Patriots vs. Jets: Improvements Jets Must Make After New England Loss
But they failed to match up to their New England foe for the second time this season, giving Brady and Belichick their 117th win as a pair and giving the Patriots the division lead.
The Jets head into the final stretch of their season chasing the Patriots, rather than the other way around.
Here's what went awry in the game that the Jets must fix in order to still be considered contenders.
The third-year quarterback played like a rookie last night, making bad calls and putting up poor numbers.
He was sacked five times and intercepted twice, going 1-2 in TD:INT ratio. He looked flustered and weary during big plays and made a mistake in the third quarter that will be harped on and criticized for the rest of the season.
With 1:24 remaining, he called a timeout with 17 seconds on the play clock, wasting 20 seconds and allowing the Patriots to answer with a score.
Taking Advantage of Opponents Weaknesses
The New England defense is third in passing yards allowed, allowing 314 yards per game. Yet Sanchez only threw for 306, 84 of those coming when the game was no longer in reach.
They'll need to be able to exploit defenses and find the holes against their remaining opponents.
The third-quarter timeout was collosal enough, but the Jets made bad calls multiple times throughout the game, not taking advantage of situations that could have led to points.
After going ahead 9-6, they couldn't pressure Brady, who tore their defense up on an 80-yard drive.
They also failed to try a pooch kickoff following a 15-yard penalty on the Patriots' Vince Wilfolk.
The Jets need to find a way to take games into their own hands. In one of the biggest games of the season—one Rex Ryan marked as a "win-or-else" matchup prior to kickoff—they embarrassed themselves at home to a vulnerable New England team that they could have beaten.
Now, they must leave home and head cross country to Denver.
Third Quarter Mishaps
Joe Mcknight messed up a punt, and teammate Donald Strickland failed to recover the loose ball, leading to a Patriots' field goal. New England was able to score 17 points off of Jets' turnovers.
Sanchez and Shonn Greene couldn't connect on a short pass, giving the ball to Patriots' linebacker Rob Ninkovich and setting up yet another field goal.
It was a third quarter full of blunders.