The New England Patriots entered Week Nine of the 2020 NFL season intent on ending their four-game losing streak. Despite the frequent lack of pleasing aesthetics, the Pats achieved their goal on a leg and a prayer.
Nick Folk connected on a 51-yard field goal as time expired, propelling the Pats to a 30-27 over the New York Jets on Monday night. Quarterback Cam Newton rallied the Patriots from a 10-point deficit to avoid the franchise’s first five-game skid since 1995.
Newton turned in a solid performance, going 27 of 35 for 274 yards passing, with two touchdown runs. Perhaps most comforting to Patriots Nation, however, is that he demonstrated sound leadership; apparently shedding some of his struggles of the past few weeks, including a fumble against Buffalo last week that sealed a loss.
For the Jets, Joe Flacco started in place of the injured Sam Darnold, and performed fairly well. The veteran was 18 of 25 for 262 yards, with three touchdown passes.
ON THE FIELD
On their opening drive, the Jets utilized the veteran savvy of quarterback Joe Flacco and running back Frank Gore to advance 58 yards on 12 plays. The Jets threatened to find the endzone, but settled for a 3-0 lead via a 35-yard field goal from kicker Sergio Castillo.
Having been plagued by early scoring woes thus far in 2020, the Patriots put together an eight-play, 75-yard drive, highlighted by a 33-yard connection from Newton to receiver Jakobi Meyers. The drive culminated with a five-yard Cam Newton touchdown run to put the Pats ahead 7-3.
Early in the second quarter, the Jets would retaliate. Joe Flacco showed that he is still capable of throwing the deep ball, connecting on a 50-yard pass to Jets receiver Breshad Perriman to retake the lead at 10-7. New England cornerback JC Jackson, particularly struggled on the drive, surrendering 67 yards (split between Perriman and Denzel Mims), a defensive pass interference penalty, as well as the touchdown.
Following a trading of field goals, it appeared that the Pats would head into the half trailing the home team by a score of 13-10. However, Flacco and the Jets would need only two plays to move 77 yards. Slot receiver Jamison Crowder collected a 20-yard touchdown pass to give the Jets a 20-10 advantage heading into the second half.
Having deferred possession to open the game, New England began the third quarter with a point -productive opening drive. Newton led the Pats 78 yards, capping a 13-play drive with Rex Burkhead’s 1-yard plunge into the endzone, cutting New York’s lead to 20-17.
The Jets answered right back. Flacco found a wide-open Perriman in the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown, which provided the Jets with a commanding 27-17 lead with 30 seconds left in the third quarter.
However, New York seemed all too eager to prove that “when you’re a Jet, you’re a Jet all the way.”
After Newton stumbled on third-and-1 and was stopped for a 4-yard loss. While aligning in field goal stoppage formation, the Jets were called for 12 men on the field. This resulted in a first down for the Patriots. Instead of having to settle for a 32-yard field goal, New England appeared to find new life. Alas, a holding penalty on New England right tackle Mike Onwenu would yet limit the Patriots to a 29-yard field goal to make it 27-20 with 6:04 left.
With a chance to make the Patriots regret having to settle for three, Flacco swayed the momentum back in New England’s favor. His deep pass down the middle for Denzel Mims was picked off by J.C. Jackson, who despite a subpar game, collected an interception for the fourth straight game.
Patriots running back Damien Harris ran for 21 yards to get New England into Jets territory. He followed with a 9-yard gain (which would be called back because of an offensive holding penalty on Meyers) but also suffered a big hit on the run. Harris was down for several minutes before walking gingerly to the sideline. He exited the game with a chest injury and did not return.
Three plays later, Newton completed a 19-yard pass to Meyers and then ran for three yards on fourth-and-1. He would then connect with Damiere Byrd for 31 yards to put the ball at the three years line. On the ensuing snap, Cam would notch his second rushing touchdown of the game to tie it with 1:57 remaining.
Following a lackluster three-and-out effort by the Jets offense, the Patriots got the ball back with 47 seconds left and went to work. Newton had a five-yard run on third-and-1 from the New England 42. He followed with a 20-yard pass to Jakobi Meyers to put Folk in position for the winning field goal. The former Jet, who had been dealing with a back injury for much of the week, drilled the game-winner from 51-yards, giving the Patriots the 30-27 victory.
The win puts the Patriots at 3-5 through eight games in the 2020 season, with eight to play. Meanwhile, the Jets dropped to 0-9 for the first time in franchise history,
WHAT THEY SAID
“I’m getting tired of sucking, It’s simple. As a competitor, you know what your standard is. Taking pride in your work, that’s what it comes down to.”
-Patriots quarterback Cam Newton on his performance vs. New York Jets
“It was a good win. I thought we made the plays we needed to make at the end of the game. Certainly some things we can do better. But we played good complementary football at the end of the game.”
-Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick
“It shows the character of this team. Just battling, fighting. It shows the strength we have. We’re not going to quit. We’re not going to lay down.”
-Patriots RB Rex Burkhead
“I’ve had a lot of good memories here at MetLife (Stadium.) I just added one to the other sideline tonight.”
-Patriots K Nick Folk on his 51-yd game-winning field goal
BIG DAY FOR THE BIRTHDAY BOY
On his 24th birthday, Patriots receiver Jakobi Meyers had 12 catches for a career-best 169 yards, joining Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman as the only Patriots players with 150 or more yards receiving in a game in the past five seasons.
LT Isaiah Wynn left briefly in the first half with an ankle injury, but returned.
RB Damien Harris exited the game late in the second half with a chest injury and did not return.
The Patriots return home to Foxboro to host the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday Night Football at 8:25pm ET at Gillette Stadium.
-Mike D’Abate is a Managing Editor and Columnist for Full Press Coverage. He covers the New England Patriots and provides NFL editorial content. He is also the host of the Locked On Patriots podcast. Follow him on Twitter @mdabateFPC