The draft is over, there’s nothing to do, no sports to watch, and nowhere to go. May as well stave off the boredom by knocking another item off the countdown of the Top 20 Most Memorable Patriots Moments of 2019.
The list so far:
20. The Patriots draft N’Keal Harry.
19. The Patriots trade for Mohammed Sanu.
18. Josh Gordon breaks three tackles to score the first Patriots touchdown of the 2019 season.
17. The kicker carousel.
16. A Kyle van Noy scoop and score ices the game against the New York Giants.
15. The refs screw the Pats out of not one, but two touchdowns against the Kansas City Chiefs.
At Number 14, we find ourselves revisiting a team that seems to show up a lot on these offseason countdowns.
14. The Patriots play the Jets twice - and the defense shuts them out twice.
Sure, it isn’t the rivalry it used to be, and hasn’t been for some time - but the semi-annual Pats vs. Jets matchup should get any New England fan’s dander up. And the 2018 Jets gave their fans something to be optimistic about for 2019; QB Sam Darnold showed real improvement as the year went on, and the thought was that 2019 was the year that the Jets would finally make some noise and maybe give the Patriots a run for their money. When the schedule was announced, the Week 3 matchup between New England and New York was one to watch.
However, Sam Darnold somehow managed to get mono, of all things, just after the season started, and then backup QB Trevor Siemian hurt his ankle in Week 2’s matchup against the Cleveland Browns. That left the Jets coming to Foxboro with the vaunted Luke Falk under center. Falk was a sixth round draft pick in 2018, selected by the Titans, but was waived before the season started. The Dolphins then claimed him, but placed him on IR for the year before waiving him in the Spring of 2019. He then made his way over to the Jets practice squad, got called up into emergency duty, and threw his first ever NFL pass against Cleveland the Week before. The Patriots, who had yet to give up a single touchdown all season to this point, represented his first start.
And the game went exactly as you’d expect it to. New York racked up just 105 yards of total offense, and the Pats were up 20-0 before the Jets even secured their first 1st down. New England recorded their 5th consecutive 1st half shutout, going back to last season, as the teams entered the locker room at halftime, then scored on two of their first three possessions of the 2nd half to make it 30-0. With the blowout on and the win secured, the starters all headed to the bench and the 2nd stringers came in. A muffed punt and a Jarrett Stidham pick six allowed the Jets to put 14 on the board, but by that time the game was well over and at no point was this anything resembling a contest.
These two teams met again just a few weeks later during a Week 7 contest in East Rutherford. Sam Darnold was back from his illness and had thrown for 330 yards and two TDs in an upset win over the Dallas Cowboys the week before. Maybe the Jets would give the Patriots more of a game this time around.
Tommy B opened the game with a 16 play, 78 yard drive that ended with a Sony Michel touchdown run. Sam Darnold then opened the game by throwing his first pass right to Devin McCourty to give the Patriots the ball back at the 12 yard line. The Patriots would score a field goal, then Jets would then immediately go three and out, and the Patriots would engineer another long touchdown drive for 17 unanswered first quarter points.
The second quarter didn’t fare much better for the Jets; their next two possessions ended in a fumble and then Darnold’s second pick of the day. The Patriots were able to better their halftime lead by four points this time around, taking a 24-0 halftime lead into the locker room.
New York’s first three possessions of the third quarter? Interception, safety, interception. New England would tack on another TD drive to complete the 33-0 drubbing, and Darnold would throw one more pick for good measure. He would finish his day with 11 completions on 32 attempts for 86 yards and four INTs. Combine that with Falk’s stat line from the first contest - 12 of 22 for 98 yards and a pick - and Jets quarterbacks were 23 of 54 for 184 yards and five interceptions. The defense didn’t allow a single point.
Now I know that, technically, the Patriots didn’t shut out the Jets twice in two contests. However, the defense definitely did. And if you’re of the ilk that wants to take a meaningless pick six thrown by a backup quarterback in garbage time as some kind of negative to take the experience away, odds are that you and I wouldn’t get along. For the rest of us, we can all take some time to laugh at the Jets and enjoy reliving these games here at Number 14.
Week 3 highlights here.
Week 7 highlights here.