By Abraham Gutierrez
Who ever said, “Defense wins championships” obviously never heard of Tom Brady and the (6-0) New England Patriots, who remained perfect on the year with a 30-23 win over the (4-2) New York Jets. Poised for an upset, Gang Green went into Gillette Stadium and gave it the old “college try.” However, in the end, the defending Super Bowl champs found a way to win the game, despite the fact that they were outperformed seemingly on every facet of the game.
“Nothing. We lost, it was hard-fought, we fought till the end, [but it] wasn’t good enough,” said Jets head coach Todd Bowles when asked if there were any moral victories in his team’s seven-point loss to New England. “They played better situational football than we did. We’ll watch film, correct the mistakes, and move on.”
As stated above, the Jets outperformed the Patriots in every significant statistical category, which is almost hard to believe considering Brady was in uniform. New York closed out the game with 25 first downs and 372 yards of total offense, including 89 rushing yards and 283 passing yards.
The Jets also bested New England on third-down situations, converting on 8-of-14 opportunities, and held on to the ball longer, winning the time-of-possession battle 33:03 to the Patriots 26:47. After a rocky start, Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (22-for-39 for 295 yards and 2 TDs for a quarterback rating of 97.7) was able to get things going and did his part in trying to shock the mighty Patriots at home.
The biggest question mark during this game was: What is wrong with Jets running back Chris Ivory? Even though his name did not appear on the team’s (NFL Week 7) injury report, it was clear that the bruising back was not himself this afternoon. He would go on to finish with 41 yards on 17 rushes and no scores, along with 2 grabs for 12 yards and a touchdown.
Standout wide receivers include: Eric Decker (6 receptions for 94 yards), Brandon Marshall (4 receptions for 67 yards), Tommy Bohanon (2 receptions for 36 yards) and Jeremy Kerley (3 receptions for 27 yards, TD).
Up until the final stanza, the Jets defense had done a great job of containing Brady and the Patriots high-powered offense. However, in crunch time, Tom Brady was clutch, pulling away with a 14-point fourth quarter, while the Jets could only muster a six points in the final stanza.
Nevertheless, the fact remains, that the Jets defense limited New England to 20 first downs, 353 total yards, and 26 minutes and 57 seconds of time of possession. After three lackluster quarters, Bill Belichick’s squad kicked it into high gear, led by Brady, who closed the game with 34-for-54 in pass completions for 355 yards, two touchdowns and a quarterback rating of 94.3, but was sacked three times.
Special Teams: A
The Jets special teams unit once again did its part. Kicker Nick Folk was perfect on the afternoon, connecting on three field goal attempts – including a long of 55 yards – and a pair of extra points for a total of 11 points on the afternoon. Punter Steve Weatherford booted it four times during the game, averaging 40.3 yards per punt and a long of 50 yards.
For only the second time this season, Bowles and his staff were outcoached, and his team once again paid the price. The first time it happened was against Chip Kelly and the Eagles, and again on Sunday versus Belichick and his veteran bunch. The Jets were able to keep things close up until the final quarter, when the Pats picked up the intensity and play-calling, and Gang Green simply couldn’t match them.
Looking Ahead To Jets Week 8 Matchup
Looking to bounce back, the Jets will travel to the East Bay for a Week 8 showdown with the ever-improving (3-3) Oakland Raiders. This intraconference clash is scheduled for Sunday at 4:05 p.m. ET from the O.co Coliseum and it will be broadcast live on CBS Sports.
Abe Gutierrez’s (Twitter: @GutierrezAbe) passion led him to ditch law school journey in order to launch his own publishing company. His expertise make him a valued addition to Examiner.com, AXS.com and the CBS-Sports family. Some of his work can be found on CBS-Miami (Dolphins), CBS-LosAngeles (Chargers), CBS-BayArea (Raiders), CBS-NewYork (NY Jets), CBS-TampaBay (Buccaneers), AXS.com, Examiner.com and other online publications.