The Jets gave the Patriots their stiffest challenge of the young season on Sunday afternoon, but they failed to slow down Tom Brady when it mattered most.
The veteran quarterback threw for 150 yards and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, leading New England (6-0) to a 30-23 comeback victory over the Jets.
The Jets (4-2) put up a tough fight under first-year head coach Todd Bowles at Gillette Stadium for the three quarters. Ryan Fitzpatrick’s (295 passing yards, two touchdowns) timely passing helped the Jets regularly convert third down conversions and keep New England’s offense off the field for much of the contest.
Chris Ivory’s nine-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter capped a 13-play drive and gave the Jets a 17-16 lead. Nick Folk added a field goal in the early fourth quarter to stretch the lead to 20-16, before Brady (34-of-54, 355 yards) responded with a pair of clutch drives in the final period. First, Danny Amendola’s six-yard touchdown reception gave New England a 23-20 lead with 7:16 remaining in the game. Minutes later Brady connected with Rob Gronkowski (game-high 108 receiving yards) on a 14-yard touchdown strike to put the Jets away.
Brandon LaFell struggles to shake off rust in season debut
The veteran receiver returned from a left foot injury to see his first action of the season in week seven but struggled to make plays for most of the afternoon. Despite being targeted eight times, he finished with a mere two receptions for 25 yards. LaFell dropped six of those targets, and Bill Belichick responded to those ball control issues by benching the wide receiver in favor of Scott Chandler or Aaron Dobson on several drives in the second half.
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Danny Amendola steps up
With LaFell and Julian Edelman dealing with drops, Brady turned to another of his receiving options in the fourth quarter: Amendola. The 29-year-old was a sponge in the final period, making five of his eight receptions of the day in the frame including an acrobatic catch along the sideline. On an afternoon when the Patriots’ offense was shorthanded, due to the absence of Dion Lewis (abdomen), Amendola stepped up to help keep New England undefeated.
Same old Jets
Despite a valiant effort, the Jets still shot themselves in the foot on several pivotal plays in the fourth quarter. An all-out blitz on New England’s final drive left Gronkowski wide-open for a 14-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter, causing the Jets to fall behind by two scores. Brandon Marshall also cost the Jets’ offense one last chance to tie the game. After the Jets recovered an onside kick with a few ticks remaining, the Jets advanced the ball into Patriots territory before the wide receiver was whistled for failing to get set before the snap. The illegal procedure call led to a 10 second clock runoff, ending the game on the penalty.