FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 03: Cam Newton #1 of the New England Patriots reacts after throwing a touchdown pass during the fourth quarter of a game against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on January 3, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
(Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

Cam Newton and the New England Patriots knocked off the New York Jets in the 2020 season finale, 28-14, at Gillette Stadium.

Robby Sabo
  • New York Jets 14 (2-14)
  • New England Patriots 28 (7-9)
  • NFL, Week 17, Final, Box Score
  • Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA

If you expected something that resembled the Joe Montana-led San Francisco 49ers offense, reevaluate your football thoughts immediately. No Greatest Show on Turf would be wowing the football world at Gillette Stadium Sunday afternoon. The best anybody could hope for was a solid and entertaining brand of ball.

Well, it wasn’t even exactly that. The New York Jets and New England Patriots played an ugly brand of football Sunday, one that the home team ultimately won, 28-14.

Jets, Patriots
Jet X Graphic, Getty Images

At one point, the Jets led 14-7 early in the second half. It all came tumbling down thanks to inconsistent quarterback and defensive play.

Cam Newton and the Pats struck first. New England tore through the Jets defense on the opening drive. A seven-play, 84-yard drive featured Newton rolling through New York’s defense.

The 49-yard scamper is the longest in Pats’ history for a quarterback. More importantly, it helped lead to the first points of the game, A James White touchdown reception on the arrow route.

From there, the offenses really played ugly. After six consecutive punts (three by each team), Sam Darnold finally got into the mix.

Darnold engineered a 10-play, 80-yard drive that resulted in a Chris Herndon touchdown.

Darnold showcased tremendous confidence on the touchdown throw, and on the drive as a whole. He found Jamison Crowder while scrambling to his right—a play that was reviewed but held up.

Darnold missed a wide-open Breshad Perriman earlier in the second quarter but also hit Denzel Mims on a naked boot—an exact play (and player) he missed a week ago (the second option when reading deep to short).

Speaking of Mims, the Baylor rookie was forced to leave the game in the first half with a concussion concern. He finished the day with just that one catch for 15 yards.

Darnold finished with 266 yards and one touchdown to two costly interceptions on 23 of 34 passing. While he looked solid early, his issues reading coverages came into play for most of the game, especially on both picks.

Newton finished the game with 242 yards and three touchdowns to no interceptions on 21 of 30 passing. He also led the Pats in rushing with 79 yards on 11 attempts. Sony Michell chipped in with 76 yards on 16 carries.

Jakobi Myers went for 68 yards and six grabs. White chipped in with four grabs, 31 yards and that first touchdown.

The big-gainer for the Jets was Perriman. The speedster finished 84 yards on three grabs. Fifty-three of those yards came on one play, an inn-cut that saw him turn on the burners to open on the second half.

Four plays later, Josh Adams capitalized by scoring from one yard out.

Three possessions later after the Adams score, the Pats pulled a play from the Jets’ bag of tricks. Similar to the Jets’ trick play a week ago, New England hit them with one. But this time, it was capped by a Newton touchdown reception to tie things up at 14.

Just when Darnold’s day was moving beautifully, he reminds everybody that his turnover problems are far from over. The USC product threw a terrible interception to J.C. Jackson.

Four plays later, Newton hit tight end Devin Asiasi for his first career touchdown to put the Pats back on top, 21-14.

On the next possession, the Pats struck again. A Sony Michel 31-yard touchdown reception put them ahead two possessions.

Defensively, Frank Bush‘s unit didn’t have a great day. There was a Bryce Huff sighting, however, as the rookie edge man picked up a sack and two quarterback hits. Frankie Luvu also collected a sack, while Tarell Basham and Bryce Hager combined for one.

For the Pats, Chase Winovich sacked Darnold twice.

Darnold threw one more interception to wrap things up for the Jets. Looking for Perriman in the end zone, Jonathan Jones came over for the theft, ending all hopes for New York.

Jets X-Factor Membership

If this was Adam Gase’s final game as Jets head coach, he exits New Jersey with a 9-23 record. Both teams, 2019 and 2020, started extremely slow and could only catch up by the time it was entirely too late.

Next is Black Monday for the NFL, prior to the 2020 NFL Postseason.

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Robby Sabo is a co-founder, developer and credentialed New York Jets content creator for Jets X-Factor | Jet X, which includes Sabo's Sessions (in-depth film breakdowns) and Sabo with the Jets. Host: Underdog Jets Podcast with Wayne Chrebet and Sabo Radio. Member: Pro Football Writers of America. Coach: Port Jervis (NY) High School. Washed up strong safety and 400M runner. Founder: Elite Sports NY - ESNY (sold in 2020). SEO: XLM Email: robby.sabo[at]
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