New York Jets vs. New England Patriots Recap: Where are the Jets “Big Boy Pants?”
Despite both teams coming into this game with 3-3 records, the New England Patriots were 11-point favorites. Virtually nobody gave the New York Jets a chance in this game. Yet, despite committing about a half-dozen blunders, they were one first down away from a huge upset.
People might begin to view the Jets as a potential contender after this game (especially given that the schedule eases up now), but although Rex Ryan has shed over 100 pounds – it’s time he, his staff, and his players put their big boy pants on.
At a certain point you have to forget your injuries. Blaming bad calls will never work out. Staring the dragon in the face, simply, is not good enough. You have to slay the dragon. Period.
The Jets had multiple chances, from the start. After shutting down Brady and mounting the best opening drive the Jets have put together in years, a special teams blunder – allowing the Pats a 104-yard kickoff return – gave the early momentum right back to New England. At this point, a leader needs to stop the bleeding. Although Mark Sanchez played well throughout the afternoon, he needed to step up and put a long drive together at 7-7. He couldn’t – they went three-and-out and a couple of minutes later, Rob Gronkowski’s TD catch gave the hometown Pats a 14-7 advantage, and the Jets were in the familiar position of chasing Bill and Tom.
Though the Patriots’ offense only managed two touchdowns on the day (credit the Jets pass coverage as they again failed to get significant pressure on the QB), the Jets offense failed to put together an impressive drive in the middle of the game, settling for a field goal before halftime to make it a one-possession game.
Mark Sanchez, though inconsistent played like a franchise quarterback for much of this game, going 28-for-41 and 328 yards, exploiting a poor Patriots pass defense. The Jets running game was average at best, with Shonn Greene netting just 56 yards, and a touchdown.
This game, though, came down to the last 3 minutes of regulation. After rookie WR Stephen Hill dropped a drive extending first down pass, the Jets settled for a game-tying field goal. On the ensuing kickoff, the Jets special teams made a play and forcing a fumble inside the red zone just before the 2-minute-warning.
The Jets simply needed a first down here (assuming a chip shot field goal) to drain time and timeouts from New England and likely seal the deal. Or they could have forced the issue by taking a shot at the end zone, but they weren’t wearing their big boy pants.
After two small runs and a sack, the Jets settled for a field goal, giving Tom Brady a minute-and-a-half to execute a field goal drive and force overtime. Everyone in the stadium knew how that would play out and, though anything can happen in OT, it played out for the home team.
Despite Sanchez’s big day, he threw a bad interception, gave the Pats a safety with a fumbled handoff to Greene, and got stripped of the ball on the game’s final play. Any one of those plays could have cost his team the game.
Although this version of the Patriots does not resemble the most Super of them, they stand to control this division and with an easy schedule as well, we doubt if they look back. If you gave Tom and Bill any second chances — or six of them – you will pay. And you’ll find yourself in the wild card hunt, at best. Meaning there will be plenty of dragons to slay come January – if you can survive.