PATRIOTS - JETS: Report Cards

The report card for the New York Jets isn't a pretty one, and there's not much reason to think it should be any different. They failed to execute when the game was well within reach, allowing the Patriots to move one step closer to the postseason. New England's defense performed well enough to get some of their best grades of the season. See what both teams report cards look like inside.

PHOTO: Michael Stone #24 and Bethel Johnson #81 of the New England Patriots congratulate teammate James Sanders #36 after a tackle against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on December 4, 2005 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Jets 16-3. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

PATRIOTS - JETS: Report Cards
By Site Staff


PASSING OFFENSE: B-plus -- No touchdowns but no interceptions either for Tom Brady, who was coming off a four-pick outing in Kansas City. Brady (27-for-37 for 271 yards) spread the ball around -- five players had either four or five catches -- and generally took what the Jets defense was giving him. He kept most of his throws short and stayed away from former teammate Ty Law, now a Jets cornerback. Brady's one bad moment came when he threw behind Troy Brown (five catches for 46 yards) in the end zone on third down, forcing the Patriots to settle for a field goal in the second quarter. The return of receiver David Givens (5-27) and third-down back Kevin Faulk (4-46) helped a lot. The offensive line allowed two sacks, both in the first quarter.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B-plus -- With Corey Dillon (16 carries for 65 yards) back in the lineup after not touching the ball for the three previous games, the Patriots churned out a season-high 146 yards on the ground. Faulk chipped in 35 yards on 10 carries, and third-stringer Mike Cloud, who was re-signed the week before the game, added 27 yards on five garbage-time rushes. The run game helped the Patriots hold the ball for a season-high 38 minutes, 10 seconds.

PASS DEFENSE: A -- The Patriots aggressively went after Jets QB Brooks Bollinger and were rewarded handsomely as he completed only 15 of 37 attempts for 135 yards with two sacks and an interception. His passer rating (39.8) was the lowest for a Patriots opponent this season. The Patriots had allowed four straight quarterbacks to throw for 300-plus yards against them, but Bollinger never got started. Through the first three quarters, the Jets' top two receivers -- Justin McCareins and Laveranues Coles -- had one catch each.

RUN DEFENSE: A-plus -- Can't do it any better than this. Against a team that didn't threaten them through the air, the Patriots clamped down on former teammate Curtis Martin, limiting him to a measly 29 yards on 15 carries (a 1.9-yard average). His long run was a 5-yarder. That was a far cry from the previous week when Kansas City's Larry Johnson gouged the Patriots for 119 yards. The only reason the Jets cracked the 30-yard mark as a team is that Bollinger scrambled for 12 yards.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- The coverage units for both teams outplayed the returners. The Patriots averaged 16.0 yards on kickoff returns, the Jets 14.0. The Patriots averaged 5.7 yards on punt returns, the Jets 7.0. Kicker Adam Vinatieri made three of his four field-goal attempts, missing only on a 45-yarder. The Jets downed punts at the Patriots 1- and 2-yard lines but could not convert the field position into points either time.

COACHING: A -- After weeks of playing read-and-react, the defense got more aggressive. OK, it was against an injury-marred offense. But the strategy tweak was a welcome change of pace. Once again, the Patriots bounced back well from a loss. Having some key pieces back on offense made the play-calling easier.



PASSING OFFENSE: F -- QB Brooks Bollinger dropped to 0-5 as a starter, as he had problems with the wind, snow, and most of all, the Patriots' blitzes. His longest completions of the day were to TEs Joel Dreessen and Doug Jolley, 17 and 15 yards, respectively. His longest hookup with a wideout was a 14-yarder to Laveranues Coles. He was sacked twice, threw one pick and had a passer rating of 39.8.

RUSHING OFFENSE: F -- Curtis Martin's quest to become the first NFL player to rush for at least 1,000 yards in his first 11 seasons took a hit Sunday as Martin took plenty of hits, netting only 29 yards on 15 carries. The anemic ground game allowed the Jets little opportunity to use play-action.

PASS DEFENSE: F -- Tom Brady passed for 271 yards despite the weather and spread the ball around to seven receivers. Yes, DE John Abraham notched his first sack in four games, but he also had a roughing-the-passer penalty that gave New England a first-and-goal at the 7. CB Ty Law was a non-factor in his return, but at least he didn't commit a penalty. FS Erik Coleman should have recovered Kevin Faulk's third-quarter fumble but didn't.

RUSH DEFENSE: C -- The Patriots grinded out 4.2 yards per carry with Corey Dillon, back in the lineup after missing two games with an injury, leading the team with 65 yards on 16 attempts. The final play of the game was symbolic, as the Pats went for it on fourth-and-1 from the Jets' 30 and Tom Brady powered up the middle for 3 yards behind a huge surge from his offensive line.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- Justin Miller averaged a mediocre 17 yards on three kickoff returns, and Jerricho Cotchery averaged 7 yards on two punt returns. Ben Graham had a 39.2-yard net average and had two punts downed inside the 5. Mike Nugent was able to knife a 38-yard field goal through the wind for the Jets' lone score, but his two kickoffs were very short.

COACHING: D -- When your team is 2-9, why not take some chances? That's why the Jets' decision to run on third-and-5 from New England's 20 in the second quarter after a lost Brooks Bollinger fumble was so puzzling. Once again, the Jets offense lost the chess match against Bill Belichick and the New England defense, as the Patriots closed off Bollinger's bootlegs and the Jets couldn't adjust. Also, Herm Edwards should have challenged Faulk's fumble in the third quarter, which gave New England a first down when he recovered it. Replays appeared to show Faulk never had control of the ball, and the call might have been overturned.


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