Thanksgiving is a time where fans, especially in New England, have more than a few things to be grateful for: Tom Brady's return, the hopeful crop of rookies from the 2009 Draft and of course, coming away with a positive win rival New York Jets.
On what started out to be rather pleasant afternoon, the Patriots charged onto the field at Gillette Stadium trying to shake off the disappointing loss to Peyton Manning and the Colts. Rookie standout Julian Edelman explains his college mindset when it came to losing a game, " in college, before being in New England, our coach always reminded us after loss that you have to be like New England and bounce back and win out that game. You never lose two in a row. That tells you something about this franchise "
Brady and the Patriots were facing a different type of opponent on this past Sunday. Let's remind ourselves of the loss the Patriots endured during their first meeting with the Jets in late September. Tom Brady struggled with engineering a comeback and Mark Sanchez came out of the game a savior and a sign of hope for Rex Ryan's Jets and their fans.
That wasn't the case this time around.
At 45 degrees and with a light, cool chill in the air, Gillette Stadium and all it's fans were ready for redemption. Mark Sanchez and the Jets came onto the field at 4-5 and left at 4-6 thanks to some of the great defensive plays from the Patriots. Veteran cornerback Leigh Bodden got redemption after making my rookie list last week with three interceptions and one resulting in a touchdown. Bodden has since received the AFC's Defensive Player of the Week.
Linebacker Pierre Woods was in awe of Bodden's performance. "I think it was conspiracy or something," Woods said. "Three wide-open fair catches, two more on a knee, one was right there to him and he ran it in for a touchdown As a defensive back or any other player, you wish you could have a game like that."
It was the defense that came out to play this time around. Jets' quarterback Mark Sanchez was held at completing only 8 of 21 passes, sacked twice for a total loss of 14 yards, intercepted three times, and had a quarterback rating of 37.1. So maybe Sanchez is taking the New England mindset of getting through defeats, "Take it one game at a time and study this tape and learn You can't afford to have turnovers like that and win games in the NFL"
Tom Brady completed the game at 28 for 41 passes and obtaining 310 yards, one touchdown and a rating of 98.6. His receiver of choice of the evening? Number 83. Wes Welker had a career best with 15 catches and 192 yards. The fan favored receiver has even Coach Belichick singing his praises, "Wes is probably the best slot receiver in the league.." It really is that simple.
As the game concluded, a few things became eminent about the New England Patriots. First, that they were over that loss against the Colts. Second, their defense is far from being "too old" or "slowing down". The secondary kept pressure on the Mark Sanchez and forced him to make hasty passes, eventually into the hands of Bodden.
Final score, 31-14 in favor of the Patriots.
Here are a few things that I am thankful for:
- Thank you Wes Welker for being so good at making a catch and squeezing every yard possible out of it.
- Thank you Leigh Bodden for showing your experience and teaching Mark Sanchez what happens after several rushed and careless throws.
- Thank you New England Patriots for the win and keeping Rex Ryan quiet, at least for a few days.
ROOKIE REPORT CARD - Patriots Vs Jets
Wide Receiver Julian Edelman: A -
11 weeks in and this kid has not stopped. He keeps getting better and better with every game and he's become even more invaluable with Wes Welker playing in the same open field. Two is so much better than one. Did I mention his modesty as well? "Any time you're out there with 81 and 83, it's a lot of fun watching those guys play and helping the team as long as I contribute to the team and help them, that's my job"
Cornerback Leigh Bodden: A+
Ok, so I gave him a C last week for his rookie behavior. I felt that it was only right to give him an A+ this week for reminding Patriots' fans that Asante Samuel isn't the only guy who can do the job for New England. Great defensive plays for Bodden with 10 tackles in addition to the three interceptions. A job well done. [Editor's Note: Technically Bodden isn't a rookie, but it is his first year in New England]
Kisha Tapangan covers the NFL and the New England Patriots for PatriotsInsider.com. To read more of her material, visit her blog at www.nrwithkisha.com . To contact Kisha, you can email her here: firstname.lastname@example.org