The New York Jets had a classic first half against the New England Patriots. Offensively, they turned the football over which directly led to Patriots points. Defensively, they looked unprepared for the hurry up offense. Penalties. Poor special teams. 21-10 New England at the half. It felt like the Jets were on their way to yet another frustrating loss to New England, along with further burial in the AFC East standings.
I’m not sure what Rex Ryan said at halftime but the Jets came out with their hair on fire. After strip sacking Brady on his first drop back, Antonio Allen stepped in front of a pass for Rob Gronkowski and ran it back for a momentum shifting touchdown. The Jets offense responded and began moving the football, including a pretty 8 yard touchdown run from Geno Smith. The Jets took a 27-24 late lead into the fourth quarter, after continually slowing down New England’s offense.
Credit the Jets for playing aggressive late when attempting to run the clock out. They took two shots down the field but came up empty when Stephen Hill didn’t go up and attack the football and Jeff Cumberland, who had a rough day, dropped a pass on the sideline that would have ended the game. Defensively, the Jets were a touch too passive and the Patriots were able to tie the game with 16 seconds left.
In overtime, the Jets again came up with a stop. Tom Brady finished an ugly 22/46 with 1 INT and 0 touchdowns. They sacked him 4 times, including another one from Muhammad Wilkerson. New England was 1-12 on third downs and lost the time of possession battle to the Jets 46:13 to 23:40. Make no mistake, from the second half on the Jets dominated the Patriots.
Much talk will center around how the Jets ended up winning, with a 15 yard penalty on New England called on Nick Folk’s missed 56 yard attempt in overtime. It is a new rule. It is a weird rule. But the Patriots broke it. You cannot push another player from your own team into the line during a field goal attempt…that is what happened…that is what was called. Deal with it. The Jets finished business on the drive and got a win they very much deserved.
This remains a wildly inconsistent football team. Right now, they are literally alternating wins and encouraging Geno Smith performances with losses and disheartening Geno Smith performances. They are good enough to be a factor in the AFC East race and the wild-card race but they need to break this every other week trend. The Jets will have a great opportunity to make a statement next week against one of the AFC’s elite teams, Cincinnati, on the road.
Putting the big picture for the season aside, it is always extra sweet to beat New England. Rex Ryan deserves a contract extension, barring some unforeseen meltdown this season. Beating Tom Brady and Bill Belichick is a huge early achievement for Geno Smith and this young Jets team. The Jets didn’t win the Super Bowl today but it is a much bigger than usual October win. Enjoy it Jets fans, you just may have a quarterback and a very good defense to compliment him for the foreseeable future.