East Rutherford, N.J. -- The New York Jets started strong, but ultimately failed to keep up with a Rob Gronkowski-infused Patriots offense, and trail their AFC East rivals 21-10 at the half at MetLife Stadium.
Gronkowski led all Patriots receivers with 4 catches for 54 yards, while wearing an impressive-looking brace on his left arm.
Gronkowski returned to the field after rehabbing from forearm and back procedures. And he immediately contributed, adding 42 yards on two catches in the first series. The tight end made the Patriots' entire offense run more efficiently, pulling defenders and blocking on the run. It was clear New England missed him.
Geno’s pick-six: The growing pains continued for rookie quarterback Geno Smith, who disrupted what looked like a good rhythm for the Jets' offense when he threw another interception on the second series of the game. A ball intended for David Nelson was intercepted by Patriots cornerback Logan Ryan and returned 79 yards for a touchdown. Smith had 10 completions for 159 yards in the first half, plus a touchdown and interception.
Kerley in bunches: Jets wide receiver Jeremy Kerley was a most reliable third-down option. In the first series, he converted all three third downs, the last one for a 12-yard touchdown. He converted the first five third downs he was targeted on.
Defensive penalties: On the Patriots' first scoring drive, Quinton Coples, Muhammad Wilkerson and Calvin Pace were all called for penalties. Flags have been an unwelcome theme for the team this season, and players had stressed the importance of eliminating self-inflicted losses all week. But not so much.
Baby Cribbs: Not only did recently acquired kick returner Josh Cribbs get after kicks and punts, but he also played a little wide receiver and took a direct snap in a Wildcat formation.
Milliner struggles: Rookie cornerback Dee Milliner, who was cleared to play after missing three games with a hamstring injury, was a target in the first half. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady threw at Milliner seven times for four completions, allowing 33 years total.