Here are five takeaways from the Jets’ fifth consecutive loss, officially eliminating them from winning the AFC East:
1) BAD CALL, TODD
Todd Bowles’ decision to accept an offensive pass interference penalty in the first quarter was not sound based on feel or statistics. Tom Brady naturally made Bowles pay by throwing a 34-yard touchdown to Rob Gronkowski on the next play, because, well, he’s Tom F—-n’ Brady. Bowles said that there were better odds to stop the Patriots on 3rd and 12 rather than 4th and 2 (since the Jets assumed that The Evil Empire would go for it).
The Jets had already stopped Brady & Co. on third down, so why give Brady another crack at it. (Gang Green entered the game second in third down defense, but none of the previous third downs were against the best quarterback to have ever played the game).
It felt like a poor decision in real-time. Sure, it was technically 3rd and 12, but it was really 3rd and 9. Because if the Patriots had just picked up 10 yards on the play after the accepted penalty, it would have been 4th and 2 again. And by Bowles’ rationale, New England would have gone for it if it were 4th and 2 again, anyway.
Regardless, the numbers didn’t back up Bowles’ decision, either. The Jets had allowed five conversions on 25 attempts on 3rd-and-12-plus yards, according to ESPN Stats and Information. That ranked 28th in the league.
Bottom line: It was a poor decision by the head coach.
2) IMBALANCED OFFENSE
What in the name of the Silver Stretch Offense is going on out here? Offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates inexplicably dialed up 50 pass plays and only 12 runs in a game that was tied late in the third quarter.
The irony, of course, is that Monday morning quarterbacks had been whining about too many unimaginative runs into stacked boxes for the past six weeks or so. I never agreed with pounding your head into a brick wall over and over, but this pass-run split was overboard. Bates is a much better schemer than he’s gotten credit for this year, but this imbalance is indefensible. The Patriots were pedestrian against the run and pass entering this game, so there were multiple ways to attack them. But you can’t have such a disparity.
The Jets dialed nearly four times as many passes as runs (23-6) in a first half that ended 10-10. I don’t understand that thinking, especially given that the Patriots had just allowed 150 rushing yards in their previous game.
“All in all, I think we moved the ball up and down the field efficiently,” left tackle Kelvin Beachum said. “We just didn’t get the seven like we needed to.”
The imbalance partly contributed to the Patriots’ nine-minute time of possession advantage. New England controlled the game on the ground (215 yards). Meanwhile, Josh McCown threw 19 incompletions.
3. DEFENSE, YOU THERE?
Where did the Jets opportunistic defense go?
Gang Green hasn’t had a takeaway in five consecutive games. Remember when Bowles’ team had five interceptions in their season-opening rout in Detroit? Well, they’ve only had seven takeaways in the 10 games since that night. Not good.
“We obviously didn’t do enough,” linebacker Darron Lee said. “We lost…. They made a couple more plays than we did. As a competitor, you got to be honest and be real about the situation. That’s all that happened.”
Real talk: The Patriots made key plays in key moments… over and over again.
4) ‘OUR ACHILLES HEEL’
The Jets gave up too many explosive plays.
There’s no excuse for allowing 10 plays of at least 20 yards. Bowles attributed that to “some people trying to do too much and over-jumping their gaps.”
“It’s the same issues…” defensive lineman Leonard Williams said. “It’s an execution problem at this point. We’ll have the right play in. We’ll have the right defense in. We’ll have the right guys in. Everyone’s playing with a lot of energy and high motors, but we just don’t execute the play properly, the way we’re supposed to. It’s something that’s been our Achilles heel all season. If we can’t execute the defense or make the big plays like we need to, great teams like the Patriots are going to beat us. It’s up to us to change that.”