Jets vs. Patriots game recap: Everything we know about from New York’s season finale

Gary Phillips
·4 min read

The Adam Gase Era (likely) ended with a (fitting) dud on Sunday.

The Jets dropped their season finale in Foxborough, 28-14. In doing so, New York finished the 2020 season 2-14 and without a single divisional win.

New York’s defense was repeatedly fooled by one of the NFL’s worst offenses, while several late mistakes from Gang Green’s signal-caller did them in — for possibly the last time.

With a miserable season now mercifully over, the focus will immediately turn to a future loaded with difficult questions but also plenty of reason for optimism.

Final Score: Patriots 28, Jets 14

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Keys to the Game

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Sam's Sendoff? Darnold threw for over 250 yards for the first time this season, but he hardly wowed while completing 23 of 34 passes for a touchdown. His first interception immediately led to the Patriots scoring a go-ahead touchdown, and his second came in the end zone. If that was indeed Darnold's last game with the Jets, it was a typically poor goodbye. To Be Frank: The Jets defense has looked strong in recent weeks under interim DC Frank Bush, but that was not the case against a struggling New England offense. The Jets surrendered 28 points to a team that was averaging less than 20 this season. Among the scores: Cam Newton's first passing touchdown since Week 13, a receiving touchdown for Newton off a trick play, and running back Sony Michel's first-ever touchdown reception. Not good. Herndon Hauls It In: It's been a bad season for Chris Herndon, but the tight end picked up his second touchdown in as many games on Sunday while catching seven passes for a season-high 63 yards. Not a bad way for Herndon, who looked like a lost cause earlier this year, to cap off his season as he hopes to make a more consistent impact in 2021.

It Was Over When...

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It was over when Michel took a pass from Newton into the end zone midway through the fourth quarter. The touchdown gave the Patriots a 28-14 lead. As previously mentioned, it was the first receiving touchdown of Michel's career and just his fifth reception this season.

Best in the Box Score

FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 03: Sam Darnold #14 of the New York Jets is tackled Rashod Berry #43 of the New England Patriots during the second quarter of a game at Gillette Stadium on January 3, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

Jan 3, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) heads to the bench during the first half against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 3, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) throws under pressure against the New England Patriots during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 3, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots running back Sony Michel (26) rushes against New York Jets free safety Marcus Maye (20) during the first quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

(Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

LB Frankie Luvu: Luvu continued his red-hot streak to end his season, recording five tackles, one for a loss, one sack and one pass defended. EDGE Bryce Huff: The UDFA made a strong final impression, registering a sack and two QB hits in the last game of his rookie season.

What's Next?

(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

With the Jets' 2020 season officially over, Gang Green can get started on a lengthy offseason to-do list. First up? Expectations are that Gase will no longer be New York's head coach by the end of the day Monday. The Jets will likely cast a wide net in their search for his replacement, including both pro- and college-level candidates. From there, the new head coach and Joe Douglas will have to make a decision on Darnold's future, as well as some in-house free agents. New York, armed with cap space, should be active in free agency. Then there's the draft. The No. 2 pick is just one of several picks Douglas will have at his disposal in April. While this past season surely left a lot of fans disappointed, there is reason to believe the future is bright for Gang Green. Douglas can get to work on making that vision a reality in the coming days.