The Jets brought the gift of their incompetence to Foxborough for Christmas

Patriots defensive back Eric Rowe, left, intercepts a pass intended for Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall on Dec. 24, 2016, in Foxborough, Mass. AP Photo/Elise Amendola


It was laughable. Even considering the sad standards the New York Jets have set this season.

By the time the clock mercifully ran out on Christmas Eve, the New England Patriots had come up with a thorough, 41-3 trouncing of the Jets, a game that would have served as some level of embarrassment for a team if it weren’t a squad already with a litany of them to behold at the penultimate stage of what was a lost season.

“It’s inexcusable,” Jets head coach Todd Bowles said, one day after visiting the hospital with a kidney stone illness that left him questionable for the game. “When you start with four turnovers, plus we had a fumble, which makes it five. Then four more in the plus side of the field, you don’t give yourself a chance.”


Consider that by the time New York receiver Brandon Marshall left the game in the fourth quarter with a hip injury, he was tied as the Jets’ leading receiver with two.

Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler was the other player who caught two Jets passes.

“There’s nothing that correlates more to winning than turnovers,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said. “Number one is points, number two is turnovers. We were able to get them today and we were able to convert them to points. A missed field goal that they had, which isn’t a turnover but is kind of like a turnover, and then we were able to convert that as well. So you take those plays and that’s a huge chunk of the game.”

In fact, Jets quarterbacks managed to complete only eight passes the entire afternoon, all via the arm of Ryan Fitzpatrick, who relieved Bryce Petty after suffering an injury in the first half. The Patriots had three interceptions combined, along with a fumble recovery that Butler added to his pair of interceptions.

Just in case there was any lingering doubt, the Jets still suck. Merry Christmas.

“It was embarrassing, you guys are smart you saw the game it was just embarrassing,” Marshall said.


This is accurate.

“The effort was fine,” Bowles said. “We just didn’t play well.”

Bowles is correct. All except, the effort wasn’t fine.

Not in the least.

“There was never a lack of effort,” Jets linebacker David Harris said (There was). “Guys played hard out there, just didn’t play their smartest.”

By the time halftime came calling, the stands at Gillette Stadium were already emptying, fans looking to beat the traffic — or the outrage — in order to make Christmas Eve dinner in a more timely fashion. There was already no question about what the outcome would be. The Patriots led 27-0 after two quarters, which felt like dog years for all the Jets’ total ineptness.

But for all the implosion from the opponent, the Patriots’ win also said volumes about where they perceive themselves in the playoff picture. At 13-2, the Patriots are still sitting in the driver’s seat for the AFC’s No. 1 seed, a matter they failed to clinch on Saturday with the Oakland Raiders topping the Indianapolis Colts. If New England wins in Miami next weekend, they seal the deal with home-field advantage. It’s a fascinating Sunday, particularly since the Dolphins need the win to help secure their own wild card slot, while the Patriots could throw the game in order to keep the Denver Broncos out of the dance in exchange for the No. 2 seed.


That can’t be anywhere near the mindset, can it? Especially after the regret of not earning it a year ago? Especially after the swagger the Patriots came away from Denver with last Sunday evening?

“We won that game and we got on an airplane and we said, ‘Look, we’re finishing strong. We’re putting the pedal to the metal,’” Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (214 yards three touchdowns before handing off to Jimmy Garoppolo in the fourth quarter). “Last year we didn’t finish strong and we didn’t like the way that things ended. We need to keep playing well down the stretch. Different guys are contributing and all phases of the game are contributing. It’s been a lot of fun.”

“Thirteen wins is pretty good. We’ve got to try to finish strong though next week.”

In a perfect world, Garoppolo would have taken the start next weekend against the Dolphins, giving way to Jacoby Brissett. If by any chance the Patriots were winning in the fourth quarter with control over whether it was Denver or Miami in the postseason, Belichick would have pulled a drop kick or Doug Flutie-style extra point just to make sure things went the way he planned.

Belichick hasn’t yet revealed how he plans to approach next weekend, nor should anyone expect him to do so. The Patriots have already sealed the AFC East and a first-round playoff bye, with only one segment of the playoff trifecta left before the Patriots make their Super Bowl run next month.


“We were pretty focused on this week,” Brady said. “It was just a quick six games before these last two games and the schedule has been pretty tough. We have eight days before we play Miami, but I expect to go out there and try to be at my best.”

Maybe he will. The Dolphins have something to play for.

The Jets didn’t even have their own pride to salvage on Christmas Eve.

“Obviously all losses are tough but to come here and versus a team that if you don’t pay well, especially here and if you make mistakes they are going to embarrass you,” Fitzpatrick said. “So to get embarrassed the way we did today it is never fun. Not just as a football player, but as a man.”

The Jets are terrible. Truly, awful.

Happy Holidays.


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