In what could have been Rex Ryan’s last home game as the Jets’ head coach, his defense held the Patriots to 231 yards on Sunday.
It is the fewest in all his meetings against his AFC East rival, and Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady wasn’t shy about the offensive struggles in a 17-16 win at MetLife Stadium.
“I just think we got their best and I think we kind of sputtered there and got out of rhythm,” he said. “Finally found a little rhythm there in the second half and scored enough points.”
Brady passed for 182 yards and a touchdown, and also threw an interception. He completed 23 of 35 passes.
“We just weren’t very productive in the pass game in general. … We didn’t really find a rhythm all day,” he said. “They kind of kept us off-balance early.”
The offensive line gave up four sacks, including three in the first quarter, the most the Patriots have allowed in a game since Week 1 at Miami. Brady said he thought the line’s protection was good, but the unit’s communication wasn’t, which is problematic against a Jets’ defense that rotates personnel so often.
“We had a lot of things where we just all weren’t on the same page …” he said. “Our communication has to be on point and it’s kind of sputtered. We got to be able to do a better job of that.”
Said coach Bill Belichick: “They got a good front that’s hard to block.”
Receiver Danny Amendola had his most productive game of the season in the absence of Julian Edelman, who didn’t travel with the team due to a concussion and thigh contusion. Amendola, who had been averaging 8.1 yards per game prior to Sunday, had eight catches for 63 yards. Amendola added 91 yards on five kick returns and 63 yards on punt returns.
“He’s really been looking for this opportunity,” Brady said. “I thought he did a great job in there in the role that he played.”
Brady for the second consecutive week broke off a long run, this one going for 11 yards in the fourth quarter to set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Jonas Gray.
“I just hope I can keep doing it,” Brady said of running when a play breaks down. “If I can do one or two of those a game, it helps. I thought I had an opportunity to make a couple more that I just missed on.”
Though the Patriots (12-3) clinched a first-round bye with the victory, Brady wasn’t pleased with the offense’s performance.
“I just wished we played better for 60 minutes and we just have to figure out a way to play against these guys as well as we possibly can,” he said. “We’ve got to keep fighting. Sometimes you have to grind it out.”
Follow Rachel G. Bowers on Twitter @RachelGBowers.