By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
If there was a rock bottom to be hit by Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots in a 2020 season full of frustration, it would have come with a Monday Night Football loss to the previously-winless Jets.
But thanks to a 51-yard field goal from Nick Folk with three seconds remaining in the fourth quarter of a 30-27 final, the Patriots stopped their slide and were back to smiling, if only for one night, at MetLife Stadium.
The Patriots’ night began on a positive, too, with the Patriots scoring an offensive touchdown in the first quarter of this game for the first time all season thanks to a Cam Newton extension over the goal line to finish off an eight-play, 75-yard drive.
Joe Flacco and the Jets countered, however, with a 50-yard touchdown pass to Breshad Perriman on J.C. Jackson.
Trading scores, the Patriots tacked on another three points before the end of the first half when a Nick Folk 45-yard make lessened the New England deficit to three with 1:06 remaining in the second quarter.
But with more than enough time to strike, Flacco and the Jets finished their first half with another touchdown, as the veteran torched Jason McCourty for a penalty and a score in a four-play, 38-second drive capped by a Jamison Crowder touchdown.
It was enough to give the Jets a 20-10 lead at the half, and with New York points put on the board on all but one of their five first-half possessions with two field goals and two touchdowns through the air.
The Patriots stormed back with a Rex Burkhead touchdown to begin the second half, but when the Jets answered with yet another touchdown, it was clear the Patriots were going to need a big fourth-quarter to give themselves a chance.
The Jets being the Jets, however, kept the Patriots in this game in the fourth quarter, with New York putting 12 men on the field after Newton fell on third down and summoned the Patriots’ kicking unit onto the field. But the Patriots failed to use that break to their advantage, and settled for a Folk field goal a minute and a half later.
Still, the Jets weren’t done gifting the Patriots. In fact, Flacco completed a deep ball to the Patriots’ J.C. Jackson almost immediately after New York held the Patriots to three points. (Wrong team, bozo.)
It almost felt like these teams were going to trade mistakes until a winner was mercifully declared.
Facing a 3rd-and-20, Jakobi Meyers hauled in the first-down yardage but turned back and forced the Patriots into a 4th-and-1 ultimately made by a Newton sneak. And though it took three tries, the Patriots finally punched it home on Newton’s third crack from inside the five, tying things at 27-27 with 1:57 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Flacco decided to stay true to his pumpkin form displayed on the Jackson interception, too, which gave the Patriots the ball with 55 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and in need of a score of any sort to push themselves ahead.
They got that from Folk, too, putting an end to what felt like a neverending stretch of last-minute defeats for New England.
With the win, the Patriots successfully avoided what would have been their fifth straight defeat, which is something that has never happened in The Belichick Era, and hasn’t happened at all since 1995.
Newton, who began his night with 11 straight completions, finished 27-for-35 for 274 yards. His 27 completions and 274 yards through the air were his highest single-game totals since Week 2 against the Seahawks, and his two rushing scores moved him back into the top five of NFL rushing touchdown leaderboard.
Meyers was New England’s go-to option in the passing game once again, too, with 12 catches on 14 targets for 169 yards, including the crucial catch that set up Folk’s game-winning kick. (Meyers entered this game with 125 receiving yards on the season.)
But the Patriots suffered some more in-game losses in this one, as Isaiah Wynn exited play in the first half due to the ankle issue that plagued his week of practice before Damien Harris went down with a chest ailment in the second half.
It doesn’t get any easier for the Patriots either, as they’ll welcome reigning league MVP Lamar Jackson and the rest of the 6-2 Baltimore Ravens to Gillette Stadium next Sunday night.