(Image via @MetsKevin11)

So, it finally happened.

The Seahawks beat the Packers on a controversial last second play, shining the limelight on the replacement officials presiding over their Monday Night Clash. You knew sooner or later they were going to have to make a call that would decide a game and common consensus is that they got this one wrong. So wrong. Perhaps the only surprising thing is that it wasn’t the Jets who got screwed.

For the second straight game, the gun has sounded on an NFL contest with nobody entirely sure who won for a few awkward moments. When Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker’s field goal was ruled good, I half-expected them to change their mind when Vince Wilfork started leaping around a throwing a hissy fit. (For what it’s worth, I still haven’t seen convincing evidence either way, but if you account for the fact that if the ball goes directly over the goalpost – in other words so that it would have hit the upright had the goalposts been a few feet higher – that still counts as good according to the NFL rulebook, then it probably was good).

I’ve remained pretty silent on the issue until now. Obviously these officials are doing the best they can and, although some of the delays and confusion can be frustrating when the games are played into the early hours of the morning where I am, I can live with the occasional bad call, because we’re accustomed to that anyway. However, when you get a game-deciding call that is non-reviewable or a situation where the same wrong call is being made over and over again, you start to affect the results of games and that is unacceptable.

On the whole, let’s say NFL officials make the correct call 99% of the time. I have no idea if that’s accurate, but this is just for the purposes of illustration. Now, maybe the replacements make the correct call 98% of the time. We all moan and gripe about the bad calls with the normal referees in place and now there are (perhaps) twice as many. Having said that, the NFL should perhaps be commended for at least managing to source a set of officials that are at least competent enough to enable games to be conducted under somewhat controlled and fair conditions.

It would vary from crew to crew (and possibly from week to week) too. Some of the better replacement crews might be doing a better job than some of the worst crews from the regular officials roster (*cough* Jerome Boger *cough*). However, the difference between the top NFL crew and the worst replacement crew is becoming unacceptable. It can’t be a good sign that there was so much controversy attached to the last two games, where the two crews hand-picked to work a nationally-televised game came under fire.

It’s particularly interesting to look back at what happened with the replacement officials in the NBA in 1995. Back in 2008, where it looked like the NBA was going to have to use replacement officials once again, I looked back to some footage from 1995 games and wrote an article about it (linked to here) for an NBA team blog (I know, I know).

At the time, I had been wondering if the replacement officials would be a refreshing change because they wouldn’t ignore certain calls or give certain players preferential treatment like the usual officials did. However, what I found was that when they did make those calls (which NBA players were used to seeing overlooked), this made the players more likely to complain (despite newly instigated tighter technical foul sanctions). This led to a situation where the replacements were even more likely to allow that to influence how they called the rest of the game than the originals.

Fast forward to today and we’ve seen the same thing happening – specifically with pass defense. We’ve seen Santonio Holmes appeal for a flag, both justifiably and non-justifiably, but then we’ve also seen the likes of Ike Taylor complaining about a flag, so that the next time there is a violation, it doesn’t get called. You also end up with a Boy-Who-Cried-Wolf scenario, where a player who isn’t perceived to have been interfered with doesn’t earn the call the next time, because the officials just assume he’s always going to ask for that call.

Perhaps even more distressing is the fact that even when they identify an infraction correctly, they are getting the call wrong. This might be a wacky conspiracy theory, but I wonder if that’s something that has come from higher-up. If a receiver runs deep down the sideline and the defender makes contact with his arm, that is pass interference or it’s a no-call. However, having thrown the flag, the officials often seem content to reach a “compromise” and call illegal contact or holding, so that the offensive player earns a first down but doesn’t get the big yardage.

Maybe that’s a clever way for the officials to hedge their bets. It’s like accepting a plea deal for a misdemeanour instead of being charged with a felony. However, this is rooted in nonsense, because illegal contact can only apply when the quarterback is in the pocket and still with the ball in his hands. Once the ball is thrown, if you impede the receiver, that’s pass interference and if you don’t (for example, incidental contact), then that’s a no-call. They’ve also been calling holding on defensive players where the ball has been thrown and the defender has been holding the receiver. Yes, that’s “holding”, but in the context of preventing them from catching a pass, it should be interference and assessed at the spot of the foul.

You’ve also had controversy after the first game where Mario Williams claimed Austin Howard was using illegal techniques to keep him at bay and I didn’t make a big deal of it this week, but there was a lot of what I would recognize as holding going on in the trenches between the Dolphins and Jets this weekend. All of this pails into insignificance when considering the game-deciding call(s) made over the last two nights though.

Rewind back to 1995 and how did the NBA officiating lockout end? It ended because the situation got out of hand and the NBA moved swiftly to get things resolved so that the regular officials could return. In the NBA, with 82 games in a season and 200 points being scored in most games, there would be less indignation over a game-deciding call. However, a major brawl – which the replacements struggled to get under control – led to a record number of players being suspended and a couple of star players got injured either in scuffles or during particularly physical games. In the NFL, one game and one play can make or break your season, so they’re more or less at breaking point already.

So what’s the answer? I purposely haven’t got into the financial or political side of things, but both teams seem reluctant to budge. Maybe the NFL will now be under more pressure to convince the owners that this needs to be sorted out, but they’ve been satisfied to run the games under these conditions and the officials’ union doesn’t want to blink first –even though they’re losing money at a rate that will be hard to recoup via the negotiations themselves. So, while the NFL could panic and surrender some bargaining power to bring back these guys, what happens in the meantime?

I’d like to see the NFL address this somehow. It’s difficult to do anything about it on the fly, but admitting these officials need help would be a good first step. While most calls are judgment calls and therefore non-reviewable, as they should be - otherwise games would last forever – maybe the NFL could implement procedures whereby such calls are considered reviewable in the last two minutes of a one-score game or something.

I’m still not entirely certain there was enough video evidence to overturn either of the last two results, or that a regular crew of officials would have called those plays any differently (remember Jets-Packers from 2010?) but at least that would be seen as a positive step towards ensuring an even worse miscarriage of justice is avoided in future.

As of today, the NFL is a laughing stock. I can’t imagine Roger Goodell sitting idly by and allowing that to continue.

Don’t expect me to spoil you like this every week, but I’ll be back with another BGA Special about Darrelle Revis later tonight. Also, BGA Extra will be here tomorrow night, so remember to head on over to the BGA for this week’s game if there’s anything you want me to analyze.
Tags: BGA, Editorial Aside, Bent Double

Jets Post Game Overtime: 10/22 00:11:02
The Jets Post Game Overtime crew breaks down the Jets' 31-28 loss to the Dolphins, after surrendering a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter.

The New York Jets refused to go down quietly. After their fourth-quarter meltdown Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, there was some angry shouting in the locker room behind closed doors.

Quarterback Josh McCown said defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson was rallying his teammates. But it was Dolphins' rally that will be remembered after their 31-28 comeback victory Sunday.

The Jets blew a 28-14 lead in the final 12 minutes. Hence Wilkerson's postgame "pep talk."

Tags: Miami Dolphins, Josh McCown, Muhammad Wilkerson
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Bowles and McCown on loss 00:01:54
Todd Bowles breaks down the Jets' disappointing last-minute loss and Josh McCown comments on his crucial late interception.

The Dolphins overcame a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter and kicker Cody Parker drilled a game-winning 39-yard field goal to hand the Jets a second consecutive loss. >> Box score

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Oct 30, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; New York Jets offensive tackle Brandon Shell (72) during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Jets won 31-28. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports (Scott Galvin)
Oct 30, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; New York Jets offensive tackle Brandon Shell (72) during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Jets won 31-28. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports (Scott Galvin)

Jets T Brandon Shell left the team's game against the Marlins on Sunday with a neck injury and is doubtful to return, the team announced.

Tags: Brandon Shell
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New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (AP)
New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (AP)

Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson's is active for the Jets' Week 7 game against the Dolphins despite a lingering toe and shoulder injury that has put his status in jeopardy early this season.

Tags: Bilal Powell, Christian Hackenberg, Derrick Jones, Jordan Leggett, Muhammad Wilkerson
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Oct 8, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) congratulates wide receiver Jermaine Kearse (10) (Scott Galvin)
Oct 8, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) congratulates wide receiver Jermaine Kearse (10) (Scott Galvin)

 Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

THE GAME

The Jets (3-3) vs. the Miami Dolphins (3-2) at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Sunday, Oct. 22 at 1 p.m. ET.

THE WEATHER

It will be hot, as usual, with temperatures in the mid-to-upper 80s. It will also be windy, with sustained winds of 15-20 m.p.h. expected. And as always in Miami, there could be some late afternoon thunderstorms that potentially could impact the second half of the game.

Tags: Buster Skrine, Josh McCown, Morris Claiborne, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon look back at a tough loss to the New England Patriots. The guys discuss the brutal mistakes by the Jets which kept the Pats in the game, and the blown call at the goal line involving Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Plus, Jets defensive tackle Steve McLendon joins the show to talk about the struggles of Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Williams, and his role on the team. Later, Brian Costello of the New York Post calls in to give his take on the loss to NE, and how the Jets missed out on Deshaun Watson.

Click below to listen!

Tags: Leonard Williams, Muhammad Wilkerson, Steve McLendon
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Vacc's 3 Keys to a Jets win 00:01:37
SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano gives his three keys to a Jets victory over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano gives his three keys to a Jets victory over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

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In the latest episode of Timeout with Taylor Rooks, former NFL running back Curtis Martin recalls some of the most dramatic moments of his life, including two near-death experiences, as well as his relationship with Bill Parcells, Bob Kraft, and the infamous trade that sent him from the Patriots to the Jets.

Click below to listen

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GEICO SportsNite: Jets vs. Miami 00:01:54
With Muhammad Wilkerson likely a game-time decision to play Sunday, Jeane Coakley talks to Leonard Williams about stepping up his game.

 

Tags: Leonard Williams
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New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (AP)
New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (AP)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - The last time the Jets had Bilal Powell in the lineup, at full strength, he ran all over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Forced into the lead back role with Matt Forte sidelined, he ran for 163 yards on 7.8 yards per carry, including a 75-yard touchdown run.

He's back this week in time for the Jets game in Miami on Sunday, and so is Forte, with both apparently as close to full strength as they're going to be. But the Jets can't revert to their old habit of splitting their backfield duties.

They need Powell to carry the load.

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Bilal Powell, Elijah McGuire, Jeremy Kerley, Matt Forte, Robby Anderson, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) (Noah K. Murray)
New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) (Noah K. Murray)

Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson (shoulder/toe) is questionable for Sunday's game against the Dolphins, and will be a game-time decision, head coach Todd Bowles said on Friday.

Wilkerson played through his shoulder injury in Weeks 4 and 5, and didn't practice throughout those weeks, so this might be the same scenario.

However, Bowles added that the team has discussed the possibility of giving Wilkerson one or two weeks off.

Tags: Bilal Powell, Muhammad Wilkerson
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New York Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins runs the ball against New England Patriots safety Duron Harmon during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins runs the ball against New England Patriots safety Duron Harmon during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets (3-3) take on the Dolphins (3-2) on Sunday in Miami at 1 p.m. Here's what's going on today:

Need to know

The Jets are preparing for the trip to Miami, so there will be no media access at Florham Park on Friday. The entire term, apart from Muhammad Wilkerson, practiced without limitation yesterday, so they are in good shape for the road trip.

SNY's Ralph Vacchiano will preview the game and send his three keys. Follow @RVaccianoSNY on Twitter to keep up with all the happenings.

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Bilal Powell, Miami Dolphins, Jordan Leggett, Muhammad Wilkerson
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GEICO SportsNite: Jets defense 00:01:25
Ralph Vacchiano reports in from Jets practice to address the question that is on everyone's mind; when will the Jets finally get a sack?

 

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Jenkins on overcoming addiction 00:03:29
On Jets Game Plan, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins sits down with Jeane Coakley to share about how he overcame his battle with addiction.

 

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New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) (Noah K. Murray)
New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) (Noah K. Murray)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- On the day the Jets re-signed Muhammad Wilkerson in the summer of 2016 to a blockbuster, five-year, $86 million contract, they made it clear they were banking on him and not Sheldon Richardson. Fourteen months later, Richardson was traded.

Tags: Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (AP)
New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (AP)

RB Bilal Powell, who missed last week's game due to a calf injury, practiced on Thursday and will return when the Jets face the Dolphins on Sunday in Miami, head coach Todd Bowles said.

DE Muhammad Wilkerson (shoulder/toe) was the only Jets player who didn't practice on Thursday.

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter: Powell should hopefully give a boost to the Jets' struggling running game, although I suspect the team's inability to get the running game going has more to do with how overmatched the Jets have been in the trenches...

Tags: Bilal Powell, Elijah McGuire, Matt Forte, Muhammad Wilkerson
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 (Ken Blaze)
(Ken Blaze)

He may be one of the most productive tight ends in football at the moment, but Jets TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins admits his career was taking a dive before joining the Green and White. 

Seferian-Jenkins has caught 23 passes over the last four weeks of the season. It could be more if he didn't have to serve a two-game suspension that stems from his DUI arrest last September when he was with the Buccaneers.

But ASJ doesn't mind the numbers. He is happy that he is still playing the game he loves in the first place. 

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins
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The Jets (3-3) take on the Dolphins (3-2) on Sunday in Miami at 1 p.m. Here's what's going on today...

Need to know

The Jets practice today at Florham Park. Will Bilal Powell, Muhammad Wilkerson, or Robby Anderson return to practice after sitting out on Wednesday?

SNY's Ralph Vacchiano will be out at practice. Follow @RVaccianoSNY on Twitter to keep up with all the happenings...

Tags: Bilal Powell, Muhammad Wilkerson, Robby Anderson
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DNL: 2017 Jets season so far 00:02:58
The DNL panel discusses the Jets' season so far including if Todd Bowles deserves more credit and which player has disappointed the most.

 

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 (Dennis Schneidler)
(Dennis Schneidler)

The Jets featured many key players out during practice Wednesday including RB Bilal Powell, DE Muhammad Wilkerson, and WR Robby Anderson. 

Powell, who is nursing a calf injury, stretched with the team, but he didn't participate in anything else. He already missed last week with the same injury.

Wilkerson played through his shoulder injury in Weeks 4 and 5, He didn't practice throughout those weeks, so this might be the same scenario for No. 96...

Tags: Bilal Powell, Muhammad Wilkerson, Robby Anderson
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Daily News Live: Cool your Jets 00:03:02
The DNL panel discusses how the controversial play and loss to the Patriots could affect the Jets' mentality going into Week 7.

The DNL panel discusses how the controversial play and loss to the Patriots could affect the Jets' mentality going into Week 7.

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New York Jets safety Jamal Adams (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets safety Jamal Adams (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets (3-3) take on the Dolphins (3-2) on Sunday in Miami at 1 p.m. Here's what's going on today...

Need to know

The Jets practice today at Florham Park.

SNY's Ralph Vacchiano will be out at practice on Thursday and Friday. Follow @RVaccianoSNY on Twitter to keep up with all the latest Jets news and rumors...

Tags: Jamal Adams, Leonard Williams, Marcus Maye
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Daily News Live: Colon 00:01:10
Willie Colon's sources at the meeting between NFL owners and Roger Goodell on anthem protests say no progress was made Tuesday.

SNY's Willie Colon said sources told him that players felt "nothing was accomplished" during a meeting on Tuesday between the NFL, executives, players, and the NFL Players' Association.

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 (Robert Deutsch)
(Robert Deutsch)

After a hot start to his rookie season, Jets S Jamal Adams became the latest victim of Patriots' star TE Rob Gronkowski in the Jets' 24-17 loss on Sunday. 

Adams had troubles with Gronk from the beginning of the game. The Jets had a 14-0 lead when Patriots QB Tom Brady launched a ball toward the back of the end zone intended for Gronkowski. Adams made a play on the ball, but refs said that he made too much contact with the 6-foot-6 tight end resulting in a pass interference call.

Dion Lewis would score on the next play, and Adams was still surprised as to why the refs threw the flag. 

Tags: Jamal Adams
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Oct 15, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets defensive end Leonard Williams (Brad Penner)
Oct 15, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets defensive end Leonard Williams (Brad Penner)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter: The Jets gave a good account of themselves and, despite some glaring weaknesses, continue to prove that they're a more talented group than most people gave them credit for before the season. Let's break down the performances on the defensive side of the ball from the Jets' loss to the Patriots in Week 6:

Defensive Line

The defensive line once again didn't make any major contributions, with New England rushing for 118 yards at an average of 4.7 per carry and officially surrendering just four quarterback hits and no sacks. However, that was partly due to the Jets' gameplan. They didn't blitz much, sending just four rushers on average. And some of the bigger runs they gave up came with pass defense personnel on the field or one of Leonard Williams and Muhammad Wilkerson on the bench...

Tags: Buster Skrine, Darron Lee, Demario Davis, Jamal Adams, Jordan Jenkins, Juston Burris, Leonard Williams, Marcus Maye, Morris Claiborne, Muhammad Wilkerson, Rontez Miles, Steve McLendon
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New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles (Ben Margot/AP)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles (Ben Margot/AP)

The Jets (3-3) take on the Dolphins (3-2) on Sunday in Miami at 1 p.m. Here's what's going on today...

Need to know

The Jets are off today.

SNY's Ralph Vacchiano will be out at practice on Thursday and Friday. Follow @RVaccianoSNY on Twitter to keep up with all the latest Jets news and rumors...

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Buster Skrine, Jalin Marshall, Muhammad Wilkerson
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Daily News Live: Reffed Up 00:03:44
The Daily News Live panel discusses the controversial "fumble" call on Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the Jets' loss.

 

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New York Jets wide receiver Jalin Marshall (89) runs past Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Mike Thomas (13) in the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: (Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets wide receiver Jalin Marshall (89) runs past Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Mike Thomas (13) in the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: (Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets assigned wide receiver Jalin Marshall to the practice squad on Monday after they waived him on Saturday.

Marshall, who served a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, was waived to make room for cornerback Xavier Coleman on the team's active roster for Sunday's 24-17 loss to the New England Patriots.

The 22-year-old Marshall recorded 14 catches for 162 yards and two touchdowns in 10 games last season. He also returned 18 punts for 100 yards and 13 kickoffs for 324 yards.

Tags: Jalin Marshall
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: The decision to turn an Austin Seferian-Jenkins' touchdown on Sunday into a hard-to-explain fumble and touchback was a "clear and obvious" decision, according to the replay official who made the call.

Al Riveron, the NFL's senior VP of officiating, strongly defended his call in a conference call with reporters on Monday morning, one day after it impacted the Jets' 24-17 loss to the New England Patriots. He said the reversal of the touchdown after a video review was absolutely the correct decision based on the rule, and he didn't see anything controversial about it.

"No doubt about it, it was clear and obvious," Riveron said. "And we use that (standard) for every replay. Unless it's clear and obvious to us, we will not change the ruling on the field, and this definitely met that criteria."

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Robert Deutsch)
(Robert Deutsch)

Jets QB Josh McCown got off to a hot start on Sunday, but couldn't hold on to the lead as the Patriots earned the win on the road. 

The Jets jumped to a quick, 14-0 lead in the first half. However, the offense couldn't get anything going allowing Tom Brady to do what he does best and get the Pats the lead back. 

"Obviously we broke stride there and didn't keep pace the way we'd like," McCown told Jets.com's Eric Allen. "We have some short-yardage situations that we have to find a way to convert and be better at. We weren't converting and (we were) putting our defense right back out there. You can't give Tom (Brady) that many chances."

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jeremy Kerley, Josh McCown, Robby Anderson
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