FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The Patriots kicked the Jets’ teeth in.
Gang Green lost their second meeting of the season to New England, 54-13, this time at Gillette Stadium. It was also the 12th straight time they lost to the Patriots.
It was humiliating for the Jets and Robert Saleh said as much after the game.
“You give up 50 points, it’s embarrassing. I don’t think I’ve had this feeling after a game since 2017 against Dallas,” Saleh said, referring to when he was still with the 49ers. “A helpless feeling where you’re just watching, you’re trying to figure something out. I’ll be honest. We talk about adversity. Everyone was asking. You can chalk this one up, it’s here. This is from coaches all the way down. The NFL doesn’t really give a flying f—.”
This was also the first time that the Jets allowed at least 54 points since Sept. 9, 1979, when the Patriots also beat them 56-3.
And in the process of the Jets’ butt kicking, Zach Wilson had to make an early exit after injuring his right knee in the second quarter on Sunday.
Wilson ran a play action fake and rolled left before throwing a deep pass to Keelan Cole. Cole drew a 46-yard defensive pass interference call on the play and got the Jets to the 2-yard line. Patriots outside linebacker Matthew Judon, however, was able to get to Wilson moments after the ball left his hand.
Judon slammed Wilson to the ground and the No. 2 overall pick was laid out on the turf in pain.
A few Jet players hovered around Wilson, then took a knee. After a few minutes passed, Wilson got up gingerly and walked to the sideline, eventually disappearing into the blue medical tent before getting escorted to the Jets locker room.
NFL Network reported Wilson suffered a PCL injury, but an MRI will confirm the diagnosis and provide a better outlook on how much time he’ll likely miss. Wilson said he heard a pop in his knee, but he wasn’t demoralized. And the early signs showed it won’t probably won’t be a season-ending injury. He labeled the potential PCL injury as the “best case scenario.”
Mike White replaced Wilson — who was 6-for-10 with 51 yards and was sacked once before exiting — for his first career action. White came in and did a commendable job. His very first attempt resulted in a three-yard touchdown pass to Corey Davis in the back of the endzone.
But when asked about the experience, White said he could think only about Wilson’s well-being before he realized he was going into the game.
“First you worry about your friend on the ground, worrying about his well-being, how he was faring,” White said. “Now you realize, ‘Alright, it’s my shot to go in there, help execute the offense.’ I told myself not to do anything out of the ordinary, just play within the system, complete the balls, get the balls to our play-makers and kind of go from there.”
White finished his game 20-for-32 with 202 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
But the game was already heading towards an ugly ending before White got the ball. The Patriots were up 17-0 by the time Wilson left the game because the Jets defense never truly showed up.
And the defensive-minded head coach took the blame for that.
“Top down. Starts with coaching all the way down. Obviously we’ve got to be better,” Saleh said. “They punched us in the freaking mouth and scored points, so credit to them. That’s it. I mean, I’ve been in part of some of those in my life. They just don’t feel good.”
There was a chance the Jets defense would struggle once C.J. Mosley was ruled out before kick-off. But the unit produced its worst numbers of the season and that came against an offense that was ranked 26th in yards per game (322.3) and 23rd in points scored at 20.8.
The Patriots finished with 554 yards of total offense. The running game gashed the Jets for 151 yards and four touchdowns.
The Patriots had a game’s worth of stats by halftime with 300 yards and 31 points.
On the first play of the game, Damien Harris ran for 12 yards and Quinnen Williams was called for a defensive hold (again) and they got inside the Jets territory.
The Jets caught a break on the next play with an offensive hold by Patriots guard Shaq Mason. But on 2nd and 15, Mac Jones threw a screen pass to Jonnu Smith who broke for 28 yards. The Patriots ran a trick play, with Jones throwing a backwards pass to Kendrick Bourne, who threw it to a streaking Nelson Agholor for a 25-yard touchdown.
That touchdown drive took five plays and the Patriots were off.
New England scored points on all five of its first half possessions with four touchdowns and one field goal and it led 31-7 at the half.
Jones shredded the Jets defense with short passes — 112 yards worth of Jones passes were thrown behind the line of scrimmage. Running back Brandon Bolden led the Patriots in receptions and yards as he had six catches for 79 yards and a touchdown, which came on a screenplay.
Jets players and coaches claimed there was a new energy around the club following the bye.
However, that so-called new energy resulted in a 41 point loss.