By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com
After 2020 proved to be one of the most turbulent years in franchise history, the Patriots started off 2021 on the right foot with a 28-14 win over the Jets in the season finale.
The first half saw the lowly Jets hang around and even take a lead at one point. But the Patriots – and the snow – showed up big time in the final 30 minutes in the win.
On the Patriots first drive, they mostly kept things on the ground. The highlight was a 49-yard run by Cam Newton, the longest ever by a Patriots QB, and a run that gave him the franchise single-season rushing record for a quarterback. They did finish things through the air though, as Newton found James White over the middle for a seven-yard touchdown.
Neither team was able to do much with the ball for most of the first half after that. The Jets struggled to contain Chase Winovich, who had two first half sacks. Meanwhile, the Patriots kept having drives stall on third-and-medium.
Late in the second quarter though, the Jets found momentum. Sam Darnold and the Jets were able to move the ball 90 yards in 10 plays, capping things off with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Jamison Crowder with 1:35 to go until halftime. The teams went into the break knotted at 7-7.
The Jets kept that momentum going to open the second half. On their opening drive, Sam Darnold hit Breshod Perriman for a 53-yard catch-and-run, setting up a one-yard Josh Adams touchdown run a few plays later. That put New York up 14-7.
New England answered back late in the third quarter. After converting a third down to set them up in the red zone, Josh McDaniels went to the schoolyard sheet. On an end-around-reverse-pass, Jakobi Meyers hit Cam Newton for a 19 yard touchdown pass. It was Meyers’ second passing touchdown of the season, and made Newton just the fifth player in franchise history to record a passing, rushing, and receiving touchdown in a single season.
First Patriots QB to catch a TD pass in team history.⁰⁰@CameronNewton | #GoPats— New England Patriots (@Patriots) January 3, 2021
????: @NFLonCBS pic.twitter.com/lJwoSjM7KT
Three plays later, J.C. Jackson grabbed his ninth interception of the year. The fourth quarter began with the Patriots working on a short field, tied at 14.
Cam Newton would quickly grab the Patriots back the lead. Four plays into the quarter, he hit Devin Asiasi in the corner of the end zone for a 26-yard score. It was the first touchdown for the rookie Asiasi, and gave the Patriots a 21-14 advantage.
As the snow started falling, the Patriots really kicked things into gear. After a quick defensive stop, New England got the ball right back and wasted no time extending their lead. A 31-yard touchdown pass to Sony Michel made it 21 unanswered points for the Patriots. With just over 10 minutes to play, they had the Jets doubled up 28-14.
It looked like the Jets might have a little bit of fight left in them, as they got down near the goal line with just under five minutes to play. However, Jonathan Jones picked off a fade to the end zone, ending the drive.
.@Jonathan_Jones2 takes it away in the end zone.— New England Patriots (@Patriots) January 3, 2021
????: @NFLonCBS pic.twitter.com/6lyfSC8Zgw
Newton’s final game with the Patriots was arguably his best performance. He finished 21/30 with three touchdowns and no picks. He also accumulated 79 yards on 11 carries, and caught a 19 yard touchdown for his fourth score.
Sony Michel put together another strong game on the ground. He was the only Patriots’ running back to receive a carry, and had 76 yards on 16 rushes.
Jakobi Meyers was New England’s leading receiver, with 6 catches for 68 yards. He also threw the touchdown to Cam Newton.
Defensively, Chase Winovich ended the year on a high note with two sacks and another handful of quarterback pressures. In the secondary, J.C. Jackson and Jonathan Jones each recorded interceptions.
With the win, the Patriots finish the year 7-9. While a lot of record-related streaks were broken this season, they extended their stretch of seasons without double-digit losses to 20.
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Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at Alexander.Barth@bbgi.com