By Abe Gutierrez
Dealing with kidney stones and gall bladder issues, the New York Jets’ head coach, Todd Bowles nearly missed coaching the team’s week 16 matchup. Unfortunately, the team did their head coach no favors, as the New England Patriots dismantled the Jets to the tune of 41-3. The loss dropped the Jets record to 4-11 and questions regarding Bowles coaching future continues to be a hot topic in the Big Apple.
A slow start quickly turned into a forgettable game for the Jets, particularly on offense. After being named the starting quarterback for the final four games of the season, Bryce Petty has struggled to stay healthy long enough to showcase his abilities.
For a second straight week, the former Baylor standout was forced to leave the game due to injury. This time, Petty rode the pine after dislocating his left (non-throwing) shoulder and going 0-for-3 in pass attempts for no yards and a pick.
From there, Ryan Fitzpatrick took over as quarterback, but did little to help the Jets’ cause. The Harvard-product went 8-for-21 for 136 yards, no touchdowns and a pair of interceptions for a quarterback rating of 21.2.
The Jets’ offense finished the week with 14 first downs (6 passing plays, 7 rushing plays and one from a penalty). The team had 239 yards of offense (111 rushing yards, 128 passing yards) and ended with one third down conversion and a mountain of turnovers.
When Patriots’ quarterback, Tom Brady (17-for-27 for 214 yards, 3 TDs and no INTs for a 124.6 QBR) is on, there aren’t too many defenses in the NFL that can contain him. Saturday was a perfect example of that, as the four-time Super Bowl champ was surgical and there was nothing the Jets’ defense could do to stop him.
The Pats would go on to move the sticks 21 times total (12 passes, 6 through the ground and 3 via penalty), which tallied 325 yards of offense (211 passing yards, 114 rushing yards) and torched the defense on third down going 11-for-18. The Jets’ defensive standouts included Muhammad Wilkerson (7 tackles: 2 solo, 5 assist, 1 sack), Rontez Miles (12 tackles: 5 solo, 7 assist) and David Harris (7 tackles: 3 solo, 4 assist).
Special Teams: C-
From a special teams standpoint, kicker Nick Folk went 1-for-2 on field goal attempts, credited for the only score of the game from 29 yards out. Punter Lachlan Edwards certainly did his part, booting the rock 4 times for an average of 45 yards per punt. He had a long of 49 yards and twice pinned the Patriots inside their own 20-yard line. Returner Nick Marshall had 4 kickoff returns for 57 yards, along with 2 punt returns for 7 yards.
The Jets simply couldn’t get going on either side of the football and the results speak volumes. When a team performs the way the Jets did then the blame falls on the coaching staff. Penalties were once again an issue this week, as the Jets were penalized six times for negative 77 yards, while the Pats were only flagged three times for a loss of 20 yards.
Up Next: Jets close 2016 NFL season at home against the Buffalo Bills
Hoping to end the 2016 NFL season on a high note, New York returns home to host AFC East division rival, Buffalo Bills. The season finale for both clubs is scheduled for Sunday, January 1, 2017 at 1 p.m. ET from MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.