The Jets had an opportunity on Sunday to prove that last week's victory over the Titans wasn't a fluke.
Instead of a second straight win, however, New York looked more like the team that was embarrassed routinely during their first three losses of the season.
Zach Wilson struggled while the defense had no answers for quarterback Matt Ryan and the Falcons' offense, paving the way to a disappointing 27-20 loss in London.
New York mounted a bit of a comeback in the second half, rattling off 14 unanswered points to cut the deficit to just three, but they call Ryan "Matty Ice" for a reason.
Sparked by a 39-yard bomb to rookie tight end Kyle Pitts, Ryan sealed the deal with a clutch drive ending in a three-yard touchdown run from Mike Davis. That put Atlanta back up by 10 with only a few minutes to go.
Once again, the Jets were doomed by a sluggish start. When the first quarter ended—at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium—Gang Green was down by two scores. They had no first downs, compared to Atlanta's 10 first-down conversions, while the offense had been out-gained 134 yards to 16.
New York didn't have a first down until there were nine minutes left in the first half. By then, New York was already losing 17-0, looking like another shellacking was in progress.
Ryan and the Falcons were unstoppable early on, unbothered by the absence of wideouts Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage. Leaning on Cordarrelle Patterson and Pitts, Atlanta put points on the board in each of their first three drives.
The veteran quarterback finished the day with 342 yards through the air, completing 33 of 45 passes with two scores. He showed Wilson exactly how to manage an offense and take what the defense gives you. Moving the football with a mix of short and intermediate passes, Ryan was clinical with his execution, waiting until that huge play to Pitts in the fourth quarter to air it out.
Pitts led the way with a monster performance, hauling in nine passes for 119 yards. Patterson added 60 receiving yards and 54 rushing yards, working downhill all game long.
Meanwhile, Wilson frequently missed open receivers, threw an ill-advised interception early on and was never able to explode for a big play. In other words, he looked like a rookie, outclassed by one of the most experienced signal-callers in the league.
In fact, both of the Jets' touchdowns came on the ground.
First, on the opening drive of the second half, Ty Johnson scampered in from one yard out. That score was set up by a 65-yard kick return from Tevin Coleman. The drive included six rushing plays and one pass attempt.
New York's second score was in the fourth quarter, finishing off a four-play, 90-yard drive. Pass interference on a deep ball to Elijah Moore gave Gang Green 41 yards, putting them in a position for a two-yard score (from rookie Michael Carter).
A two-point conversion to Jamison Crowder had the Jets down by just three points. That's when the defense failed to come up big in crunch time, unable to stop Ryan when it mattered most. A late field goal from Matt Ammendola brought the ballgame back to a one-score contest, but after a failed onside-kick attempt, Atlanta began to celebrate.
Wilson finished the game with 192 yards through the air. After one more interception on Sunday, he leads the league with nine picks through five games. He was sacked twice in the loss.
New York's defense was unable to match their presence in the backfield that they had in their win against the Titans in Week 4. The Jets had no sacks in London after seven last week.
They do deserve some credit for forcing turnovers, though. As much as the Jets' defense still doesn't have an interception this year—they're the only team in the NFL without one—New York forced and recovered two fumbles.
There were flashes from Wilson and the offense in the fourth quarter, but as we've seen before this season, those late surges can't make up for early ineptitude. It makes you wonder how many wins this team would have if they produced in the first half, not needing two quarters to warm up before they start to produce.