“Our biggest games are ahead of us,” Brady said.
Lewis finished with a season-high 26 carries for 93 yards, and Brandin Cooks had five catches for 79 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Rob Gronkowski finished without a catch for the first time this season. Lewis, Cooks and Gronkowski all accumulated more than 1,000 yards from scrimmage in 2017, the first time three Patriots players had accomplished that in the same season.
James Harrison, who was signed by New England on Tuesday after being cut by Pittsburgh, had two sacks — on consecutive plays to end the game — and finished with five total tackles and a forced fumble.
The temperature was 13 degrees at kickoff, but that didn’t stop the Patriots from being aggressive.
They won the coin toss and elected to receive, forgoing their typical decision to defer until the second half. The offense quickly moved 75 yards in just 13 plays to take a 7-0 lead on a 3-yard run by Lewis. The drive included a fourth-down pass conversion, one of three completions between Brady and Danny Amendola in the series.
Penalties on the Jets’ defense aided New England’s final two scores of the first half. Safety Marcus Maye was called for a 39-yard pass interference penalty early in the second quarter that set up a 5-yard touchdown pass from Brady to Cooks that made the score 14-3.
Just before halftime, Jets cornerback Juston Burris was flagged for defensive holding on a Patriots’ third-down pass attempt. New England got into the end zone three plays later with another 5-yard touchdown pass, this time from Brady to Lewis.
The Jets’ offense was anemic throughout. Bryce Petty played the entire game at quarterback even though it had appeared that Christian Hackenberg might take his first regular-season snap at some point in the finale. Petty was 19 of 36 for 232 yards. The Jets were 0 for 12 on third down and 0 for 1 in their lone trip into the red zone.
“We stuck together,” Jets linebacker David Bass said. “We went through adversity, ups and downs, but more downs than we wanted. We stuck together through it all.”
Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson left the game after a fourth-quarter hit by Stephon Gilmore, and Coach Todd Bowles said later that Anderson had suffered a concussion.
Patriots safety Devin McCourty said earning the top seed showed the toughness of a team that had lost critical players such as Julian Edelman and Dont’a Hightower to injury.
“Those things we went through, when you wrap up the 2017 season, molded us, shaped us,” McCourty said. “You look back on all that now, we needed all that.”
This was the coldest regular-season home game in Patriots history. They hosted a playoff games that was colder — in the divisional round against the Tennessee Titans on Jan. 10, 2004, when it was 4 degrees with a wind chill that made it feel like minus 10.
To test the weather, Jets safety Jamal Adams went outside shirtless for pregame exercises. He soon got a text from his mother.
“I put my shirt on, real quick,” he said.