3 Takeaways | Jets Second-Half Opportunities 'Couldn't Come to Fruition' in Loss to Pats

The Jets (1-2) lost to the Patriots (1-2) at MetLife Stadium Sunday. Here are three takeaways from Week 3.

Second Half Defense
The Jets defense, which was stellar against the Patriots last season, found its form in the second half after allowing 216 yards and 6 of 10 third downs in the first half. New England totaled 142 yards and was held to 2 of 9 on third down in the final two quarters. The Green & White has allowed two offensive touchdowns in their last three games against the Pats including yesterday’s 58-yard catch-and-run from TE Pharoah Brown.

The Jets weren’t able to take down QB Mac Jones Sunday after sacking the 2021 first-round pick 6 times in each matchup last season. Jones, however, faced pressure on 41.4% of his dropbacks against the Jets, the highest pressure rate he’s faced in a single game in his three-year career. Jets All-Pro DT Quinnen Williams’ 7 pressures Sunday led the team and tied a single-game career high. He caused pressure on 30.4% of his pass rushes, the highest rate in a single game of his career.

“I thought they did a really nice job in the second half locking down, giving us as many opportunities as possible,” head coach Robert Saleh said. “We had some opportunities at the football. It was there, it was live. On a couple of occasions, I felt like we were about that close from flipping the game. … I felt like in the second half we had some opportunities, it just couldn’t come to fruition.”

Offense Struggles to Find Rhythm
It took a while for the offense to find its groove. The group totaled 171 yards Sunday, 87 of which came on the 13-play scoring drive that resulted in Nick Bawden’s 1-yard rushing touchdown to cut the deficit, 13-10. Quarterback Zach Wilson went 7-for-10 for 79 yards after completing 9 of his 17 passes for 47 yards prior.

“I think we were just going fast,” RB Breece Hall said of the scoring possession. “We started to pick up their blitzes a lot and just got going as an offense. Sometimes it takes a while for an offense to keep going and it just took longer than we wanted it to, so we didn’t get the job done.”

Bawden added: “I just know that we got into a rhythm as an offense. Plays were going our way, we were executing and had an opportunity there to put some points on the board.”

The Green & White’s third-down offense continued to struggle Sunday. After converting 1 of 10 against the Cowboys last week, the Jets went 2 of 14 on third down (14%) in against the Patriots.

Special Teams Remain Consistent
The Jets special teams remained consistent in Sunday’s loss to the Patriots. Punter Thomas Morstead averaged 51.8 yards per punt on 8 tries with a long of 58. His free kick following Patriots LB Matt Judon’s safety late in the fourth quarter went 75 yards and the Green & White pinned New England on their 16-yard line. The Pats then went three-and-out and gave the Jets a chance to win the game on their final drive that resulted on a Hail Mary that fell inches shy of Randall Cobb’s outstretched hands.

Kicker Greg Zuerlein, back in the lineup after missing Week 2 with a groin injury, booted a 52-yard field goal in the slick conditions with ease.

Rookie Xavier Gipson continues to impress on kick and punt return. Gipson, an undrafted free agent, averaged 9.8 yards per punt return and 27.5 yards on kick returns. The Stephen F. Austin product ranks top-5 in the NFL in both categories through three weeks.

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