AFC East: Jets Have To Regroup Fast

After a humbling defeat at home to division rival New England in prime time on Sunday, the Jets have ot man up for another AFC matchup on Thursday. Can Mark Sanchez and co rebound?

Jets have to regroup quickly with game on Thursday

   Since the game clock had been ticking down on their resounding win over Buffalo last week, the Jets had been thinking about their pivotal rematch with New England.

   That's why their shattering 37-16 home loss to the Patriots on Sunday night hurt so much.

   The Jets (5-4) had a three-game winning streak snapped and were thwarted in their bid for their first 5-0 home start since 1985. New England (6-3) avoided its first three-game losing streak since 2002. More important, the Pats took over sole possession of first place in the AFC East, with the Jets and Buffalo both one game behind.

    And because the Patriots swept the Jets for the first time since 2007, they hold the tiebreaker advantage. The Jets will visit Denver (4-5) on Thursday.

   "We have to put this game behind us as fast as we can," coach Rex Ryan said. The Jets will leave for Denver on Wednesday after practicing for two days.

   "It's tough," safety Jim Leonhard said, "because really for the first time in the last three years, since Rex has been here, (the division was) right here. We win this game and we have kind of a stranglehold on the division and you let it slide. So obviously there's a lot of frustration. It was a big goal of ours to go ahead and win this division and we've put ourselves in a hole again. I'm not saying it can't happen, but it's unlikely to happen at this point."

   When asked if the Jets could turn the page so quickly, right guard Brandon Moore said, "We have to. We have no choice."

   Although Denver's Tim Tebow-led offense is somewhat Neanderthal (the Broncos attempted only eight passes in their 17-10 win over Kansas City on Sunday), it won't be easy to prepare for in such a short time. The Broncos ran for 244 yards against the Chiefs despite losing running backs Willis McGahee (hamstring) and Knowshon Moreno (knee) during the game. Third-stringer Lance Ball had a career-high 96 yards rushing for Denver.

   "You can get the taste right out of your mouth quickly," quarterback Mark Sanchez said, "if we go out and win in Denver. It's no easy task with a long trip, elevation and a good team that is playing pretty well, riding some emotion, riding some momentum after a win. We need to get rid of this loss and move on."

   Ryan agreed.

   "We have to get this thing behind us and go play Denver," the coach said.

   TRENDING: The Jets were perfectly balanced on offense in the first half against New England, attempting 16 passes and rushing the ball 16 times. That ratio became skewed toward the pass in the second half once the Jets were far behind, but their first half run-pass ratio is closer to what they want. They don't want to put the game in quarterback Mark Sanchez's hands if they don't want to.

   BY THE NUMBERS: Sanchez had been sacked only 17 times through eight games, yet New England's bottom-ranked defense dropped him five times. Defensive end Andre Carter had 4.5 sacks as the Jets often seemed confused by the Patriots' exotic blitz packages.

NOTES
   --QB Mark Sanchez went 20-for-39 for 306 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions, one of which was returned 12 yards for a score by New England LB Rob Ninkovich. His other pick wasn't really his fault. RB Shonn Greene botched an accurate throw, and Ninkovich grabbed the carom. Sanchez's other pick six came Oct. 2 at Baltimore.
   --RB LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for 38 yards on seven carries and had two receptions for 22 yards. However, he was injured on his last carry, when he took a hard spill at the end of his 6-yard gain. He was to have an MRI on Monday on his left leg. It appeared he may have suffered a serious knee injury.
   --Reserve WR Patrick Turner had his first catch of the season, a 22-yarder that led to the Jets' first touchdown. But he later suffered a kidney injury and didn't return. Turner was in the game because rookie WR-KR Jeremy Kerley had left briefly with an apparent leg injury. Kerley returned, however and finished with four catches for 79 yards.
   --K Nick Folk missed his only field-goal attempt, pushing a 24-yarder wide left after the Jets' first drive stalled. He is 12-for-14 on the season, with the only other miss coming from 50 yards.
   --S Brodney Pool (knee) missed the game. His absence proved costly against the pass-happy Patriots. Pool was injured in the Buffalo game last week but played through it.


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