By Joe Giglio
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Remove the names, jerseys, decals and narratives from the equation in Gillette Stadium on Thursday night and you are left with this indisputable fact: The better team, at least on Thursday night, lost.
When the dust settled, angrily, as it was in the final few minutes due to Nick Mangold’s “tackle” and his offensive line brethren imposing their will in an illegal manner, the Jets outgained New England 318 to 232, forced Tom Brady into his worst statistical night in years, held a future Hall of Fame quarterback to 4-of-18 on third down conversions and forced more punts (11) than first downs allowed.
Yet, New York came away with a loss due to sloppy football, questionable play calling, six drops, a costly misread on New England’s opening drive and a young quarterback picking the wrong time to become careless with the football
In the big picture, Geno Smith’s learning curve and a second straight good effort from Rex Ryan’s defense will emerge as positives from a difficult week two assignment, but that overshadows the problem with the 2013 Jets.
If the team is going to over achieve, play at least .500 football and give John Idzik and Woody Johnson a reason to critically and fairly evaluate Rex Ryan after the season, they need to win games that are there for the taking.
Furthermore, they need to win games in which they outplay the other team, regardless of who the coach and quarterback on the opposite sideline happen to be on that given week.
Without multiple offensive weapons, Tom Brady was battered and frustrated throughout the night. The New England outfit that took the rain-soaked field in the second half was a shell of the team they fielded in the AFC Championship Game just eight months ago.
As many pundits accurately stated in the days leading up to Thursday night, the Jets, despite only having three days to prepare and making the road trip to Foxboro, were catching New England at the right time. Days after barely squeaking by a below average football team in Buffalo, the Pats did it again.
At 2-0, New England has stolen two division wins despite not having close to their full complement of players. When they win the AFC East with ease again, come back and look at the box scores from the first two weeks of the season. Their ability to win games without their best effort is what separates them from the rest of the division.
At 1-1, the Jets season is far from over and a positive spin can be taken away from Geno Smith’s toughness, back-to-back close games and the ability to prepare 10 days before a home game with Buffalo, but for a team that is desperate for victories to change perception around the league, New York left one on the table on Thursday night.
As the context of the game showed, New England isn’t a very good football team right now. If they went up against a good football team, a loss would likely ensue.
Unfortunately for the Jets, the first loss of the season proved what many have thought for months: They’re not good enough to win consistently, regardless of the quality of opponent.