Over the river and through the woods to Belichicks house we go. This week the Gang Green from the Big Apple traveled from the metropolis of New York (Okay East Rutherford but close enough), up into the wilderness of Northeast Massachusetts, along 95 to Gillette Stadium for another installment of what has become one of the more heated rivalries in football of late.
It had been a long time coming but the Patriots were able to get some semblance of pay back for the loss in the AFC Divisional round to the hated Jets last season. The Patriots won in somewhat convincing fashion by a score of 30-21, the fifth time they have scored 30 points this season making them the only team to do so in each of the first five weeks.
The Patriots made the adjustments to the game plan that lost them the game last time the Jets walked into Gillette while the Jets looked as if they thought putting together the same offense and defense of a year ago would suffice.
Last year the Patriots struggled on offensive against the Jets for a number of reasons. They went with far too many empty backfield, shotgun sets and dared the Jets talented secondary to stop them, which they did. The Patriots were without Aaron Hernandez last season which took away a valuable deep threat that allowed the Jets defense to blitz hard and cover underneath without fear. The Patriots shied away from the run game. In this week five matchups the Patriots reversed those errors.
The Patriots stayed committed to the run game throughout the day leading to BenJarvus Green-Ellis to run for a career high 136 yards and punch in two scores. Every time the Law Firm touched the ball it seemed that he would pick up eight or so yards leaving the Jets defense reeling. The Patriots also lined Brady up under center more, which along with an effective run game opened up passing lanes leading Brady to put together a fine game completing 24 of 33 passes for 321 yards and a score. The “interception” he threw occurred on the last play of the first half in which Brady hit Aaron Hernandez in the hands in the end zone only to watch it pop into the air and into the arms of Antonio Cromartie.
All week the one issue of intrigue was how Darelle Revis was going to cover Wes Welker and shut him down. Well I must have missed that during the game as Welker caught five balls for 124 yards including scorching the Island on a 73 yard pass play on a seam route. We all know that the seam route is the most difficult to read. First the receiver starts running straight and well that’s it.
The Patriots defense which has been the glaringly obvious fault with the team managed to finally play a good game. Although doing so against a Jets offense that has barely figured out how to snap the ball isn’t super impressive they still heled the Jets to only 255 totals yards and managed to force eight three and outs.
The Jets did manage to get moving back in the direction of what has made them successful as they had a great deal of efficiency in the ground game especially from Shonn Green who ran for a season high 83 yards. Mark Sanchez managed to go an entire game without turning the ball over which is a small victory in itself, although I don’t believe Rex Ryan believes in moral victories, just imaginary ones like the three Super Bowls they’ve won.
The Jets defense despite getting scorched on the ground and not doing enough to stop the Patriots through the air did manage to throw some good coverage and blitzing schemes at Brady and did a good job keeping the pressure on him bringing No. 12 down for sacks 4 times.
The Jets also looked much better on special teams especially in the return game where they seem to have found a replacement for Leon Washington in the form of Joe McKnight who averaged almost 40 yards a return including an 88 yarder that set up a Jets touchdown.
It’s difficult to win on the road especially when that road leads to Foxborough but the Jets generally never really looked like they were in this game. The Patriots controlled it from start to finish with a balanced offensive attack and an effective defense. The Patriots learned from their mistakes last time they played the Jets and made the changes they needed while the Jets seemed to be stuck playing the same game they won last season.