota Dozier pushed the offense back 5 yards to the Jets 13 yard line. The penalty resulted in a punt and produced zero points.
On the next drive from their own 40 yard line, Bilal Powell ran to his left with open space in front of him & finally got tackled out of bounds by McCourty at the Patriots 36 line. Although the running back picked up 24 yards on the play, the Jets could not move the ball further into the enemy territory. The 48 yard field goal from Chandler Catanzaro finally put New York on the scoreboard 7-3 with 2 minutes remaining in the 1st quarter.
After a New England punt in the 2nd quarter, more miscues hurt the Jets offense.
Petty in the shotgun shoveled the pass to receiver JoJo Natson, who was running to the right. However, he doesn’t catch the ball properly & drops it. The incompletion leads to New York attempting a 40 yard field goal. Unfortunately, Catanzaro misses wide left and the Patriots take over at their own 30 yard line.
Ten plays and 73 yards later, Tom Brady throws a touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks as cornerbacks Buster Skrine and Morris Claiborne bump into each other near the endzone. Gang Green fell behind New England 14-3.
Another Brady TD pass to running back Dion Lewis would extend the lead to 21-3 to end the 1st half.
Coming out of the locker room, the Jets offense would continue to struggle as they scored no points in the 3rd quarter.
In the last 15 minutes of the game, a flag of unnecessary roughness against Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore would help the Jets get inside New England’s red zone.
With 10 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter, head coach Todd Bowles made a questionable decision.
Trailing 24-3, he sent Catanzaro out to kick a 35 yard field goal. Instead of going for a touchdown to make it a 2 score game, Bowles went for the safe field goal but the Jets were still behind by 3 possessions. Even the television commentators joked why New York didn’t go for it on 4th down & 9 from the Patriots 17 yard line.
To add insult to injury, Bryce was sacked in his own end zone on the final drive of the game for a safety, which increased the deficit to 26-6. The Jets record fell to 5-11 for the year while New England clinched home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.
The Jets offense finished the year as inept as they had been all season long. The quarterback showed no signs of being able to lead the team nor could he sustain drives. Petty threw 19 of 36 passes for 232 yards, for a measly 52% completion rate.
Gang Green self destructed with mindless penalties. The players committed 9 flags for 84 yards, which drove the offense further away from the 1st down marker on each possession. Between the offsides from the offensive line and the disastrous play from Bryce, it was no surprise that New York was 0 of 12 on third down and couldn’t convert one single 1st down.
The one time that the Patriots gifted the Jets offense a scoring opportunity in the red zone, the kicker missed a short field goal.
Now that their season is officially over, Gang Green will have to make the decision if Bryce Petty or Christian Hackenberg are the quarterbacks that will improve the offense for next year. The team has struggled to score points in every game, whether it was the fault of their passer, the offensive line or ridiculous penalties committed by the players on each possession that negated yards. And of course, Catanzaro missing makeable field goals did not help matters.
When these issues have been addressed in the offseason, perhaps the Jets offense will finally be able to move down the field and score touchdowns.