The New England Patriots’ first win of the 2023 season didn’t come easy – for the team or their fans.
On a dreary Sunday afternoon in New Jersey, the Patriots grinded their way to early 10-0 and 13-3 leads before having to hold on for dear life as the New York Jets tried to stage an improbable comeback. The Jets missed that comeback by their fingertips, as the Patriots went on to win 15-10, picking up their 15th consecutive win over their division rival.
Early on it looked like the Patriots were going to have the dominant performance many were looking to as a sign the team was back on track. On offense they scored on two of their first four drives – while getting into field goal position on a third – while defensively they held the Jets to -6 yards on their first four drives.
However, the momentum seemed to change approaching halftime. After a bungled end-of-half sequence saw the Patriots leave points on the board, the Jets came out in the second half and started moving the ball with some regularity. The emergence of a ground game opened things up for Zach Wilson, and the Jets ended up out-gaining the Patriots over the final 30 minutes, 130 yards to 117. That included a 13-play, 87-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter that might have been the best of Wilson’s career.
The Patriots responded to that touchdown drive with a safety, to go back up by more than a field goal. Still, the Jets found themselves in position for a late Hail Mary, with the batted ball slipping just out of the reach of wide receiver Randall Cobb in the end zone.
What can we learn, and what questions were raised from this very sudden nail-biter? Let’s go back to the end of the first half and get started.