New York’s final home game of the 2014 season – and likely, head coach Rex Ryan’s final home game period – was against New England. Somehow, the Jets always manage to dial it up against the Patriots, and Ryan’s first win at home was against the Patriots, a 16-9 victory in 2009. It looked for awhile as if some script has been written, where somehow, after six seasons, Rex would book end his Giants Stadium/MetLife career in front of the home fans with a win.
It was a valiant effort that ultimately fell short, a sad 17-16 loss and an ending that Jets fans had seen before, all too often, in the last few years.
New York’s first drive went three and out, but so did New England’s. The Jets blitzed on third down, and David Harris and Calvin Pace converged on Tom Brady for a sack reminiscent of 2010. Things were stagnant for the first quarter, with both offenses held scoreless. The defense sacked Brady multiple times and made some good plays, and the Jets offense was just its usual inept.
The Patriots broke through early in the second when a 37 yard Danny Amendola runback set up New England on a short field. Brady hit Rob Gronkowski in the end zone. Surprisingly enough, the Jets managed to tie the game 7-7 on their very next drive. Not long after Jets warrior Nick Mangold, surrounded by teammates and Patriots, was carted off the field with an injury, Geno Smith threw a perfect pass to Jeff Cumberland, who completed his half of the deal by actually catching the ball, and the Jets were on the board.
The Jets managed to take the lead late in the half on a Nick Folk field goal. The Jets led at the half, and extended their lead to 13-7 in the third quarter before New England managed to score again with a field goal, and then took the lead 17-13 when Smith threw a brutal interception to give the Patriots a short field. The Jets kicked another field goal to make it 17-16, but Nick Folk missed a 52 yarder and the score didn’t change again.
There was a fun moment there late in the half when the Patriots came up short on third down (with a measurement) and got a first down anyway. It left everyone baffled but makes it understandable why maybe Jets fans have a victim complex. Ryan threw the challenge flag, but it ultimately remained a first down for New England. When the guys on can’t even make an attempt to explain anything to the audience, you know there’s no explanation that’s going to make any sense, so you might as well forget about it.
Geno Smith flashed his Pro Bowl skills today, but a poorly timed interception and his and the coaching staff’s inability to manage a red zone offense hurt the Jets again. His final line on the day was 17 of 27 for 210 yards with one touchdown, one interception, and a quarterback rating of 83.9.
Defensive lineman Mo Wilkerson returned to the lineup today after missing several games with a toe injury. Mangold didn’t return after being carted off. Ryan told reporters after the game that Mangold’s leg wasn’t broken but he was on crutches. Mangold also spoke to the media, saying he was going to have more tests.
The Jets wrap up their long since lost season next week in Miami against the Dolphins. Kickoff is at 1:00.