The Jets talked all offseason about winning the division and getting a home playoff game.
After Sunday night’s performance, it looks like they’ll have to win on the road in the playoffs once again — if they make it.
New England’s 37-16 win over the Jets was so disheartening for the Jets in so many ways.
Mark Sanchez and the Jets offense could not take advantage of a poor Patriots secondary that lost two starters (again) Sunday night. The Jets defense played well for a while, but could not get a stop when they needed to in the second half. Even the vaunted Jets special teams made a big miscue.
New York led 9-6 with just over one minute left in the first half. The “stupidest play in football history” turned the tide. What happened after that was a full system meltdown:
1. Tom Brady led the Patriots 80 yards in 71 seconds to score before halftime.
2. Donald Strickland fumbled a punt early in the second half to set up a Patriots field goal.
3. Mark Sanchez was picked off on a tipped pass by Rob Ninkovich. The Jets defense didn’t get a stop again until the game was decided.
4. Tom Brady put the Patriots in a hurry up for the rest of the half. The Jets couldn’t substitute and Brady kept finding the open receiver. After a shaky first half with missed throws, Brady wound up with 329 yards on 39 attempts with three scores.
5. Rob Gronkowski scored two touchdowns and gained 113 yards. He’s the best all-around tight end in football right now.
Even when Sanchez finished off a touchdown drive early in the fourth quarter, the Patriots drove right back on them with ease. Ninkovich’s pick six finished off the scoring.
The Jets now trail the Patriots in the AFC East by one game, but the Patriots have the tiebreaker following their two-game sweep. The Patriots should win the division.
After a very challenging schedule to start the year, New England faces six straight losing teams. No game is guaranteed considering the Patriots’ wildly thin defense, but Bill Belichick is nothing if not resourceful. They should get the job done.
The Jets find themselves in a familiar position, fighting uphill once again. They will likely have to go on the road to win the playoffs.
They must wonder if Mark Sanchez will ever be ready to make a bad defense pay.
He wasn’t ready Sunday night, which means the changing of the guard in the AFC East will have to wait another year.