PASSING OFFENSE: A-minus -- Tom Brady bounced back nicely from an uncharacteristically poor performance against the Giants. Although the Jets dropped three sure interceptions, Brady completed 26 of 39 passes for 329 yards and three touchdowns against one of the top secondaries in the NFL. TE Rob Gronkowski continued his stellar season with two more touchdown catches in the red zone.
RUSHING OFFENSE: B -- The Patriots didn't run much, but they spread the wealth in the backfield with five different players, including Brady, getting carries. Danny Woodhead was the most effective of them all, carrying seven times for 38 yards. He did his best work in the second half while the Patriots were distancing themselves from the Jets on the scoreboard.
PASS DEFENSE: A -- You would have never guessed this would be possible without Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung, but the Patriots held the Jets' passing game in check despite a makeshift secondary. New England got an outstanding effort from the pass rush, particularly Andre Carter, who set a franchise record with 4.5 sacks. The whole front seven played well, pressuring Mark Sanchez throughout the game.
RUSH DEFENSE: B -- Not bad, but not great either. Shonn Green was effective at times, rushing for 61 yards on 13 carries, but the Jets never really established enough of a presence in the running game to dissuade the Patriots from blitzing Sanchez heavily. Numbers aside, the Patriots did the job, even with Sanchez rushing for a touchdown.
SPECIAL TEAMS: A -- Credit the coverage unit for never quitting when the Jets' Joe McKnight muffed a punt in the third quarter, ultimately recovering the ball in New York territory. Aside from that one play, not much else stood out. Stephen Gostkowski's 50-yarder -- one of two field goals for him -- was the only other major highlight. Solid effort all around.
COACHING: A -- This was the kind of aggressive game plan fans have been calling for. Rather than sitting back and waiting for their makeshift secondary to get picked apart, the Patriots kept constant pressure on Sanchez, forcing the third-year quarterback into a number of ill-advised throws. Sanchez never got comfortable, and the Patriots, for once, showed the aggressiveness they've been lacking all year.
|Jets Mark Sanchez sacked by Patriots Andre Carter Nov 13, 2011. Carter recorded 4.5 on the day. (Nick Laham/Getty Images)|
JETS REPORT CARD VS. PATRIOTS
PASSING OFFENSE: D -- QB Mark Sanchez and his receivers were unable to adequately exploit a New England pass defense that entered the game ranked last in the NFL. Worse yet, the already injury-plagued secondary lost its best player, CB Devin McCourty, to a shoulder injury in the second quarter. He didn't return. Sanchez was sacked five times and threw two interceptions, including his second pick-six of the season. WR Santonio Holmes had six receptions for 93 yards, but his 27-yard catch on the first drive went for naught as he failed to keep his feet with a chance to get to the end zone. The Jets didn't score on that drive.
RUSHING OFFENSE: B-plus -- Incomplete might be a more accurate grade, as the Jets ran effectively in the first half with 78 yards on 16 rushes, but only sparingly (nine attempts for 32 yards) afterward. Sanchez's 2-yard quarterback draw for a touchdown was made possible by RG Brandon Moore's block of NT Vince Wilfork.
PASS DEFENSE: F -- The Jets didn't sack Tom Brady once, nor could they cover TE Rob Gronkowski, who had eight receptions for 113 yards and two TDs. He would have had a third touchdown had he not stepped out of the back of the end zone before making a diving grab. WR Deion Branch outmaneuvered CB Kyle Wilson for an easy 8-yard score, and Wilson also dropped a potential momentum-changing interception in the first half. Even Chad Ochocinco came out of mothballs to catch two passes, including a wide-open 53-yarder in the first quarter.
RUSH DEFENSE: A -- After rushing for a career-high 136 yards in the previous meeting, BenJarvus Green-Ellis was limited to eight yards on eight carries. The Patriots finished with only 60 yards on the ground, but former Jet Danny Woodhead did have runs of 5, 6 and 7 yards to help jump-start New England's final touchdown drive. CB Darrelle Revis showed his versatility later in that drive by spilling Kevin Faulk for a 3-yard loss.
SPECIAL TEAMS: D -- K Nick Folk missed a 24-yard chip shot in the first quarter, silencing the home crowd and ruining the Jets' momentum. Joe McKnight nearly broke a 38-yard kickoff return, but later muffed a punt, setting up a Patriots' field goal. T.J. Conley averaged 41.2 yards net on five punts, and the Jets held the Patriots' return game in check for the most part.
COACHING: F -- Coach Rex Ryan and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine were unable to get the proper personnel on the field many times, and on several occasions Patriots' receivers were uncovered at the line of scrimmage. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer was unable to make the adjustments to slow down the Patriots' pass rush. As for special teams, using McKnight on a punt return instead of sure-handed Jim Leonhard wasn't smart. Clock management also was a major issue. Finally, Ryan's team simply wasn't mentally sharp in such a big game, and that falls on the head coach.
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