Taking on the AFC East-leading New England Patriots in Week 12 at MetLife Stadium, the New York Jets came up short, 27-13, losing their fifth-straight game. Let’s take a deeper look into what transpired and identify the top five takeaways from the matchup.
Heading into the contest against the New England Patriots, the New York Jets, now 3-8 following the loss, weren’t expected to put up much of a fight, although they did to a certain extent. In fact, the game was all tied up at 10 entering the half, but things soon to began to unravel for the Jets as the second half wore on.
Ultimately, it was yet another poor performance from the Jets in what has turned out to be a rather lackluster year. With that being in mind, let’s take a look some of the biggest takeaways from the Week 12 matchup, listed in no particular order.
5. Second half struggles continue
Throughout much of 2017 and now into 2018, one of the biggest criticisms aimed at the Jets involved the team’s inability to close out games, or in other words, the team’s inability to play a full 60 minutes of football and that once again proved to be true on Sunday as the team took on the Patriots.
Starting out, the Jets actually looked solid on both sides of the ball, jumping out to a 7-0 lead after veteran quarterback Josh McCown connected with Jermaine Kearse for a touchdown in the first quarter. And at the end of the first half, the game was tied at 10 with the Jets very much in it.
However, as we’ve seen so many times in recent memory, the Jets fell apart in the second half. Offensively, the team lost its spark, only putting three points on the board during the final 30 minutes of play. And defensively, the Jets could no longer contain the Patriots’ offense, allowing 17 points in the second half.
As the Jets continue to attempt to rebuild, fixing this issue will become vital to the team’s long-term success.
Next: 4. Poor coaching decisions
4. Poor coaching decisions
Throughout the 2018 season thus far, the Jets’ coaching staff, specifically head coach Todd Bowles and offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates, has come under extreme fire due to questionable decision making and a lack of creativity when it comes to playcalling.
This continued in Week 12, as both Bowles and Bates once again made questionable calls.
Starting off with Bowles, the head coach elected not to decline an offensive pass-interference penalty against the Patriots in the first quarter. Had he declined the penalty, the Patriots would’ve faced a fourth-and-2 on the Jets’ 24-yard line. Instead, the Patriots faced a third-and-12 on the Jets’ 34, which allowed Tom Brady the chance to connect with tight end Rob Gronkowski for a 34-yard touchdown.
Moving on to Bates, the first-year coordinator once again had a concerning day dialing up plays. First off, he decided to pass the ball 50 times while running the ball only 12 times despite the fact that the Jets were averaging 4.9 yards per carry. In addition, despite the abundance of pass plays, Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson, the team’s top two receivers, were only targeted a combined nine times throughout the game.
It’s just hard to understand what Bates is thinking at times.
Next: 3. Lack of takeaways on defense
3. Lack of takeaways on defense
Prior to the start of the 2018 season, the Jets defense was expected to serve as a strong suit for the team. In fact, some players expected the unit to be amongst the league’s best, but that hasn’t been the case.
The unit has been inconsistent, to say the least, but one of the more concerning statistics regarding the defense is the lack of takeaways.
Including the game against the Patriots, the Jets have now gone five straight games without a takeaway, which is a franchise record. Sure, many areas on the team need to improve, but the defense certainly needs to step up and begin making a larger impact on games.
Next: 2. Improved performance from the offensive line
2. Improved performance from the offensive line
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Now that we have the negative takeaways out of the way, let’s move on to some positives.
Throughout the season, one of the biggest areas of concern for the Jets has been with the offensive line, which has been rather weak for the most part. Prior to the season, general manager Mike Maccagnan signed center Spencer Long in hopes that he would have a positive impact on the line as a whole, but that hasn’t been the case.
In fact, Long has been utterly dreadful for the most part, although that could be due in large part to a finger injury he suffered which has hindered his snapping ability.
Interestingly enough, however, the offensive line actually performed quite well against the Patriots. With guard James Carpenter sidelined, the Jets moved Long to guard and started Jonotthan Harrison at center. This proved to be quite beneficial, as McCown was only sacked twice despite dropping back 50 times.
Improving the offensive line will remain an area of focus this offseason, but the unit’s performance against the Patriots was certainly a step in the right direction.
Next: 1. Jamal Adams continues to perform at a high level
1. Jamal Adams continues to perform at a high level
Overall, 2018 has been brutal for the Jets.
The offense has been abysmal for the most part and the defense has been nothing short of inconsistent. None of those words can be used to describe second-year safety Jamal Adams though.
After an impressive rookie season, Adams has only ramped up his production this year and he’s continued to not only emerge as a leader and as one of the Jets’ premier players but as one of the league’s best safeties as well.
This showed against the Patriots, as Adams put on one of his best performances of the year, as he finished with 10 tackles and multiple big-time plays.
In the first quarter, Adams drilled Gronkowski on a third down, breaking up a pass and forcing the Patriots to punt. Later in the half, he locked down Gronkowski on back-to-back plays in the red zone to prevent what could have been a touchdown on either play.
In a season to forget, Adams has consistently put on performances to remember.