EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (WPRI) — Bill Belichick passed George Halas for second place on the NFL’s career coaching victories list and the New England Patriots continued their mastery of the New York Jets by beating them for the 13th straight time, 22-17 on Sunday.
Devin McCourty had two of the Patriots’ three interceptions of Zach Wilson, Nick Folk kicked five field goals against his former team and Belichick’s bunch slowed the surprising Jets, who had won four in a row.
Belichick missed a chance to break a tie with Halas on Monday night, when New England (4-4) lost to Chicago 33-14. But he got No. 325, including playoffs, against the Jets and now trails only Don Shula (347). The victory was also Belichick’s 100th in the regular season against AFC East opponents as coach of the Patriots.
Mac Jones, who was benched against the Bears for rookie Bailey Zappe, finished 24 of 35 for 194 yards with a touchdown to Jakobi Meyers and an interception.
The Jets (5-3), who snapped a 12-game skid against AFC East opponents by beating Miami three weeks ago, couldn’t change their fortunes against the Patriots — even while debuting their stealth black alternate helmets.
After a promising start, Wilson made too many mistakes in the first 300-yard passing game of his career — he was 20 of 41 for 355 yards and two TDs to Tyler Conklin— and New England took advantage.
Many in the MetLife Stadium crowd that was raucous at kickoff with the Jets off to their best start since 2010 were booing by the third quarter — and filing to the exits long before the game was over.
New York made it closer on Wilson’s 9-yard touchdown pass to Conklin with 1:51 left, but New England recovered the onside kick and Jones took three kneeldowns to run out the clock.
Trailing 10-6 coming out of halftime, the Patriots marched down the field with an efficient drive keyed by Rhamondre Stevenson’s 35-yard run. On fourth-and-1 from the 5, Belichick went for it — and Jones found Meyers in the end zone for a go-ahead touchdown.
After Greg Zuerlein was wide left on a potential tying 45-yarder early in the third, Folk — who spent seven seasons with the Jets — made kicks of 49, 45 and 52 yards to make it 22-10 early in the fourth.
Helped by an unnecessary roughness call on Jabrill Peppers, the Jets quickly got into Patriots territory on their first possession of the second quarter. Wilson capped the drive with an 8-yarder to Conklin for a 10-3 lead.
It was Wilson’s first TD pass in four games.
With the Patriots trailing by seven and facing fourth-and-1 from the Jets 21 coming out of the 2-minute warning, Belichick opted to go for it. Jones’ throw to Meyers fell incomplete and New York took over on downs.
But Wilson was intercepted for the first time in four games when his pass floated into the hands of Ja’Whuan Bentley, giving the Patriots the ball at the Jets 40.
It appeared Jones gave it right back to the Jets when Michael Carter II intercepted him and returned it 84 yards for a touchdown — but had it wiped out by a roughing-the-passer call on John Franklin-Myers. The Patriots ended up getting points on the drive and cutting the deficit to 10-6 on Folk’s 42-yarder as time expired in the half.
Running back James Robinson, acquired from Jacksonville during the week, made his Jets debut. He finished with 17 yards on five carries.
The Jets inducted former left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson into their Ring of Honor during a halftime ceremony.
Ferguson was a first-round pick in 2006 who made three Pro Bowls and never missed a practice or game during his 10-year NFL career.
Patriots WR DeVante Parker left in the first quarter with a knee injury.
Patriots: Return home next Sunday to face the Indianapolis Colts.
Jets: Home again to take on another AFC East rival in the first-place Buffalo Bills next Sunday.