Forget about first-place for now, Jets fans.
Gang Green put up a good fight against the Patriots at MetLife Stadium on Sunday but lost 24-17 in the battle for first place in the AFC East. The Jets fell to 3-3, one game behind the 4-2 Patriots.
Even though the Jets lost, they proved they are for real in this game. They held a 14-0 lead in the first half and pulled to within a touchdown of the Patriots in the fourth quarter. In the end, it was too much Tom Brady (20-of-38, 257 yards, two touchdowns, one interception) and Rob Gronkowski (six catches, 83 yards, two touchdowns) and a questionable call by the officials in the fourth quarter that doomed them.
The Jets appeared to make it a 24-21 game midway through the fourth quarter, but the officials took the touchdown away after a controversial review. Quarterback Josh McCown threw what initially was ruled a 4-yard touchdown to Austin Seferian-Jenkins. The play was reviewed, though, and it was determined Seferian-Jenkins fumbled the ball and it went out of bounds in the end zone. That took the points off the board and gave the Patriots the ball at their own 20.
The Jets forced a punt quickly, and the Jets drove down the field again but had to settle for a 28-yard field goal from Chandler Catanzaro to cut the Pats’ lead to 24-17 with 3:40 left to play.
McCown completed 31-of-47 passes for 354 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in the game.
The Jets got one last chance to tie the game with 1:53 left in the game. They took over at their own 27 after a Patriots punt and a costly penalty on Jets cornerback Xavier Coleman on the punt return.
McCown hit Robby Anderson for a 32-yard gain on a fourth down, but the drive sputtered after that. A third-down sack by Kyle Van Noy set up a fourth-and-17 for the Jets. McCown ran out of magic, and his pass fell incomplete to end the game.
The Jets jumped out to a 14-0 lead, shocking the crowd which was about 50 percent Patriots fans. McCown connected on touchdown passes to Seferian-Jenkins and Jeremy Kerley that put the Patriots in an early hole.
The game swung in the second quarter. Buster Skrine nearly intercepted a Brady pass intended for Gronkowski, but he dropped it. If Skrine had picked the ball off, the Jets would have gotten the ball in New England territory with a chance to take a 21-point lead.
Instead, Brady drove the Patriots down the field for a touchdown. The key play was a questionable pass interference call on Jets rookie Jamal Adams in the end zone that gave the Patriots the ball on the 1. Dion Lewis scored the touchdown from there.
Skrine intercepted Brady with 3:13 left in the half, but the Jets could not convert it to points. Stephen Gostkowski missed a 47-yard field goal with 1:11 left, but the Patriots got one more chance to score before halftime. McCown threw an ill-advised pass to Robby Anderson along the sideline that Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler intercepted.
The turnover gave the Patriots the ball at their own 37 with 35 seconds left in the half. New England went 63 yards in six plays to tie the game. Brady hit wide receiver Brandin Cooks with a perfect pass down the sideline and over Morris Claiborne for a 42-yard gain. Two plays later, Brady hit Gronkowski for a 2-yard touchdown to send the game to halftime tied at 14-14.
New England extended the lead to 21-14 on the first drive of the third quarter. They went 75 yards on eight plays for the score. Brady connected with Gronkowski again, this time a 33-yard touchdown. Gronkowski beat Adams, who laid out to get the ball and missed.
New England added a field goal at the beginning of the fourth quarter to make it 24-14.