On Sunday at the Meadowlands, Ryan and the tenacious defense of the New York Jets smacked the New England Patriots in the mouth. The bully of the AFC East for the past decade was pushed around the field, and knocked the Patriots onto the back of their heels all day.
The average Patriots fan would have never thought that the defensive unit of the New York Jets could be as voracious as the one that showed up on Sunday. Jets defenders were blitzing, hurrying and making Tom Brady move out of the pocket all day long. To be kind they made it uncomfortable for the New England quarterback all day.
The late game defensive play of the Jets was a far cry from what this team saw the previous week when the Buffalo Bills settled into a prevent defense. Sunday, the Jets came after Tom Brady to close it out and put the nail in the coffin.
The New York defense never let the New England Patriots "potent offense" in the end zone once. That offensive futility has not happened in over three years.
Looking at it as a fan of football, the New York Jets brought their A-game and really hit the Patriots where it hurts the most Tom Brady. Even though the Jets never recorded a sack the entire game, they did enough to pressure him all day.
As for the game itself, the showdown started with the New England defense sacking young rookie quarterback, Mark Sanchez and causing a fumble at the hands of Mike Wright. The defense looked hungry, taking it to the team that talked trash all week long.
The Patriots offense moved the ball fairly well with Fred Taylor leading the way, looking as if he was a twenty-year-old running back out there. But every time that Tom Brady would drop back to pass the ball he had green and white jerseys in his face and could never find a rhythm. He ended up overthrowing WR Joey Galloway on various throws throughout the game and did not connect on easy passes to other receivers. Some of the misses were in crucial spots, even in the end zone.
I do not recall once during the game where Brady was able to move the pocket but rather was MOVED by the pocket. He looked flustered and even confused at times. This was evident with the great field position that the Patriots possessed throughout the game and had to settle for three straight field goals where they could never strike gold in the red zone.
A positive to take away from this battle was the defensive line of the Patriots and the shut down defense in Vince Wilfork, Ty Warren and Jarvis Green. Even though it felt like the New York Jets were running the ball almost every single play, they were also only able to put the pigskin into the endzone once the entire day. I felt that the Patriots linebackers and front three held their own against a formidable Jets running game powered by Leon Washington and Thomas Jones.
The big area of concern was the secondary defense in third and long situations where the defense was giving up the big play over the middle of the field and just enough yardages to gain those critical first downs when needed by Rex Ryan's Jets.
As Bill Belichick said in the post game conference, "They (Jets) played a better game then we did that's it". That statement sums up the entire game plan, coaching and play on the field. The Jets wanted it more than the Patriots on this sunny Sunday in mid September
Injuries to key Patriots (Jerod Mayo and Wes Welker) made winning very difficult. The Patriots defense looked tired over the middle, and the Jets defense was able to double down on Randy Moss all day to keep him under wraps.
Even though it hurts me to say it, I am going to still give out the awards for this tough defensive battle of a game to watch.
Game Ball - Rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez. With a 101 rating on the day, he performed "as advertised" and he is really going to be something special in New York. Even though he only threw for 163 yards on the day, he controlled the game when he needed to and looked both composed and determined to win the game. He also showed the ability to adjust at halftime and make the appropriate changes to the game to light it up second half.
Game Stall - Offensive Line of the New England Patriots. The Jets were all over Brady all day with no room to breathe. He was on his heels and was being flushed out of the pocket from start to finish. The offensive line could not even see straight with the blitz packages that were being thrown at them. They looked old and lackluster. Hopefully this will not be the template that other teams follow in this "copycat league." The offensive line better eat their Wheaties before the next game so they can do a better job protecting Brady and this season.
Play of the Game - The defensive stop at the end of the game where the entire football world felt that Tom Brady was going to drive for another comeback victory. The defensive unit of Rex Ryan put their money where their mouths were and shut down the Patriots on four downs.
This game was a brawl between two AFC East teams that were hungry to beat each other and one just seemed to want it more. These are very critical games for the playoff race at the end of the season so, I think the Patriots will be looking for revenge when they meet again at Gillette in November.
Hopefully this game will be a learning experience for the Patriots and the uninspiring offensive line before they meet a very hot and hungry Atlanta Falcons team next week. If the secondary looks like they did Sunday, it could be a very long game. Michael Turner is a much different running back than Leon Washington and Matt Ryan has experience on his side over Mark Sanchez so, hopefully the game planning will be more effective next week in Foxborough
The Patriots need to lick their wounds, go over film and get back to it as soon as possible.
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