New York Jets shot to establish they are contenders – New York Jets Blog

New York Jets shot to establish they are contenders – New York Jets Blog

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ — The New York Jets lost a football game, and more.

They jumped at the chance to exorcise their New England demons and missed a wonderful opportunity to send a “Here we come!” message to the rest of the AFC and set up a first-place showdown this Sunday against the Buffalo Bills (1 p.m. ET, CBS).

It was all there for the Jets, who played in front of a capacity crowd Sunday at MetLife Stadium in their biggest home game in seven years.

They led by seven points with a chance to take the lead before halftime, but then came the Stupid Jet Tricks, the first of three interceptions by Zach Wilson and a penalty for damaging the pin John Franklin-Myers who overturned a pick-six by Michael Carter II. They were mentally cooked and ended up losing, 22-17to a vulnerable Patriots team.

The Jets (5-3) tried to write it off as another loss, but it clearly wasn’t to be. There was a lot of emotional investment in this game. They approached it as a chance for redemption, recovering from last season’s 54-13 embarrassment at Gillette Stadium. They did not try to hide these emotions. Heck, defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich practically flaunted it, saying they were “expecting” the return.

In the end, they kicked and humiliated them, as they always do against the Patriots, winners of 13 straight in the series.

“Super frustrating,” the wide receiver said Elijah Moore, perhaps the only player to skip the cliche answers and portray some post-game emotion. “To not get the W, if anybody wanted us to win any game, it was probably this one. We all definitely took it personally.”

The Patriots aren’t the Patriots of old, but it still takes 60 minutes of mental toughness to beat them. The Jets failed in that regard, not playing well enough for long enough to end the years of futility in the so-called rivalry. As coach Robert Saleh said, “This is a team that revels in your mistakes.” And the Jets gave them enough for a Thanksgiving dinner.

The Jets struggled in pass protection, allowing 16 pressures. They couldn’t run the ball (51 yards), clearly missing an injured running back Breece Room. They couldn’t protect the ball as Wilson morphed into the early 2021 Wilson with the freebies. They tackled badly. They made mistakes on special teams. They showed no punch in the fourth quarter, which had been their trademark.

They also didn’t respond well to the Franklin-Myers penalty, a potential 10-point swing. Wilson called it “a terrible call.” Saleh did not criticize it directly, but let his feelings be known. When asked if the officials gave an explanation, Saleh said: “Yes. He [Mac Jones] he was hit too hard.” Franklin-Myers didn’t say much; his exasperated look said it all.

The young Jets learned a hard lesson, and it could change the complexion of their season. Barring a huge upset next Sunday at MetLife Stadium, the Jets will go into the bye at 5-4, followed by a trip to the Patriots (4-4), who now have new life thanks to the Jets.

“It doesn’t take anything away from what we want to accomplish,” Jets defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins said

But it will test the Jets’ stamina. If they want to be considered a legitimate playoff contender, it’s something they need to overcome.

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