Patriots beat Jets to extend their winning streak to 15 straight over New York
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Mac Jones and the New England Patriots were off to a frustrating start to the season, falling just short of victories in their first two games.
Staring at a rare 0-3 for the proud franchise, they got better in a hurry — of course, they did — against a familiar foe.
Jones threw a touchdown pass to Pharaoh Brown, Matt Judon had a late safety and the Patriots extended their winning streak over the New York Jets to 15 games with an ugly 15-10 victory on a rainy Sunday.
“When we had to make plays, we did,” Jones said. “Definitely inconsistent. Got to be happy with the win. That’s all we came here for.”
Bill Belichick's bunch avoided its first 0-3 start since the coach's first season in New England in 2000 while continuing the team's mastery over its AFC East rivals.
“It’s been like this three weeks in a row for us,” said Belichick, whose Patriots lost 25-20 to Philadelphia in Week 1 and 24-17 to Miami last weekend. “It was good to come out on the good end of it.”
Zach Wilson made his second start in place of the injured Aaron Rodgers, but was unable to produce much other than one solid possession in the fourth quarter that got the Jets (1-2) back into the game.
Nick Bawden capped New York's 13-play, 87-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run up the middle to make it 13-10 with 5:24 left.
After a defensive stop, the Jets faced third-and-10 from their own 10 and Wilson ran for a first down — but it was erased by a holding penalty by rookie guard Joe Tippmann. Judon brought down Wilson in the end zone on the next play to make it 15-10.
“They started moving the ball and it kind of got them life,” Judon said. “We really needed that. It was good to get that and get some points for myself.”
The Jets got the ball back with 1:43 left — but again couldn't convert. On fourth-and-10, Wilson threw a 1-yard pass to Tyler Conklin, turning the ball over on downs — and causing the remaining rain-soaked Jets fans at MetLife Stadium to boo.
New York had one more chance with 16 seconds left. Wilson connected with Garrett Wilson for a 29-yard gain to put the ball on the Jets 46. After spiking the ball to stop the clock with 1 second left, Zach Wilson threw up a Hail Mary that reached the end zone and bounced around a few times before falling just beyond a diving Randall Cobb's hands.
“We've all got to find a way to be better,” Zach Wilson said. “And I think the rest will kind of take care of itself.”
There was a lot of slipping early, the result of heavy rains that moved through the area and caused some of the paint on the Jets logos in the end zones to smear with footprints from players working in pregame warmups.
New York was never able to get its footing.
The win over the Jets matched the Patriots’ mark for the most consecutive wins over an opponent. New England beat Buffalo 15 straight times from 2003 to 2010.
Chad Ryland capped the Patriots' first offensive series with a 48-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead. Ryland missed another 48-yard attempt early in the second quarter.
On New England's next possession, Jones lofted a pass to a wide-open Brown, who streaked downfield for a 58-yard touchdown that put the Patriots ahead 10-0 with 11:38 left in the first half.
Greg Zuerlein, who missed last week's game with a groin injury, got the Jets on the scoreboard with a 52-yard field goal.
The Patriots tried to add to their lead just before halftime, but Ryland missed a 57-yard try after a high snap. But Ryland rebounded by hitting on a 51-yarder on New England's first drive of the second half.
Jones finished 15 of 29 for 201 yards. Ezekiel Elliott ran for 80 yards on 16 carries, and Rhamondre Stevenson had 59 yards on 19 carries. And the Patriots played clean football on an otherwise sloppy day.
“That was our goal: No turnovers,” Jones said. “We definitely did that.”
Zach Wilson was 18 of 36 for 157 yards for the Jets, who went 2 for 14 on third down after going 1 for 10 in those situations last weekend at Dallas.
“Obviously, that’s not good enough overall,” coach Robert Saleh said of the offense. “You know, third downs, we couldn’t run the ball. It would help if we could help around (Wilson) in terms of the way we play. But just overall, it just wasn’t good enough from coaching to the players.”
With Jets left tackle Duane Brown on injured reserve with a hip injury, the Jets moved Mekhi Becton from right tackle to the left side. Starting right guard Alijah Vera-Tucker moved to right tackle, and Tippmann made his first NFL start at right guard. Left guard Laken Tomlinson and center Connor McGovern stayed at their usual spots.
Patriots: DL Daniel Ekuale (elbow) and DL Davon Godchaux (ankle) left in the first half and didn't return.
Patriots: Head to Dallas to take on the Cowboys next Sunday.
Jets: Host the Kansas City Chiefs next Sunday night.
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