Monday Morning Quarterback: Week 7 Jets vs. Patriots
By Alan Schechter
Oct 21, 2012; Foxboro, MA, USA; New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick (left) and New York Jets coach Rex Ryan shake hands after the game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Farrell/THE STAR-LEDGER via US PRESSWIRE
In a game that nobody thought the Jets would be close in for more than about five minutes, the Jets put in one heck of an effort. Give the Jets credit for giving the Patriots a run for their money in a game that was “supposed” to be a blow out. In the end, the Jets came up a little bit short, falling to New England 29-26 in overtime, dropping their record to 3-4.
There is a lot to talk about in this game, so let’s get to it:
The Jets offense actually outgained the Patriots 403 to 381. Overall, the offense did move the ball through a good portion of this football game, including a late comeback to take the lead 26-23 with 1:31 remaining. Mark Sanchez did have a decent game, 28-41 for 328 yards and 1 TD and 1 INT. Jeremy Kerley had a breakout game with 7 catches for 120 yards, and Dustin Keller made a triumphant return to health with 7 catches for 93 yards and 1 TD of his own.
Hats off to the Jets defense as well. Nobody really stood out, but the unit stood out. LaRon Landry did contribute 12 tackles on the day, but other than that, there wasn’t anything statistically spectacular. They recorded 1 sack, but did hurry Tom Brady when needed, holding him to under 300 yards passing for the game. Other than the end of the game and in overtime, the defense made the stops that it needed to make, giving the offense a chance to win the football game, which is all you can ask for from a defense.
This game for the Jets was a game of missed opportunities. The first one was early, with the loss of momentum:
Oct 21, 2012; Foxboro, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty (32) returns the ball for a touchdown during the first quarter against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE
This guy took away the momentum early, Devin McCourty. After forcing a Patriots punt on the opening drive, the Jets put together an 11 play scoring drive that ended in a Shonn Greene 1 yard TD. But, the Jets have a rare special teams gaffe, and give the momentum back to the Patriots by allowing the 104 yard kickoff return TD by Devin McCourty. All the life that the Jets had taken out of the Patriots by scoring the first TD, was taken away by that score. The Jets took a while to get the offense back in rhythm after that back breaking TD return.
The next killer play came after the Patriots went ahead 14-7.
October 21, 2012; Foxboro, MA USA; New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) throws a pass during the second quarter against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-US PRESSWIRE
The next two plays involved everyone’s favorite player to either love or hate, Mark Sanchez. He played well overall, as mentioned on the previous page, but he did make a couple of head scratchers. The first was the botched handoff in the second quarter. He did make a heads up play by kicking it out of the end zone so it would only be a safety rather than a touchdown, but he has to make a clean handoff. Put it in Shonn Greene’s gut, and get it in there securely, period. That cannot happen.
Second was the pass to Stephen Hill, which was 100% on Mark Sanchez no matter how you slice it. Hill was open, by a wide margin. The throw was late, and severely underthrown, making the interception an easy one. It had too much air, and it was just terrible. But you still have to give the offense credit for getting in position to convert a Nick Folk field goal to bring the game to within one score before the break.
Another topic in the football game has to be play calling, which at times was very interesting. Early in the second half was one of the biggest examples.
Oct 14, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano on the sidelines against the Indianapolis Colts during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Jets won 35-9. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE
Tony Sparano has had his dubious moments as the play caller, and the first drive of the second half was an excellent example. After bringing the game to 16-10 at the half, the Jets take the opening kickoff and drive to the Patriots’ 3 yard line, setting up a third and two. Do they give the ball to Shonn Greene who has converted every third and short all season? No. Do they give it to Tim Tebow who was brought in here for red zone work? No. They run a predictable slant throw, miss on it, and settle for a field goal. What happens if Shonn or Tim power into the end zone? We will never know.
Speaking of Tim Tebow by the way, if the lack of use of him in yesterday’s game doesn’t prove that Rex Ryan and Tony Sparano wanted no part of him, I don’t know what will. The fact that he is never used shows as clear as day that the only one that wanted Tebow in town was Woody Johnson. Period.
But back to the play calling. After the Jets tied the football game at 23, they come up with a huge special teams play, recovering a Devin McCourty fumble on the kickoff, setting them up at the Patriots’ 18 yard line. So, with this sudden change in momentum, does Tony call for a shot to the endzone? Nope. 2 runs, a pass on third and long, and the Jets settle for a field goal, putting them ahead, but leaving Brady 1:31 to tie the game. For Tom Brady, 1:31 is like a quarter and a half to anyone else.
The game ending play was one that gives all of the anti-Sanchez fans their ammunition. It’s second and 10 from the Jets 40, and Mark drops back to see nobody open. Instead of getting the ball out of his hands, he holds it too long, and fumbles the ball. That’s your ballgame. Mark has become more aware at times, but there are moments where he drifts back into that rookie mentality of trying to make a play when none is there. On that play, Mark HAS to throw the ball away. Third down is there for them, if there isn’t a play, don’t force it. If the Jets had that third down play, they might have had the chance to tie or win the game.
A good effort by the Jets, but they made too many mistakes to get past. Back home for Miami next week, to try to get to 4-4 going into the bye week.