By Tyson Rauch
On Sunday the New York Jets (4-3) added another exciting chapter to their rivalry with the New England Patriots (5-2) with a 30-27 overtime victory at MetLife Stadium. The marquee match-up featured many highs and lows including a 21-10 halftime deficit for Gang Green. At the end of the day the Jets physical line play and power running attack were the deciding factors in the game.
The key to beating the Patriots is to keep Tom Brady and the New England offense off of the field. The Jets accomplished their goal as evidenced by a time of possession of 46:13. New York put together time consuming drives that featured both the run and the intermediate passing game.
Running back Chris Ivory (104 rushing yards) had an excellent game plowing through the line of scrimmage and carrying defenders. Ivory benefitted from strong offensive line play, especially in the second half, where the offense started to wear down the Patriots defense.
Jeremy Kerley (eight catches, 97 yards, one TD) had a tremendous game as he accounted for six first down grabs and gained substantial yards after the catch. David Nelson and Jeff Cumberland also contributed with key catches in big spots.
The defensive game plan went as expected: stifle the running game and find ways to slow down Tom Brady. Gang Green held the Patriots to 90 rushing yards and kept the Patriots passing attack somewhat in check. The Jets struggled to cover tight end Rob Gronkowski (114 receiving yards) but did a solid job on Julian Edelman (44 yards) and Kenbrell Thompkins (two catches).
Solid games once again for Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, Damon Harrison, and David Harris. Antonio Allen had a huge pick six in the beginning of the second half that completely changed the tone of the game. Key stat: The Patriots were 1/12 on third down conversions.
Geno Smith (17/33, 233 passing yards, one TD, one INT) had a solid performance displaying improved decision making and better use of his legs. Geno took what the defense gave him and did not force the ball into small windows. Smith did throw a pick six but, for the most part had a legitimate command of the offense. With the game on the line the rookie once again remained composed which will continue to enhance his leadership.
Special Teams: B-
Nick Folk once again came up clutch with a game winning 42-yard field goal in overtime. Folk previously missed a 56-yard field goal, but the Jets got another chance after a penalty on the Patriots.
Punter Ryan Quiqley had an awful day averaging 30 yards a punt including several short kicks that ended up ruining the field position battle for the Jets.
Josh Cribbs did an excellent job in his first game with the Jets averaging 14 yards a punt return.
Big win for Rex Ryan
You have to give Rex Ryan and the Jets a ton of credit for bouncing back in the second half. Gang Green seemed a bit sluggish defensively in the first half and came out physical and aggressive in the second half to change the tone of the game. Geno Smith continues to learn on the job while the rest of the team finds ways to make plays around him. All in all this was a solid team effort that landed the Jets the victory.
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Tyson Rauch is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.