The New England Patriots are back in the win column after four straight losses. Their last-second victory against the still winless New York Jets may not have been pretty, but it saw some impressive complementary football and in the end one play more being made. The Patriots therefore improve to 3-5 on the season.
Patriots (3-5) 30 : 27 Jets (0-9)
After winning the coin toss and electing to kick off, the Patriots started the game on defense and came close to a three-and-out. A missed tackle by Tashawn Bower allowed the Jets to convert, though, and keep the drive alive into New England’s red zone. At that point, however, J.C. Jackson was able to break up a potential touchdown pass from Joe Flacco intended for Breshad Perriman. New York still took the lead on a 35-yard field goal. [Patriots 0 : 0 Jets]
New England’s offense, meanwhile, answered with its best first quarter drive of the season: Cam Newton and company marched 75 yards in eight plays — including an impressive 12-yard run by Damien Harris to open the series, an 8-yard pass to Damiere Byrd on 3rd-and-5, and a 33-yard connection with Jakobi Meyers to set up a goal-to-go situation. On the very next play, the Patriots found the end zone courtesy of their quarterback:
The ensuing extra point was good as well, and the Patriots took a four-point lead with under four minutes left in the first period. [Patriots 7 : 3 Jets]
New England’s defense came close to making a big play of its own early in the next drive, but Devin McCourty was unable to hold onto a potential interception. Nevertheless, the unit did eventually hold on third down a few plays later to force a Jets punt that set the Patriots’ offense up at its own 7-yard line.
The Patriots were unable to build on the offensive rhythm they created on their first drive. While Newton and Meyers again connected to gain a first down — this time on an 11-yard reception — the series eventually stalled before even crossing the 30-yard line. A 60-yard punt by Jake Bailey plus a subsequent penalty against the Jets quickly flipped the field position in New England’s favor, though.
Even though the Jets had to start at their own 7-yard line, the Patriots’ defense was unable to capitalize and get off the field. Quite the opposite: New York was able to move the ball in chunks, thanks to a pass interference call against J.C. Jackson that was followed up by a 50-yard touchdown pass from Flacco to Breshad Perriman. [Patriots 7 : 10 Jets]
New England answered the Jets’ touchdown with a series that started in promising fashion. Strong runs by Rex Burkhead and Gunner Olszewski allowed the offense to drive into Jets territory again, but the series ended in disaster when James White fumbled on 4th-and-1. While Shaq Mason recovered the football, New York took over on downs — something that likely would have happened even if White had not lost the ball.
The home team capitalized on its prime starting field position on the next drive, even though it was unable to add another touchdown. Still, a 50-yard field goal by Sergio Castillo put the Jets up by six points with not even five minutes remaining in the first half. [Patriots 7 : 13 Jets]
This time, Cam Newton and company were able to respond. While it did not drive to its second touchdown of the night, the Patriots offense succeeded in adding more points before the half: it drove into New York’s side of the field, with Nick Folk capping the 9-play, 54-yard possession with a 45-yard field goal. [Patriots 10 : 13 Jets]
With only a minute left before intermission and the Jets 77 yards away from the end zone, the Patriots defense was in a comfortable position — or so it seemed. After besting J.C. Jackson on an earlier series, Breshad Perriman again played a big role on the final drive of the first half by drawing a 42-yard pass interference penalty against Jason McCourty. One play later, McCourty again was in coverage and the result was again bad: he surrendered a 20-yard touchdown pass while matched up with Jamison Crowder. [Patriots 10 : 20 Jets]
Coming out of the half, the Patriots started on offense and produced a solid drive. Behind a healthy mix of run and pass but most prominently a heavy dose of Rex Burkhead, New England marched 78 yards in 13 plays to bring the game within three points. Burkhead himself had the honor of finishing the possession when he found the end zone from one yard out — his sixth touch of the series:
The extra point was good again, and the Patriots down only three midway through the third period. [Patriots 17 : 20 Jets]
While the offense showed some signs of life to open the third quarter, the defense was again gashed. Its struggles against the run continued, and it failed to get off the field when in third down situations. As a result, New York easily drove down the field again to add to its lead: Perriman beat J.C. Jackson for a second time to haul in a 15-yard touchdown. [Patriots 17 : 27 Jets]
For as bad as the defense played on the previous series, the offense continued to show some signs of progress. The unit again moved the ball down the field and reached the Jets’ red area. At that point, however, the series stalled and the Patriots had to settle for three points again: Nick Folk was good from 29 yards out, though, to make it a one-possession game again. [Patriots 20 : 27 Jets]
New England’s defense had struggled all night long, but with only six minutes left made its first truly big play when J.C. Jackson capitalized on a terrible decision by Joe Flacco:
New England had a chance at a game-tying touchdown just two plays after the interception, but Newton overshot a wide-open Jakobi Meyers. That miss did not come back to haunt the Patriots, though, as some big plays by Meyers and Damiere Byrd set them up at the Jets’ 3-yard line. The first two attempts to get into the end zone were stopped, but Cam Newton was not denied on 3rd-and-goal from the 1:
Nick Folk was again on the mark for his extra point to tie the game. [Patriots 27 : 27 Jets]
The Patriots defense played a perfect complementary series after the touchdown. Following a short pass, Deatrich Wise Jr. sacked Joe Flacco to force a third-and-long that was not picked up. New York did burn 1:10 off the clock but eventually had to punt the football back to New England again with a chance for Cam Newton to lead his team to victory.
Newton did just that. He led his offense on a 45-yard series that set up a 51-yard kick for Nick Folk to win the game as the seconds were ticking down. The veteran kicker was spot on:
Folk’s kick split the uprights as time expired to give New England the lead, and the victory. [Patriots 30 : 27 Jets]