One losing streak came to an end Monday night at MetLife Stadium.
The New England Patriots visited and defeated the winless New York Jets by a score of 30-27 as time expired, moving to a 3-5 record on the campaign along the way.
Here’s a glance back through the AFC East encounter.
The Newton-to-Meyers connection grows to the tune of 169 yards
Jakobi Meyers played 22 offensive snaps through the first handful of games this fall. But in the games since then, the former North Carolina State quarterback recruit has become the primary wide receiver for his former 7-on-7 football coach.
Cam Newton completed 10 passes for 118 yards to Meyers through New England’s losses to the San Francisco 49ers and Buffalo Bills. And against the Jets, he and Meyers would continue the trend with 12 completions worth 169 yards. Meyers had career highs in both departments before halftime on his birthday.
Undrafted a spring ago, Meyers made his second start of the season for a wideout room that included Damiere Byrd, Gunner Olszewski and the called-up Kristian Wilkerson. With Julian Edelman on injured reserve, N’Keal Harry in concussion protocol and trade acquisition Isaiah Ford exempt, that was the unit for Newton. The QB finished 27-of-35 for 274 yards under the lights. He began 11-of-11 through the air and went on to target Meyers a total of 14 times, including a 30-yard corner route on the opening drive. The initial first-quarter touchdown of the season followed as Newton reached over the goal line. He’d get another.
A depth chart of one continues for the Patriots at tight end
Rookie tight end Dalton Keene did not make the trip to East Rutherford after being listed as questionable on the final injury report with a knee issue. And with fellow third-round arrival Devin Asiasi placed on IR last week, Ryan Izzo stood as the lone active option on the New England 53-man roster.
For the second game in a row.
Izzo, who’d been limited by a hamstring in practice, entered with nine of the NFL-low 10 receptions totaled by Patriots tight ends this year. Some pony sets, some fullback Jakob Johnson and some tackle-eligible looks were ahead for an organization that claimed Jordan Thomas off waivers from the Arizona Cardinals on Monday, according to ESPN’s Mike Reiss. The No. 211 overall pick in the 2018 draft out of Mississippi State, Thomas will bring 25 career games and a dozen starts to a depth chart thin on experience and health.
Burkhead, Harris split New England’s backfield share
The 21-day window for Sony Michel to be activated from injured reserve remains open. And Damien Harris, the SEC product drafted one year and two rounds later, remained the starting running back for the Patriots on Monday night.
But Swiss Army knife Rex Burkhead provided more than a change of pace in the company of Harris, who had averaged 5.7 yards per carry with a pair of 100-yard outings over the past month. Harris gained a dozen on the first play and gained 11 more to begin the second half against the Jets. He had 71 yards on 14 carries before exiting late for the locker room with a chest injury. Burkhead crossed into the end zone to make it a 20-17 game and wound up with 56 yards on 12 carries.
New England backfield captain James White fumbled on a fourth down.
An August resemblance in November
Shoulder, elbow and knee ailments kept defensive tackle Lawrence Guy sidelined for the first time in his Patriots tenure. A calf issue also left inside linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley in Foxborough.
In the absence of the two up front, New England started Nick Thurman next to Byron Cowart on the interior, Terez Hall at inside linebacker next to hybrid safety Adrian Phillips, as well as Tashawn Bower at outside linebacker across from John Simon. Shades of August reps in November.
The Patriots made Hall a standard elevation in the hours leading up to the 8:15 p.m. ET kickoff while Bower signed to the 53. Hall’s stay on the practice squad had been continuous dating back to its formation in 2019. The Missouri Tiger recorded five tackles in his first NFL game beyond the preseason. It would be an extended look for several on that side of the ball. Count Chase Winovich among them. The sophomore edge-rusher saw a spike in snaps a week after logging a sparse five. But New England did not get home for a sack until the closing minute.
Flacco turns back the clock against the strength of the Patriots’ defense
During his video conference call on Saturday, Jets head coach Adam Gase shared that Joe Flacco would be under center “unless something strange happens.” That proved true. Sam Darnold went from doubtful to the inactives list after aggravating his previous AC joint sprain. And in his place was a 35-year-old quarterback who’d gone 1-4 in the regular season and 2-2 in the postseason as a starter against the Patriots.
Flacco proceeded to hit wide receiver Breshad Perriman on a play-action double move that became a 50-yard TD over J.C. Jackson. He then hit a toe-dragging Jamison Crowder over Jason McCourty with 25 seconds to go before intermission to make it 20-10. Both cornerbacks were flagged for pass interference as the New England secondary went without reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore due to a knee injury.
That would be no excuse for the room Flacco was afforded. The Super Bowl XLVII MVP had more passing yards in one half than the Jets had averaged per game this season. He would find Perriman for points again as Jackson hit the turf in the third quarter to make it 27-17. Flacco finished with 262 yards on 18-of-25 passing to go with the three scores.
Jackson’s fourth pick in four games shifts the narrative
The aforementioned Jackson would have a chance at redemption with six minutes to play in a game separated by seven.
Jackson chased down a pass to the warning track intended for Jets rookie wideout Denzel Mims. The result was an interception, and the cornerback’s fourth in as many games. It tied Devin McCourty in 2019 and Mike Haynes in 1976 for New England’s franchise record.
An 11-play, 77-yard drive ensued for the Patriots to even things at 27 all. And the offense would get the ball back with 47 seconds to work with. It’d be enough for Newton to connect with Meyers once more. And for a 51-yard field goal from kicker Nick Folk to sail through.