Closing out a campaign that will go down as one of the worst in Jets' franchise history, New York put together yet another forgetful performance.
After taking a lead with their first drive in the second half, the Jets were held scoreless in New England, allowing 21 unanswered points in a 28-14 loss to the Patriots.
New York finishes the 2020 regular season with a 2-14 record for the first time ever. Sure, this game was meaningless in the grand scheme of things, as the Jets had already locked up the No. 2 pick in the 2021 NFL draft, but after two upset wins in their previous two games, this team heads into an important offseason with a sour taste in their mouths.
It wasn't all bad for the Jets. New York's defense sacked Patriots quarterback Cam Newton three times while Sam Darnold set a season-high in passing yards. Just when it seemed like the Jets were poised to run away with this one in the third quarter, holding down New England's struggling offense, the Patriots flipped the script in emphatic fashion.
Coming off five straight drives with a punt, New England utilized some trickeration to ignite their offense. After a reverse play in the backfield, wide receiver Jakobi Meyers tossed a pretty touchdown pass down the far sideline to Newton. It was practically the same play New York used last weekend against the Browns when wideout Jamison Crowder launched a deep touchdown pass to fellow wideout Braxton Berrios.
On the Jets' ensuing drive, looking to respond, Darnold sailed a pass to Breshad Perriman deep over the middle. When the football came down in a sea of Patriots defenders, it was picked off by cornerback J.C. Jackson. The interception snapped Darnold's career-long streak without a turnover, his first since Week 13 against the Raiders.
New England capitalized on the takeaway with a quick touchdown drive, seizing momentum and never looking back.
Down two scores later in the fourth quarter, the Jets had a chance to bring the deficit to one possession. Instead, Darnold threw his second interception of the game. Corner Jonathan Jones picked off the pass to Perriman in the end zone to end a 16-play drive.
Darnold finished what could be his final game in a Jets uniform with 266 yards, one touchdown pass—a 21-yard pass to tight end Chris Herndon in the second quarter—and the two interceptions. He remains winless against the Patriots in his third season in the AFC East.
Even as New York heads into the offseason looking for answers, there are reasons to be excited about the Jets' future. They have young stud's to build around—like Quinnen Williams, Mekhi Becton and Denzel Mims—along with a surplus of draft capital and cap space. For the time being, however, questions about what happens next will linger for the next several months.
An offseason that will likely be full of change has begun. That starts with moving on from head coach Adam Gase, who is expected to be fired at some point on Sunday now that the season is over, and perhaps transitioning to a new franchise quarterback as well.