FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — A dismal Jets season came to a fitting end Sunday with a 38-3 defeat to the Patriots at Gillette Stadium.
The Jets were non-competitive in their final game under coach Todd Bowles, who was fired after four seasons on the job. The Patriots controlled the game from start to finish, handing the Jets their ninth loss in their past 10 games.
The Jets finished the season 4-12, their worst record since 2014. They have lost 11 games or more three years in a row for the first time since 1975-77.
The Patriots (11-5) took the lead when Tom Brady hit running back James White for a 17-yard touchdown with 5:16 left in the first quarter. The Patriots moved the ball easily against a depleted Jets secondary.
Starting cornerback Trumaine Johnson was benched after showing up late for meetings and practice this week. The Jets’ other starting cornerback, Morris Claiborne, was put on injured reserve Saturday with shoulder and ankle injuries. That left Rashard Robinson and Buster Skrine as the starting cornerbacks with Derrick Jones playing in the nickel. Starting safety Darryl Roberts also was benched for being late this week.
The Jets put together a 10-play, 56 yard drive in the first quarter, with Sam Darnold’s 28-yard scramble the highlight. The Jets got to the Patriots’ 22 before the drive stalled. Jason Myers kicked a 40-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 7-3.
Brady threw his second touchdown of the day at the start of the second quarter, an 18-yard strike to running back Rex Burkhead to build a 14-3 lead.
Jets running back Elijah McGuire fumbled early in the second quarter, setting the Patriots up at the Jets’ 8. It looked like the Jets would force New England to settle for a field goal but Henry Anderson was penalized for a questionable roughing-the-passer call that kept New England’s drive alive. Brady took advantage, finding Philip Dorsett for a 9-yard touchdown and a 21-3 lead.
Darnold played OK after a slow start, finishing 16-for-28 for 167 yards and no touchdowns or interceptions. It was hard to blame him for struggling at all with a receiving corps decimated by injuries. He was playing without Jermaine Kearse and Quincy Enunwa. The Patriots were able to pressure him and he had his first strip-sack of the season in the third quarter. Adam Butler got the sack and Kyle Van Noy scooped the ball and went 46 yards for the touchdown and the 28-3 lead.
The Patriots added another score in the closing minutes when Brady found Julian Edelman for a 5-yard touchdown to increase the lead to 38-3 with 3:26 remaining in the game