Football

As usual, trip to Meadowlands ends happily

There must be a plausible reason why the New York Jets dissolve into dust at the sight of Bill Belichick.

The man who was HC of the NYJ for roughly 10 seconds brings the New England Patriots to the swamps of New Jersey once a year for a breather and typically leaves with a win. That remains the case even with the HC of the NEP is dragging in a 3-4 record with the Jets at 5-2 and standing tall.

Well, the Belichick and his Patriots left at the .500 mark, the Jets dropped to 5-3, and anyone who is stunned and amazed needs a refresher course in NYJ chemistry. We’ll keep it simple:

No team can bring good times to a grinding halt more efficiently than the New York Fool-ball Jets.

The Jets had a 10-3 lead in the second quarter and were gifted an opportunity to break the game open. Michael Carter picked off a Mac Jones misfire and rambled down the sideline for a touchdown. Or so it seemed, until John Franklin Myers was called for a ticky-tack roughing-the-passer call.

Strike that; most roughing-the-passer calls in today’s NFL are ticky-tack. No need for putting it in writing here.

Then the Jets stopped the Pats on downs at the New York 21.

Four plays later, Zach Wilson throws one of his three interceptions. Wilson’s dazed and confused expression may linger for a bit after Sunday’s implosion.

So, this Jets debacle didn’t need to be punctuated by a butt-fumble.

The Pats won, 22-17, mostly thanks to clutch plays by their defense and Nick Folk’s five field goals. Belichick passed George Halas in career wins.

All is hunky dory in Foxborough …

Kinda sorta.

After eight games it is time to consider where the Pats are and where they are going.

(Officially, the season’s halfway mark comes at halftime Sunday against the Colts. For this essay, we’ll move it up a bit.)

The defense shows signs of promise. When needed most it seems capable of responding.

It is worthy of being declared OK.

The offense remains a bona fide enigma. It reached the end zone once Sunday.

To be considered good, an offense needs to score more than one touchdown per four quarters.

Rhamondre Stevenson is its best player. Jones continues weaving in and out of the fast lane, bringing the entire operation with him.

Matt Patricia’s administration as the offensive coordinator is still going in circles.

Every time the Pats reach the red zone, the odds are strong that Folk is going to be the man putting points on the board.

Against good teams an offense needs to reach the end zone more than occasionally.

When the season began the notion here was that the Patriots would win eight or nine games and, with some luck, sneak into the playoffs.

Nothing has happened so far to change that.

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