Final, Patriots 28-14: The New England Patriots closed out their disappointing 2020 season with a victory Sunday, dispatching the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium.
Quarterback Cam Newton enjoyed the best performance of his Patriots tenure in what might have been his final game with the franchise, throwing for three touchdowns with no turnovers and adding a touchdown reception.
James White, Sony Michel and Devin Asiasi all caught their first touchdown passes of the season. Wide receiver Jakobi Meyers threw his second.
The Patriots finish the season 7-9, their first losing record since 2000. They’ll pick either 14th or 15th overall in the upcoming NFL draft, depending on the result of Sunday afternoon’s San Francisco 49ers game.
Fourth quarter, 3:49, Patriots 28-14: Jonathan Jones just intercepted a Sam Darnold pass in the end zone. That should just about seal a season-ending win for the Patriots.
Fourth quarter, 11:36, Patriots 28-14: Suddenly, with less than 15 minutes remaining in a lost season, the Patriots’ offense is clicking.
After hitting Devin Asiasi for a 26-yard touchdown pass on the previous drive, Cam Newton floated a short pass to Sony Michel that the running back took 31 yards to paydirt.
It was Newton’s third touchdown pass of the game. He had just five all season entering today.
It also was the first receiving touchdown of Michel’s NFL career. He’s been superb over these final few games.
Fourth quarter, 13:56, Patriots 21-14: Earlier in the game, Devin Asiasi caught his first NFL pass. Now, he has his first pro touchdown.
This has been a disappointing season for the rookie tight end, but he’s finishing strong.
Fourth quarter, 14:55, 14-14: J.C. Jackson’s ninth interception of the season gave New England the ball in Jets territory.
Third quarter, 2:22, 14-14: The Patriots have 10 touchdown passes this season. Jakobi Meyers has thrown two of them.
Cam Newton was on the receiving end of Meyers’ latest touchdown toss, which tied the game late in the third quarter.
Some Patriots injury updates:
Safety/linebacker Adrian Phillips (hip) also is out.
Third quarter, 7:07, Jets 14-7: A scary scene here as Damiere Byrd absorbed a massive hit from linebacker Neville Hewitt on an end around.
Byrd remained down on the field for several minutes before walking off under his own power and being escorted to the locker room.
Another Patriot went down on the ensuing Jets possession. One play after sacking Sam Darnold, defensive tackle Adam Butler suffered an injury and was taken to the sideline medical tent for evaluation.
Cornerback Michael Jackson played the first defensive snaps of his NFL career during the drive.
Third quarter, 11:40, Jets 14-7: The Jets struck quickly after halftime, with a 53-yard catch-and-run by Breshad Perriman setting up a 1-yard touchdown plunge by Josh Adams.
J.C. Jackson appeared to be in coverage on Perriman’s big gain, but Joejuan Williams showed poor effort in pursuing the wideout as he raced down the sideline.
Halftime, 7-7: A tough three-play stretch by rookie defensive back Myles Bryant set up the Jets’ first touchdown of the afternoon.
Bryant missed a tackle on a 15-yard catch-and-run by Ty Johnson, wasn’t aggressive enough on a would-be interception that wound up being caught by receiver Jamison Crowder, then was flagged for a hit on a defenseless receiver on Sam Darnold’s 21-yard touchdown pass to Chris Herndon.
The young DB has shown a lot of potential this season, but those were some rookie mistakes.
The Patriots proceeded to punt on their final possession of the first half. Not exactly an exhilarating offensive display here in Foxboro.
Second quarter, 5:47, Patriots 7-0: Cam Newton delivered a laser to Jakobi Meyers on third-and-18 and later hit James White on 10- and 12-yard swing passes.
This overthrown to a wide-open White proved costly, though:
Newton had a deep ball to Damiere Byrd broken up one play later, then was sacked on third-and-10, his second of the drive.
Since the Patriots’ opening touchdown, this game has been a punt-fest.
Second quarter, 10:05, Patriots 7-0: Chase Winovich has been a wrecking ball in this first half.
End first quarter, Patriots 7-0: Chase Winovich has shown up on each of the Patriots’ first two defensive series, batting a third-down pass on the first and stunting into the backfield for a sack on the second.
Winovich didn’t quite meet expectations this season and still looks like an incomplete player, but he and Josh Uche have the potential to form a superb pass-rushing duo in 2021.
First quarter, 4:22, Patriots 7-0: Devin Asiasi hauled in the first reception of his NFL career during the Patriots’ latest possession, which ended with an aborted QB run on third down.
Phillips is questionable to return with a hip injury, according to the team.
First quarter, 7:02, Patriots 7-0: The Patriots forced a punt on the Jets’ first possession, but they might have lost another key defender.
Adrian Phillips required medical attention after a 9-yard run by Ty Johnson. He walked very slowly off the field and went straight to the sideline medical tent.
Phillips is the Patriots’ leading tackler, essentially playing as an inside linebacker for much of the season despite being listed as a safety. With several linebackers unavailable for this game, Phillips was expected to play a prominent role again today.
Safety Kyle Dugger, who also has played some linebacker this year, replaced Phillips. We’ll see if the latter can return.
First quarter, 11:23, Patriots 7-0: The Patriots came to play today.
New England battered New York’s defense on the game’s opening drive, getting 17 yards on an early screen pass to Sony Michel, 13 on a Michel carry and 49 on a QB keeper by Cam Newton.
Those chunk plays set up James White’s first receiving touchdown of the season.
Newton’s 49-yard romp was his longest since 2017 and the longest ever by a Patriots quarterback. It also pushed him past Steve Grogan and into first place in single-season rushing yards by a New England QB.
Let’s see how the Patriots’ patchwork defense holds up against Sam Darnold and the Jets’ offense.
First quarter, 15:00, 0-0: The Jets won the coin toss and deferred. J.J. Taylor is back deep for the opening kickoff.
For one final time, let’s play some football.
11:30 a.m.: A look at today’s Patriots inactives:
— Linebackers Terez Hall and Anfernee Jennings are out with injuries. That’s no surprise, considering neither practiced this week. Josh Uche was placed on injured reserve Thursday, so he’s unavailable, as well.
— Ja’Whaun Bentley is back after missing last week’s game. That’s a huge boost for New England’s linebacking corps, which would have been down to just one inside ‘backer (recently promoted practice squadder Cassh Maluia) if Bentley couldn’t go. Safety Adrian Phillips also has played a lot in that role this season, so expect to see more of him and Kyle Dugger at the second level.
— Also active: defensive tackle Lawrence Guy, outside linebacker Shilique Calhoun and safety Devin McCourty. Guy and Calhoun sat out last week’s loss to the Buffalo Bills, and McCourty left the game early with a shoulder injury.
— D’Angelo Ross is the only Saturday practice squad call-up who won’t suit up today. Cornerback Michael Jackson, outside linebacker/tight end Rashod Berry, offensive lineman Ross Reynolds and Maluia all are active. So is O-lineman Marcus Martin, who signed last week.
9 a.m. ET: The final day of the New England Patriots’ forgettable 2020 season has arrived.
The 6-9 Patriots will host the 2-13 New York Jets this afternoon at Gillette Stadium in the season finale for both teams.
Cam Newton is expected to start at quarterback for the Patriots, but the rest of New England’s roster will resemble a JV squad. The Pats have ruled out running back Damien Harris, center David Andrews, right guard Shaq Mason, linebacker Josh Uche and edge rusher Tashawn Bower and could be without multiple additional ‘backers (Terez Hall and Anfernee Jennings did not practice this week and are among the 16 Patriots listed as questionable).
For reinforcements, the Patriots called up five players from its practice squad, signing linebacker Cassh Maluia, outside linebacker/tight end Rashod Berry and cornerback Michael Jackson to the 53-man roster and temporarily elevating offensive lineman Ross Reynolds and defensive back D’Angelo Ross.
Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. ET. Click the link below to read our full game preview, and follow along here throughout the day for up-to-the-minute pre- and in-game coverage.