Opposing a lowly Patriots' secondary Mark Sanchez amassed 328 passing yards, but didn't come through on the final offensive possession of regulation or overtime. Rookie wide receiver Stephen Hill made a critical drop inside the ten yard line which would have put the Jets in prime position to punch it in for six and leave the Patriots little time to attempt a comeback. Sanchez squandered a chance to rally his teammates for a game-winning scoring drive and failed to take advantage of a vulnerable Patriots' pass defense particularly in the waning moments of the contest. Jeremy Kerley was a bright spot registering a career-high 120 receiving on seven receptions.
Shonn Greene and Joe McKnight were not prolific, but they made New England's defense honor the running game and allowed Sanchez to develop a rhythm through play action passes. For the second consecutive week Greene finished his runs with authority as the Jets eclipsed 100 yards on the ground once again. Tim Tebow was used sparingly with just four carries for 12 yards, while the Jets' 3.2 yards per carry average was less than impressive. A short-handed backfield without Bilal Powell due to a separated shoulder did a decent job against New England's top flight run defense.
Tom Brady was held in check throughout the contest, but Gang Green was unable to force a big mistake or produce a turnover on the afternoon. New York's pass-rush hit Brady twice and sacked him just once, but did a solid job of keeping him moving and uncomfortable in the passing pocket. Isaiah Trufant did a masterful job covering Wes Welker who finished with six receptions for 66 yards with 21 coming on a quick screen pass late in the third quarter. Cornerback Antonio Cromartie let an easy interception slip through his grasp in the fourth quarter, but all-told New York's secondary more than held up its end of the bargain on Sunday in Foxboro.
The Patriots were committed to the ground game carrying the ball 31 times for 131 yards and setting Brady up with third down and short yardage situations. The Jets allowed Steven Ridley to break off a 12-yard run and Shane Vereen a 16-yard rumble as the Patriots employed a well-balanced offensive attack. New York had been victimized by shifty running backs throughout the 2012 campaign and was able to keep containment on the Patriots' top ranked rushing offense.
Devin McCourty's 104-yard kickoff return for a touchdown shocked everyone including special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff. New York's coverage unit over pursued the ball-carrier and New England's cornerback made the Jets pay. Placekicker Nick Folk was a bright spot connecting on all four of his field goal attempts with two of them coming under immense pressure late in the fourth quarter. Fullback Lex Hilliard made the play of the day when he popped the ball out of McCourty's hands on a kickoff return in the fourth quarter, giving the Jets a chance to seal the victory, something New York failed to capitalize on.
Rex Ryan had his troops prepared and primed for an upset up in Foxboro. Offensive coordinator Tony Sparano's play-callling was baffling inside the red zone as he refused to use Tebow in goal-to-go situations. Sanchez made too many mental errors for the Jets to overcome despite solid execution offensively and defensively. Aside from shoddy play-calling and a few mental lapses, the Jets played with heart and determination falling just short in Week Seven.