Cam Newton threw three touchdown passes Sunday and caught a fourth as the New England Patriots rallied in the second half for a season-ending 28-14 win over the visiting New York Jets.
In what is likely his last game of his only season with New England (7-9), Newton enjoyed one of his best performances. He completed 21 of 30 passes for 242 yards while adding 79 yards on 11 carries.
But the Patriots will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2008. They officially were eliminated from contention Dec. 20.
New York saw its two-game winning streak snapped in what was Adam Gase’s last game as head coach, as the Jets (2-14) fired him hours later.
Newton snapped a 14-14 tie just 1:04 into the fourth quarter with a 26-yard scoring strike to Devin Asiasi. The score came four plays after J.C. Jackson intercepted Sam Darnold and returned it to the New York 45.
As snow started falling, Newton applied the decisive blow with 11:42 left, flipping a short pass that Sony Michel took 31 yards for a touchdown to made it a two-score game. The Patriots scored more points Sunday than in their previous three games combined, when they managed 24.
Darnold was effective for the Jets, hitting 23 of 34 passes for 266 yards and a touchdown but had two interceptions. The Jets took a 14-7 lead just 3:20 into the third quarter when Josh Adams powered over from the 1-yard line to cap a 75-yard drive. But their offense went silent after the score early in the second half.
New England tied the score with 2:22 left in the third quarter with a perfectly executed trick play. Jakobi Meyers pulled up after a reverse handoff to the right and found Newton leaking out of the backfield for a 19-yard touchdown.
New England initiated scoring with 11:23 remaining in the first quarter on Newton’s 7-yard scoring strike to James White. New York equalized just 1:40 before halftime when Darnold and Chris Herndon connected for a 21-yard touchdown.