It’s been a hard season for the New York Jets. The level of ineptitude displayed by second-year quarterback Geno Smith has been the talk of the Big Apple and the young man seemingly been melting down both on the field and in the media on a weekly basis. However, during the Thursday Night Football matchup between the Jets and the New England Patriots, Geno Smith played a steady, mistake-free game as the Jets kept this game competitive through four quarters of inspired football, but all was for naught as New York’s offense would constantly sputter in the red zone. The New England Patriots took advantage of a rather pedestrian Jets secondary from the jump as QB Tom Brady threw a 49-yard early strike to RB Shane Vereen in the first quarter.

The Jets would respond with two field goals by Nick Folk from 22 and 47 yards, respectively.  New York would take the lead in the second quarter with a 46 yarder but would again find themselves behind with another touchdown pass from Brady to Vereen.  New York would finally score a touchdown on a 1-yard scamper by Chris Ivory in the second quarter. But the shortcomings of the Jets defense would again be exploited as WR Danny Amendola would score on a 19-yard pass from Brady.

Normally, the Jets would be primed for a heartbreaking turnover by way of interception or fumble at such a juncture. However, New York would score again on a 10-yard hookup from Geno Smith to TE Jeff Cumberland. They would fail to convert on a two-point conversion and all seemed lost.  But the Jets defense would force New England into to punt 1:16 left in the game. Down two points, Geno Smith would lead the Jets on a 8 play, 48 yard drive to the New England 40 yard line. The stage seemed set for something of a redemptive moment for the New York Jets.

The entire season of disappointment and despair seemed ready to be baptized in the glow of a last second win. Snatching victory from the maw of defeat seemed inevitable. Alas, that would not be the case as Nick Folk’s 58 yard field goal was blocked by New England’s Chris Jones as time expired.  Though another loss will be added to the Jets’ grizzly tally, this game did show the Jets have some pride in fighting their division rival to the very end.  RB Chris Ivory would carry the ball 32 times for 107 yards and a touchdown while RB Chris Johnson finally showed some sign of life with 13 carries for 61 yards. Geno Smith would go 20 for 34 and finish with 226 yards and a touchdown to go along with 37 yards rushing on the ground, easily making this his best game of the season.

For the first time in a long time, this loss cannot be blamed on the former University of West Virginia standout. WR Eric Decker would lead the Jets’ receiving core with 65 yards, which wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t enough. Meanwhile, QB Tom Brady seemed unphased by the closeness of the affair as he finished with 261 yards and three touchdowns.  Shane Vereen would lead the jets in rushing and receiving yards with 43 yards on the ground and 71 yards through the air. 

New England linebacker Don’t’a Hightower was all over the place, finishing with nine solo tackles and a sack. No Jets defender would finish with more than four tackles. Now, the argument on whether Geno Smith is indeed the long term answer at quarterback for the New York Jets (1-6) will begin anew as his team prepares for the Buffalo Bills in their next contest. Four weeks ago, many thought that New England quarterback Tom Brady’s career was on a downward spiral after several uninspiring performances, but all that talk has gone noticeably mute after three straight victories over AFC competition. Now, Coach Bill Belichick and company (5-2) will prepare for the floundering Chicago Bears in their next contest and continue to make a case for being a legitimate threat to make it to the Super Bowl.