BOSTON (CBS) -- Nobody saw this one coming. Nobody.
Though the Patriots entered Monday night's game with a 2-5 record, they surely were not expected to have any problem with the 0-8 New York Jets, a team universally regarded as the very worst in the NFL.
But the Patriots had plenty of problems, falling behind in the first half and struggling to contain the 32nd-ranked Jets offense. New England fought back to tie the game with just under two minutes left in regulation, before forcing a three-and-out to set up a chance to win the game.
The Patriots took over at their own 22-yard line with 47 seconds left in regulation. They drove to their own 47-yard line with 8 seconds remaining before Cam Newton delivered a strike to Jakobi Meyers for a gain of 20 yards.
After calling their final timeout, the Patriots sent kicker Nick Folk onto the field for a 51-yard game-winning attempt.
Folk's kick was perfect, and the Patriots narrowly escaped the Meadowlands with a 30-27 win.
The win lifted the Patriots to 3-5 on the season, while the Jets dropped to 0-9.
Cam Newton was 27-for-35 for 274 yards. He didn't throw any touchdowns, but he ran for two of them. Meyers caught 12 passes for 169 yards -- setting career highs in both categories.
Joe Flacco was 18-for-25 for 262 yards with three touchdowns and a costly interception.
The Jets got the scoring started with a field goal drive to begin the game, moving 58 yards on 12 plays while converting two third downs. But Breshad Perriman dropped what would have been a touchdown on a third-and-5 from the 17-yard line, forcing the Jets to settle for a field goal and take a 3-0 lead.
The Patriots answered with a 75-yard touchdown drive, which incredibly was their first offensive touchdown in the first quarter of the entire season. Newton was 4-for-4 for 55 yards as a passer on the drive, and he capped it off with a 5-yard touchdown run on a designed play to the right side.
Jakobi Meyers had two receptions for 42 yards on the drive, including a 33-yard catch just before Newton's touchdown run.
The Jets regained the lead in the second quarter, when Perriman burned past J.C. Jackson on a go route. Flacco hit him in stride, and Perriman was gone for a 50-yard touchdown. The PAT made it a 10-7 lead for the home team.
On the Patriots' next drive, Bill Belichick opted to keep the offense on the field for a fourth-and-1 from the Jets' 38-yard line. Newton handed to James White in the backfield, but White was met immediately and stopped.
The Jets capitalized on that field position by driving for another field goal, as Sergio Castillo sent a 50-yard field goal through the uprights to give the Jets a 13-7 lead.
The Patriots did respond with a scoring drive, but it was of the field goal variety, after an illegal shift penalty and a negative-yardage screen pass pushed them back into a third-and-16. Nick Folk kicked a 45-yard field goal to cut New York's lead to three points just a minute before halftime.
But the Jets -- who called two timeouts during the Patriots' drive in order to maintain time on the clock before halftime -- didn't go quietly. Flacco threw a deep ball to Perriman up the right sideline, and Jason McCourty committed pass interference, thereby giving the Jets 42 yards.
On the very next play, McCourty was beaten by Jamison Crowder, who made a toe-tapping catch in the end zone, giving the Jets a 20-10 lead.
New England came out of halftime with an impressive offensive drive, marching 78 yards on 13 plays, thanks in large part to Rex Burkhead's 25 rushing yards. Burkhead ended the drive with a 1-yard touchdown plunge, and Folk's PAT cut the Jets' lead to 20-17 midway through the third quarter.
That touchdown drive, though, was instantly matched by the Jets. Flacco and Co. embarked on another 75-yard scoring drive, and this one ended with J.C. Jackson falling over and leaving Perriman wide open for an easy 15-yard touchdown reception.
That score stretched the Jets' lead back to 10 points, at 27-17.
On the Patriots' next drive, Belichick sent the field goal unit onto the field after Newton tripped and lost four yards on a third-and-1 deep in Jets territory. But the Jets had 12 men on the field for that field goal try, giving the Patriots a free first down at the New York 9-yard line. The Patriots couldn't capitalize though, eventually settling for a 29-yard field goal attempt -- 2:30 after the initial attempt. The drive took 9:26 off the clock.
Folk's kick was good, making it a 27-20 game with 6:04 left in the fourth quarter.
On the Jets' very first offensive play of the next series, Flacco launched a deep ball to Denzel Mims, but J.C. Jackson made an over-the-shoulder interception, giving the ball to the Patriots at their own 28-yard line.
Aided by a defensive holding penalty on a third-down incompletion, the Patriots drove it deep into Jets territory with a 21-yard run from Damien Harris, a 19-yard completion to Meyers, a fourth-and-1 sneak from Newton, and a 31-yard catch-and-run from Byrd to get the ball to the Jets' 3-yard line. On third-and-goal from the 1-yard line, Newton found the end zone on a QB sneak, one play after getting stuffed on the same play. The PAT tied the game at 27-27 with 1:57 left in regulation.
The Patriots have a short week coming up, as they will host the 6-2 Baltimore Ravens next week on Sunday Night Football.
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