Deep pass defense struggles
Though the defense gave up a field-goal-scoring drive to start the game, the Patriots offense was able to answer on their first possession with their first first-quarter touchdown of the season. The long drives immediately began to shorten the game as teams would trade punts on their second possessions.
It was early in the second quarter when the Jets passing offense would start to pick up steam with passes to Braxton Berrios for 13 yards on third down and 17 yards to Denzel Mims that took the Jets out to midfield. Joe Flacco had plenty of first-down play action plays in this game, but what made this one so effective was nuanced route running from Breshad Perriman, who had a good first step off the line that put J.C. Jackson on his heels, then a slight delay at the top of his stem that created just enough separation for Perriman to accelerate past Jackson and the free safety.
Flacco threw a perfect pass, connecting for a 50-yard touchdown that put the Jets back in front on the scoreboard, a place they would stay until the final second ticked off the clock in the game.
This play was representative of quite a few deep ball struggles that the Patriots defense had in this game. It was the longest of the game, which also included plays of 26, 23 and 20 yards along with a 15-yard touchdown throw. Of the nine plays that went 15-or-more yards, seven of them came on 1st-and-10, as the Jets counted on New England trying to focus on stopping the run, which to this point, had been their biggest weakness.
This problem was most glaring on the final drive before the half, when it took just a 15-yard catch by Mims, a 42-yard pass interference penalty by Jason McCourty and a 20-yard touchdown pass to give the Jets a huge boost before halftime. That kind of poor situational football has been uncommon around here and it’s been happening way too much this season.
The Pats need Stephon Gilmore back and to get their secondary in order, while finding ways to get opposing quarterbacks off balance. Giving up rushing yards is one thing, but getting beat deep, especially on scoring plays, is the quickest way to lose games.