The Jets defeated the New England Patriots 30-27 in overtime to run their record to 4-3 on the season. Geno Smith was sharp for the most part and definitely improved over the first matchup with New England. Chris Ivory delivered as the runner we were promised and the defense got the best of Tom Brady. Here is the good, the bad and the ugly:
1) Defense buries the Patriots in the second half and overtime – Tom Brady and the Patriots amassed -6 yards, was sacked three times and threw a pick-6 in five possessions of the 3rd quarter. That is just a microcosm of a very frustrating day for Brady and the Patriots who turned a 21-10 halftime lead into 30-27 defeat. Brady finished 22/46 for 228 yards with 0 touchdowns and one interception. Despite getting Rob Gronkowski back (eight catches 114 yards) Brady could not find a rhythm and that was due to the excellent job done by Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson, Darrin Walls and despite getting picked on a bit Dee Milliner still played well. Antonio Allen had the unenviable task of covering Gronkowski mostly in man coverage and not only registered three huge passes defended and one interception returned for a touchdown, but also changed the momentum of the game with his pick six. The pass rush generated four sacks including strip sacks by Coples and Pace as well as sacks by Wilkerson and Snacks Harrison.
2) The moment isn’t too big for Geno Smith – Geno Smith wasn’t his most accurate on Sunday, nor was he his sharpest against the rush, nor even had his most yards rushing but he was in control. He made the completions when he needed it and led five scoring drives including his 3rd game ending drive this year this time in overtime. Smith finished 17/33 for 233 yards with one touchdown passing, one touchdown rushing and one interception. He was 6/6 on 3rd down to open the game and finished 11/21 as compared to 1/12 for Brady and the Patriots. He had a huge 3rd down scramble where he was able to reach the ball out with a final lunge to get it followed by a beautiful burst on an eight yard run. He did make one giant mistake and we will cover that under The Bad. Jeremy Kerley stepped up in the absence of Santonio Holmes and caught eight balls for 97 yards, most of which were huge 3rd down conversions. David Nelson had four catches for 80 yards. Jeff Cumberland had three for 41 yards but dropped two huge passes. The first pass would have been a 3rd quarter touchdown and the second one would have sealed the game and let them run out the clock late in the 4th quarter. Smith and Cumberland have chemistry but it won’t do any good if Cumberland can’t catch it.
3) Chris Ivory and controlling the clock – Chris Ivory ran the ball 34 times for 107 yards. The Jets as a whole ran the ball 52 times for 177 yards. They slowly wore down the Patriots front to where Ivory was most effective towards the end of the 4th quarter and overtime. In fact the first 8 plays of overtime were all runs. Ivory showed power up the middle but he also enough speed to get outside around the corner. All this running let the Jets control the clock for 46 out of 70 minutes. It kept the defense fresh and wore out the Patriots. Look for Ivory getting the ball a ton and playaction being built around that to give Geno even more time to throw and his receivers more separation.
4) Nick Folk and Josh Cribbs – Nick Folk was 3/3 in field goals and 3/3 in extra points keeping his perfect season intact. He is now 16/16 on the season including 3 game winning kicks. The winds began to swirl today and unfortunately Folk’s kickoffs began to suffer as he had multiple kickoffs returned. Josh Cribbs returned kicks and punts today and made his presence felt immediately. On his first return he took a ball at the Jets 26 and ran 15 yards to the 41 giving a much improved starting field position. His second return goes from the Jets 40 to the Jets 48 improving field position and starting a touchdown drive. The following return takes the ball from the Jets 17 to the 38 flipping field position by himself and helping set up a field goal drive. 3 punt returns 14.7 yard average per return 10 points on following drives. Not a bad day.
5) Finally the Jets get a call and it’s the right one – As Nick Folk missed a 56 yard field goal wide left it looked like Brady would get the ball at midfield in overtime but a flag was thrown. A Patriot player pushed one of his teammates into the line of scrimmage. This year the rule was put in to protect centers and long snappers from the extra force of a pushed player. It is an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that gave the Jets new life and allowed them to set up for the game winning 42 yard field goal.