While it is always difficult to toe the line between objective observer and fan, last night was a real test of my ability to be either one.
The Jets 37-16 loss to the Patriots – which made for the most points allowed at home under Rex Ryan- was one of the sloppiest, stupidest games I have watched this team play. I cannot help but feel that they could have been put up a fight but instead, they beat themselves. I don’t care what anyone says about Tom Brady. The Jets beat the Jets.
Missed assignments, penalties, fumbles..you name it. The game was filled with it. That is not how you want to go down. What happened to the smash-mouth physical team we’ve watched for the past 6 quarters?
That said, I have to majorly hand it to Belichick. I waxed on and on last week about this Patriots defense that was ranked near the bottom in every statistical category. It didn’t matter.
The Patriots started 10 undrafted free agents on defense last night. They were also missing veteran linebackers, safety Patrick Chung and eventually Devin McCourty and James Ihedigbo (For goodness sake, Julian Edelman was playing on defense). It didn’t matter.
The Patriots don’t have a “pass rush.” It didn’t matter.
Belichick put together a fake defense and it worked.
You know what else He did it on offense too. He knew that Revis would be on Welker and he planned for it. He threw stuff at this defense and they couldn’t handle it. That’s Belichick for you.
There is certainly plenty of blame to go around and I think it should be shared. No one person is to blame for this. The whole team is. They were outplayed and out-coached in every phase of the game. This isn’t insight, that is fact.
I’ll point out a few things that stood out to me and once I am done with it, I am throwing it away. The Jets travel to Denver in 2 days. There is not time to dwell.
- In one respect, it was nice to Sanchez waiting to see plays develop. He has a tendency to force things and that is often how he makes mistakes. However, Sanchez held on to the ball too long, especially in the first half, and it cost them. For my money, I also think there were some missed assignments with the line that, combined with what Belichick did with those rushers, could not be explained. So while the protection was greatly improved in the second half, I’m afraid it was too little too late.
- Slightly disappointing to see Sanchez unable to take greater advantage of a secondary that is, to put it nicely, terrible. And depleted. Again, hard to say if that was game plan or quarterback. I’m going to lean towards both. We all knew they weren’t going to air it out all day long but a lot of the playmakers just weren’t involved.
- The Patriots basically don’t have a pass rush but they created one. Andre Carter had 3.5 sacks. Who is Andre Carter, you ask? Exactly.
- Another costly mistake? (Sorry, I promise this is the last one) Calling the timeout late in the first half. It ultimately cost the Jets a score because it gave Tom Brady the time to drive it down the field. Hindsight is 20/20 and the Jets scored a touchdown in the drive but sounds like people weren’t on the same page. Rex (allegedly) called it, ” the stupidest play in football history.” Oooookay… (He later added it was “his reponsibility.”) I know this is going to be widely debated but this wasn’t what cost the game.
- Because I can’t just spew negativity for an entire post, I will give Sanchez some credit. He continues to work the play action and it’s a real strength for this offense.
- Not too much to say about the running game. It did what it was supposed to do and the yards per carry were improved. Line was making very nice lanes for them.
- Plaxico Burress is really beginning to show why he was brought to this team. So impressed with what he did last night. He may not be as fast as he once was but his size is a huge asset.
- About Matthew Mulligan : He is a liability at this point. Please keep him on the bench. I need to see Shawn Nelson in the game, asap.
- While the Jets defense took a beating from the beginning, the momentum momentarily shifted when Brady was taken down for a safety by Jamaal Westerman, who forced intentional grounding. But it was short lived. The rest of the game was mostly disappointing.
- Let’s talk about Rob Gronkowski. The Jets simply had no answer for him. The absence of Brodney Pool was very costly and both Donald Strickland and Eric Smith were over-matched. It looked like the defense made an adjustment at the half: We saw Revis on Gronkowski on for a snap at the top of the third quarter. But it didn’t last. Brady continued to go after Smith and Strickland all night. Lesson learned here? Gronkowski will continue to be a problem for them (and every other defense) going forward. They have to figure out something.
- The other primary targets for Brady? Deion Branch and Chad Ochocinco, of all people. It’s like the Patriots turned to Welker and said, “Hey–yeah, we aren’t giving you the ball. Just pretend we are.” It worked. Speaking of Welker, he had little impact on the game, thanks to Revis. Sadly, it did not matter.
- The defense needed to be more opportunistic. There were way too many drops that could have been interceptions. Can’t get too upset for dropping defensive catches but, at that same time, that is how you beat Tom Brady.
- There was a lot of missed assignments on defense, right from the get-go. I don’t know how to explain it other than to say it was sloppy. Was the scheme too complex? Or did Belichick show too many wrinkles? Perhaps it was both.
- That stupid no-huddle kills them every time.
- Tom Brady was Tom Brady for most of the game. He still under or overthrew a couple of passes that looked uncharacteristic but I have to give credit where credit is due. He did his Tom Brady thing.
- Where was the pass rush?
- Nick missed a FG. So what? He’s been great all season. Give him a break.
- Two significant special teams fumbles were costly.
Of course, Twitter is a place where people love to dish it out. In case you hadn’t noticed, there are a lot of “haters” (I hate that word) out there and Sanchez is their number one target. He was mostly disappointing but he was not the reason they lost the game. You can dislike Sanchez him all you want but he isn’t going anywhere. So sit tight and hope it gets better.
As for winning the division? It seems rather unlikely now. So let’s all focus our energy on finishing the season as strong as possible.