NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The game film confirmed everything the New York Jets already figured.
A victory was there for the taking against the New England Patriots on Sunday. They just couldn’t seal the deal.
“I think the hardest thing to swallow,” right guard Willie Colon said Monday, “was that we had them right where we wanted to.”
New York took a 17-16 lead into the fourth quarter, and Nick Folk’s 30-yard field goal made it 20-16 with just under 13 minutes left.
That’s when Tom Brady went to work.
The Patriots quarterback completed 14 of 17 passes while leading New England on two touchdown drives for a 30-23 victory at Gillette Stadium.
“We were the more physical team,” Colon said. “I felt like we were able to make a lot of big plays on third down that kept the drives going. We just didn’t score enough touchdowns. When it came late in the game, obviously Brady took over and those guys made the bigger plays that counted. You have to take your hats off to them.”
With the loss, the Jets dropped to 4-2 — two games behind the AFC East-leading Patriots, who remained undefeated at 6-0.
Some fans and media were impressed by how tough the Jets played their rivals, narrowing the gap perhaps in a division that has been won by the Patriots 12 of the last 14 years. All that, though, meant little to coach Todd Bowles.
“There are no statements when you lose,” he said. “You’ve got to win games. We’re not in this thing to play close games.”
And with that, the Jets were already turning their focus on their next opponent: the Oakland Raiders, who are 3-3 after a 37-29 victory at San Diego.
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was actually reviewing tape of the Raiders — “multitasking,” he called it — while speaking to the media on a conference call.
“We’re onto the next game here and trying to figure out the best way to attack Oakland,” Fitzpatrick said. “In every game, you’re going to learn stuff and there’s some stuff that we learned from, whether it was situations or whether it was different routes or the way that we called certain plays, we’ll get better each and every game. You’ve got to be quick to move on.”
That doesn’t mean the loss to the Patriots didn’t sting.
Brandon Marshall dropped a pass in the end zone in the fourth quarter on a drive in which the Jets had to settle for a field goal and just a four-point lead rather than eight points. Marshall also was called for a false start penalty that ended the game after New York had recovered an onside kick and reached the Patriots 37 one play later.
Bowles also took some heat for his clock management and not using any of the Jets’ timeouts during the Patriots’ final touchdown drive.
“They were all positive plays,” he said of the Patriots’ drive. “Had we stopped them at any shorter time when we could have used a timeout, we would have used it.”
The Jets also had no answer for Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who had 11 catches for 108 yards and a touchdown. But they did shut down New England’s running game, holding the Patriots to 16 total yards on nine rushes — with Brady leading the team with 15 yards.
With New York running back Chris Ivory dealing with tightness in one of his hamstrings, he finished with just 41 yards on 17 carries.
“Everybody was kind of disappointed,” Colon said. “I think at the end of the day, we all understand where we’re at. We still control our season, we still control our fate. The one thing we can’t do is let this resonate.”
Certainly not against the Raiders, who turned two interceptions of Philip Rivers into 10 points on Sunday against San Diego and got three TD passes from Derek Carr.
Rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper already has 33 catches for 519 yards and three TDs, including three games of 100 or more yards receiving.
Bowles plans to have the Jets leave for Oakland after practice Friday, making no changes to the itinerary despite the cross-country flight.
“We have to learn from our mistakes and clean up the little things, but if we linger on this game, then we’re going to get beat next week,” Bowles said. “Oakland played a heck of a ball game (Sunday). We know we have to move on. We know what kind of fight we have …”
(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)