Monday, September 21, 2009


Well, cancel the order for another "16-0" banner.

The New York Jets backed up their talk on Sunday, defeating the New England Patriots, 16-9, at the Meadowlands. It was the first loss for New England (1-1), while New York improved to 2-0.

It was a tough game all-around for the Patriots - just like the Jets said they were aiming for. The offense reverted back to its form from the first half of the Monday Night game against Buffalo, showing little chemistry and often appearing lost at the hands of Rex Ryan's aggressive, pressuring scheme.

On the other side of the ball, it wasn't too much better. It's not often that you can complain about a defense that allows 16 points, but in this case, it's warranted. The Patriots were stout in the first half, holding rookie Mark Sanchez to three completions in five attempts for 15 yards, and the Jets as a whole to only a field goal.

It was a whole new ballgame in the second half. Sanchez threw for 148 yards and a touchdown, and a steady running attack led by Leon Washington and Thomas Jones kept the Patriots on the field. Tom Brady had limited opportunities to figure out the difficulties with his receivers because the Jets dominated the time of possession.

The result was a game that, despite the one-score decision, was frustrating due to the large amount of things that went wrong. Brady looked out-of-synch, the defense faltered late (before finding enough resolve to stymie the Jets on their last two possessions, giving the offense a chance), and with 11 penalties, New England could not get out of its own way when it appeared to be nearing a breakthrough.

The game was the opposite of a standard Bill Belichick operation. He's a stickler for preparation and mental awareness, and instead, the Patriots came out without an answer to the Ryan defense, and made penalties that came often and at bad times.

In the first quarter, the Patriots were looking for the game's first score and had a first down at the Jets 17. Brady completed a pass to Julian Edelman for 10 yards and a first down, but a holding penalty on Stephen Neal brought the ball back to the 27. Another holding call, this time on tight end Chris Baker, put the ball back on the 37 and forced New England to settle for a field goal.

In the third quarter, down 13-9 but driving to the Jets 36, the Patriots' chances at a field goal or better were lost when Brady was called for consecutive delay of game penalties. Two scoring situations resulted in a meager three points for New England, a potential 11-point swing that, given the final score, could have changed the game drastically.

In the end, there just wasn't enough from New England. Brady completed only 23 of 47 passes for 216 yards and no touchdowns, Randy Moss caught only four passes for 24 yards, and Joey Galloway hauled in five catches for 53 yards while dropping several passes.

Rookie Julian Edelman caught eight passes for 98 yards in place of the irreplaceable Wes Welker, but given the overall inconsistency, it wasn't enough. It was the merely the highlight of a game that was, to put it nicely, ugly.

Just the way the Jets wanted it.

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