By Steve Kallas
What are the real ramifications of the New England Patriots embarrassing the New York Jets, 45-3, this past Sunday? Can the Jets really “bury” this loss (or, at least, a football from this loss), turn over a new leaf, storm on to the playoffs and win the Super Bowl?
It says here that the Jets just had their best opportunity to get to the Super Bowl and, by badly losing to the Patriots, the window on the Jets winning the Super Bowl just closed for this year and, frankly, the next few years.
WHAT HAPPENED LAST WEEK?
Well, what happened last week is what you often see when Bill Belichick gets extra time to prepare for a team. During the game, we were told a couple of times about how Belichick sat in a room alone with Tom Brady, breaking down film of the Jets for a couple of hours and giving Brady a different view point on the Jet defense. The Patriots moved the ball against the once-vaunted Jet defense like it was 11 against 9 and there was very little the Jets could do about it.
And while many after the game and the next day guessed as to exactly what “message” Belichick was sending to the Jets, the message seemed pretty clear to this writer: Advancing to the Super Bowl is probably going to go through New England and, if the Jets get back there, there’s no way the Jets can beat the Patriots in Foxboro.
WHAT HAPPENED TO REX RYAN?
Ryan really did look flummoxed on the sideline, as if he couldn’t believe what was going on (and, apparently, he couldn’t believe what was going on). But a beyond-stupid challenge here (the spot) which probably led to him not challenging the Tate touchdown in the end zone there (a close play that should probably have been challenged and certainly, at a minimum, was a better challenge than the spot challenge), put the Jets back on their heels.
And they never recovered.
HERE’S THE BIGGEST PROBLEM FOR THE JETS
Forward-looking, the biggest problem for the Jets is how good the Patriots are getting this year and how much better they will be next year. On the fly, the Patriots have re-invented their passing game to be better, as strange as that may sound, without Randy Moss.
But if you line-up two tight ends (one of whom (Rob Gronkowski) is a 6’6” monster, the other of whom (Aaron Hernandez) can run like a deer and is a wide receiver in the open field), super reliable Deion Branch, the best possession receiver in football (the how-did-he-come-back-from-a-torn-ACL-so-quickly Wes Welker) and the re-incarnation of Kevin Faulk (Danny Woodhead), there is simply no defensive backfield in football (including the Jets) that can deal with this group.
And we didn’t even mention Brandon Tate, who will, eventually, be a bona-fide deep threat.
The Patriots have a very good offensive line and an excellent blocking tight end in Alge Crumpler. They have an improving (not great) running attack with veterans Fred Taylor and Sammy Morris and the rising star BenJarvis Green-Ellis (who never fumbles). And Jet fans know full well how good Danny Woodhead is (remember in Hard Knocks when Ryan was livid that all of the running backs had put the ball on the ground. He said, “Put Woodhead in, he won’t fumble.”).
And he doesn’t. In fact, Woodhead might be the most versatile player on the Patriots – he can run it, he can catch it, he can pick up the blitz and he’s the first one down on special teams – an amazing player cut by the Jets after Week 1.
With six draft picks in the first three rounds of the next draft, the Patriots are only going to get better, especially defensively – and that’s a big problem for the Jets.
SO, WHAT CAN THE JETS (AND THE REST OF THE LEAGUE) DO?
Two things: find a way to put pressure on Brady (and the team that can put pressure on Brady with four rushers will be the team that can give the Patriots trouble) and, most important, score a lot of points on the Patriots not good, but improving, defense. Frankly, the Jets haven’t put pressure on anybody in recent weeks with just four rushers and Mark Sanchez certainly didn’t look like he can lead the Jets to score a lot of points in New England any time soon (seven interceptions in his two games up there).
WHERE DOES THAT LEAVE THE JETS?
It leaves the Jets with a virtually impossible task. If they don’t win the AFC East and get a bye and home-field advantage (and it says here that they won’t), it leaves them with the virtually impossible task of winning multiple games on the road AND winning in New England after getting humiliated there this past Sunday. Can they do it? It says here that they can’t.
FINALLY, WHEN THE LEGACY OF THE BELICHICK/BRADY ERA IS WRITTEN, WHO WILL BE THE SECOND MOST VALUABLE PLAYER AFTER TOM BRADY?
It says here that the answer to that question will be Mo Lewis.
Hopefully, you get the point.