The New England Patriots continue to find ways to break the New York Jets’ hearts.
This time around, it was Patriots third-round cornerback Marcus Jones taking an 84-yard punt return across the goal line with five seconds remaining to pull ahead, 10-3, giving New England its 14th straight victory against New York on a day in which neither team’s offense showed up.
Jones’ heroics on a punt that would’ve been more smartly placed out of bounds — there were just 26 seconds remaining at the snap of the ball — underscores the Pats’ mental edge over the still-evolving Jets. It also keeps the entire AFC North within a game of each other.
“My main thing was I thought they was gonna go ahead and try to kick it out of bounds due to the time on the clock,” Jones said following the game. “But the first thing was making sure I follow my teammates blocking, and then I see the punter, and I was like, ‘If I make him miss, then I should be able to go the distance.'”
Jones’ return TD ended up the second-longest fourth-quarter TD to take the lead in Patriots history. It ranks behind only the grandfather of NFL Network’s Kayla Burton, Ron Burton, who scored a 91-yard field-goal return in 1962, per NFL Research.
The rookie taking it the distance rectified a day where a usual special-teams anchor, Nick Folk, missed two kicks, and the Patriots offense struggled to move the ball consistently despite Mac Jones completing 23 of 27 passes for 246 yards.
It also robbed Jets quarterback Zach Wilso