Jamal Adams endured his welcome-to-the-NFL moment (or moments) Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
The Patriots scored three touchdowns in their 24-17 victory over the Jets. Adams, Gang Green’s prized rookie safety, played a sizable role in all three while struggling to match up with tight end Rob Gronkowski, who finished with 83 yards and two touchdowns.
First, with the Jets leading 14-0 late in the first half, Adams was called for pass interference while covering Gronkowski downfield one-on-one. Tom Brady lofted a deep throw to the left corner of the end zone, and Adams made contact with Gronkowski while knocking the ball away. The penalty moved the Patriots from the Jets’ 25-yard line to the 1-yard line. One play later, Dion Lewis scored on a run up the middle. Adams said he was “very surprised” by the ruling.
“But hey, they called it,” Adams added. “You got to live with it.”
Later in the half, Adams surrendered a tying 2-yard touchdown catch to Gronkowski, who beat the safety in single coverage on a quick out to the left flat. Adams lost his leverage on the play when defensive lineman Kony Ealy bumped into Gronkowski near the line of scrimmage. “Brady put it on him real quick,” Adams said.
On the first drive of the second half, Adams was again in coverage on Gronkowski. This time, the 6-6 tight end ran a deep cross from left to right. Brady hit Gronkowski in stride, and Adams fell over. Gronkowski sprinted into the end zone past Marcus Maye — Adams’ fellow rookie safety — for a 33-yard touchdown.
“You find out where you are,” Adams said of his rough day. “Everybody’s going to say what they want about me, which they can. That’s fine. I’ll learn from it and I’ll build from it. I’ll learn from the mistakes.”
RUNNING IN PLACE
For the second straight week, the Jets struggled to produce a consistent rushing attack. They totaled just 74 yards on 24 carries Sunday – a 3.1 yards per carry average – and 16 of those yards came on a third-down scramble from Josh McCown, who was forced to throw 47 times in the loss.
It was marginal improvement from the win over the Browns, when the Jets produced just 34 rushing yards all afternoon. But for Matt Forte, who returned Sunday after missing two games with turf toe, the showing still wasn’t good enough.
“Very sub par. We have to help out the passing game in the run game,” Forte said. “I think if we would have stepped up in the running game a little bit, it would have been a different ball game where we wouldn’t have had to throw so much and put so much pressure on Josh to make plays back there. That’s something we have to definitely work on moving forward.”
The Patriots offensive line proved vulnerable to the pass rush through the first five games of the season, but the Jets failed to take advantage Sunday. They didn’t sack Tom Brady and hit the future Hall of Famer just four times.
“The secondary played really, really well,” Ealy said. “We just got to get home on the front end.”
Running back Bilal Powell (calf) was inactive Sunday. Defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson (toe, shoulder) played through multiple injuries and made one tackle.
Wide receiver Robby Anderson went down with cramps late in regulation.