Road Woes: Jets End Winless Three-Game Trip

It had been 29 years since the New York Jets had last played three straight road games.

With a struggling offense and a tired defense pushed beyond its limit, the Jets probably wouldn’t mind if it’s at least that long before they see a similar road trip again.

After a 2-0 start at home, road-weary New York (2-3) dropped its third straight game, to the New England Patriots, 30-21, while allowing at least 30 points in a third consecutive game for the first time in nine seasons.

It was enough to make the Jets homesick.

Following double-digit losses in Oakland and Baltimore, the Jets (2-3) played better at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts on Sunday. But, thanks to an inept offense, New York’s exhausted defense couldn’t make one last stop it needed to make, allowing the Patriots (4-1) to clinch a victory with a late field goal drive of over six minutes.

The Jets’ offense struggled mightily for a second consecutive week, going three-and-out seven times over the first three quarters, leaving New York’s defense on the field for almost 34 minutes (to the 26:05 the Jets had the ball).

While New York’s offense faltered, New England scored on two of its first four possessions to jump out to a ten-point lead.

After quarterback Tom Brady (24-33, 321 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 4 sacks) completed a 32-yard pass down the middle to wide receiver Wes Welker (5 catches, game-high 32 yards), running back BenJarvus Green Ellis (27 carries, game-high 136 yard, 2 TD) ran three straight times for eight yards each, before capping a five-play, 64-yard drive on a 3-yard touchdown run that gave the Patriots a 7-0 lead with 7:32 left in the opening quarter.

New England then went a mere 18 yards on six plays, but that was good enough for a 44-yard field goal by kicker Stephen Gostkowski to give the Patriots a 10-0 lead with 11:15 left in the first half.

New York finally got its offense going on a 13-play, 78-yard drive, which consumed 7:49. Quarterback Mark Sanchez (16-26, 166 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT, 2 sacks) completed all four of his passes (for 43 yards) and running back Shonn Greene (21 carries, 83 yards, 1 TD) rushed eight times for 34 yards on the drive, as Greene finished the possession with a 3-yard touchdown run that pulled the Jets to within 10-7, with 3:21 left in the half.

The Patriots didn’t need long to extend their lead in the second half. Brady completed a 73-yard pass to Welker down the middle on the first play of the half. Three plays later, Brady connected with wide receiver Deion Branch (7 catches, 74 yards, 1 TD) on a 2-yard touchdown pass to put New England up 17-7, just 2:15 into the third quarter.

However, Joe KcKnight, who returned a kickoff 107 yards for a touchdown last week, brought the ensuing kickoff back 88 yards to set up the Jets’ next score.

Greene rushed for four and seven yards before Sanchez passed to rookie wide receiver Jeremy Kerley (3 catches, 35 yards, 1 TD) on a 9-yard touchdown pass that cut the Patriots’ lead to 17-14 just 1:43 after New England’s earlier score.

Late in the quarter though, New England traveled 77 yards on 11 plays to increase its lead to 24-14 on another 3-yard touchdown run by Green-Ellis with 1:20 left in the period.

A short six-play, 19 yard drive (following another New York punt) culminated with a 24-yard Gostskowski field goal that gave the Patriots their largest lead, 27-14, with 12:57 left in the game.

New York was able to answer on its next possession, going 85 yards on 11 plays to trim New England’s lead to 27-21 on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Sanchez to wide receiver Santonio Holmes (4 catches, team-high 60 yards) with 7:24 remaining.

At that point, there was still plenty of time for the Jets to mount one last drive to pull out a victory, but their earlier offensive struggles prevented a fatigued defense from being to stop the Patriots.

Instead, New England methodically used up 6:05 while going 69 yards on 13 plays for a game-clinching 28-yard field goal by Gostkowski that closed the scoring with 1:02 left.

After being outgained by almost 200 yards (446-255) and coming up winless on their three-game road swing, the Jets will be more than happy to return home for the first time in a month to host hapless Miami (0-4) at MetLife Stadium next Monday night, at 8:30 pm ET.

About the Author

Jon Wagner

Jon has been a credentialed writer with New York Sports Day since 2009, primarily covering the New York Knicks and Hofstra men's basketball. He has also occasionally covered other college basketball and New York's pro teams including the Mets, Giants, Jets, Islanders, Rangers and Cosmos (including their three most recent championship seasons). Jon is former Yahoo Sports contributor who previously covered various sports for the Queens Ledger. He's a proud alum of Hofstra University and the Connecticut School of Broadcasting (which he attended on a full scholarship). He remains convinced to this day that John Starks would have won the Knicks a championship in 1994 had Hakeem Olajuwon not blocked Starks' shot in Game 6 of the 1994 NBA Finals.

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