NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
The NY Jets lost a last-second matchup to the New England Patriots and fell to 0-9.
The NY Jets fell to 0-9 for the first time in franchise history following a last-second 51-yard Nick Folk field goal that allowed the arch-rival New England Patriots to escape with the 30-27 victory.
It was the most competitive the Jets had been all season — far and away their best performance of the 2020 campaign. But yet, despite entering with a 10-point fourth-quarter lead, they still managed to fall short.
To some, this will be yet another heartbreaking defeat at the hands of their biggest rivals on national television. But for many others, Folk’s kick splitting the uprights prompted a sigh of relief.
With the Jets facing a must-lose game for the sake of draft position, Joe Flacco and company led the Jets to their best showing of the season against a beat-up Patriots team that seemingly did everything they could to lose the game.
But they were not to be outdone by Adam Gase and the Jets who allowed three straight scoring drives to finish the game coupled with killer defensive penalties and an ill-timed Flacco interception to seal the deal.
Both teams tried their hardest not to win. But the Jets evidently tried harder.
What can we take away from the Jets’ historic performance in Week 9? Let’s take a look.
Next: 3. Joe Flacco shows out
NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
3. NY Jets’ quarterback Joe Flacco shows out
Sam Darnold who?
The third-year quarterback re-aggravated his shoulder injury in the team’s Week 8 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs and was forced to miss this week’s game after a setback in practice.
As a result, the Jets called upon the veteran Flacco to start once again. In his two previous starts, Flacco led the Jets’ offense to a total of 10 points. They doubled that total by the end of the first half.
Flacco legitimately played lights out finishing 18-of-25 for 262 yards and three touchdowns. If not for a back-breaking interception on an ill-advised shot play late in the fourth quarter, his day would have been pretty much spotless.
The 35-year-old twice found Breshad Perriman in the end zone as the speedy deep threat finished with five catches for 102 yards — by far his best outing with the Jets. And he should have had a third too, but a first-quarter dropped touchdown didn’t help Flacco’s box score.
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Flacco also made what was probably the throw of the year for any Jets quarterback finding Jamison Crowder in the back corner of the end zone on what was an absolute dime of a pass.
They don’t get any better than that, and on Monday, Flacco showed he still has something left in the tank. And in all honesty, his performance was significantly better than anything we’ve seen out of Sam Darnold this year.
Does this mean anything? No, not really. Flacco doesn’t have a future with the Jets and Darnold likely doesn’t either at this point.
But for one night, Flacco showed the football world that he can still play at a high level. And it was almost enough to pull off the upset.
Next: 2. Rookies get in on the action
2. The NY Jets’ rookies got in on the action
If the Jets were going to lose, this was the way to do it. Not only did they fall just short in a competitive contest, but various rookies and young players helped lead the way — aside from Flacco, of course.
On offense, Denzel Mims flashed again finishing with four catches for a career-high 62 yards. He showed off his YAC ability multiple times stiff-arming defenders to pick up extra yards.
The second-round pick is quickly becoming a reliable receiver and his development over the final seven games will be something to keep an eye on.
La’Mical Perine also showed off his soft hands hauling in a pair of grabs for 19 yards. While he hasn’t been able to get much going in the ground game, the fourth-round rookie is showing that he should likely feature in the Jets’ backfield plans in 2021 and beyond.
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On defense, rookie third-round pick Ashtyn Davis bounced back in a huge way after struggling in his first career start against Kansas City. The Cal product finished with five tackles and should have recorded his first career sack if not for a questionable roughing the passer call.
The Jets loved using Davis down in the box — similar to how Jamal Adams was utilized — which allowed him to make use of his incredible athleticism. He’s still learning to harness his speed and athleticism, but his talent is evident every time he steps on the field.
Elsewhere, the likes of Bryce Hall, Jabari Zuniga, and Bryce Huff each received playing time, albeit to mixed results. It was just nice seeing guys like Hall and Zuniga on the field after missing most of the season to this point.
The Jets’ rookie class is finally getting healthy and the rest of the season should be devoted to development and seeing what you have in them.
Let’s just hope that Mekhi Becton, who left early with a chest injury, is going to be okay.
Next: 1. Losing was the best outcome
NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Kevin R. Wexler/NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK
1. The NY Jets losing was the best outcome
There is no “right” way to cheer on your favorite team. But it’s impossible to argue that losing this game wasn’t the best-case scenario for the Jets.
With the Jacksonville Jaguars breathing down their necks in the race for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Jets couldn’t afford to win their first game of the season.
A win would have temporarily given the Jaguars the top spot with little hope for a changing of the guards in the foreseeable future. Both teams have incredibly difficult remaining schedules and this was one game the Jets absolutely had to lose.
It didn’t look good at points, but the Jets ultimately found a way to be the Jets and blow it again. This time, however, they were doing their organization a favor.
A loss in Week 9 means the Jets are fully on pace to finish with the worst record in the NFL and secure the first overall pick — and, as such, their shot at Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
This was the most winnable game remaining on the Jets’ schedule. They were at home facing an ice-cold Patriots team playing without their best player. And despite New England doing everything to lose the game, they still emerged victorious.
It takes a truly special team to pull off what the Jets did on Monday night.
It’s never fun to lose, but this is for the greater good of the organization. Wins at this stage mean next to nothing and only serve as short-term gratification.
But this is about the bigger picture.
In a must-lose game, the Jets did their part and lost. And they did so in dramatic, heart-wrenching fashion.