Jets’ defensive line does its part with six-sack performance

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — As long as the fate of the Jets was in the defense’s hands, they felt they couldn’t lose. 

A defense that had six sacks and 11 stops on 15 third-down opportunities Sunday was ready to take the field again to force overtime when the Patriots’ Marcus Jones scored the only touchdown of the game on an 84-yard punt return with five seconds remaining to steal a 10-3 victory at Gillette Stadium. 

“It hurts watching something like that,” defensive lineman John Franklin-Myers said. “You just want a blade of grass to defend, and we didn’t get that.” 

The Jets blitz less frequently than all but one other NFL team, but set the tone for matching wits with wizard Bill Belichick by starting the game with a blitz that led to a shared sack by Franklin-Myers and Quincy Williams. 

“Our biggest thing is our rush and coverage working together so we can dominate up front,” Williams told The Post. “Our game-planning was a huge thing. We knew a lot of their plays already, and what they were going to run. We were communicating it on the back end and having the quarterback hold the ball a little bit longer and having our D-line do what they do.” 

Quincy Williams (56) and John Franklin-Myers (91) sack Mac Jones during the Jets’ loss to the Patriots.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Three of the Jets’ six sacks came with the Patriots threatening at the 25-yard line or closer and contributed to two missed field goals. 

“Can’t really say too many bad things about what we’re doing in the pass rush,” Franklin-Myers said. “We expect to win every one-on-one [matchup].” 

While total dominance was happening on the other side of the ball — the Patriots’ defense allowed 103 total yards of offense — the Jets allowed a mostly empty 297 yards. Mac Jones’ quarterback rating (104.6) also felt meaningless with the score tied for all but 5:19 of the first 59:55. 

“That’s a mindset: We go into every game and expect to shut them out,” Franklin-Myers said. “The Patriots have some great players, some great running backs who break a lot of tackles. We understood that we had to get population to the ball, and I think we did a good job of that.” 

Instead of pointing the finger at special teams or offense, the defense lamented not forcing a turnover. 

Quinnen Williams sacks Mac Jones during the Jets' loss to the Patriots.
Quinnen Williams sacks Mac Jones during the Jets’ loss to the Patriots.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

“Games that we have turnovers, we have a better chance to win,” Williams said. “As soon as the game ended, our biggest thing was, ‘We have to get turnovers because they change the momentum.’ ” 

The thought of the Patriots getting the ball back with less than 20 seconds on the clock if Braden Mann’s punt sailed out of bounds — and then maybe again in overtime — was no sweat. 

“It was the game we wanted,” cornerback D.J. Reed said. “We were smiling. We were happy. The defense thought we were going to overtime, and we were ready to go. We gave [Jones] a chance and he’s a great punt returner. Credit to them for doing that, but I’m in disbelief. This is a tough one.”