East Rutherford, N.J.– With the Patriots coming into this game reeling from losing two straight, it was the Jets turn to falter and hand the game to the Patriots and that’s exactly what they did. They hung around through the first half, but then went into a downward spiral of ugliness in the second half as the Patriots easily dismissed the Jets and sent this crowd home disgusted, for that Rex Ryan apologizes.
“Obviously, we wanted this game in the worst way, but you’re not going to beat New England, you’re not going to beat many teams when you make the mistakes we made.” Ryan said, “We’ve been down this road before, I apologize to our fans. I thought our fans were ready to go, just like I thought we were. It’s disappointing, we can’t dwell on it. We have four days until we play another team, that’s playing well, playing Denver. We have to put this game behind us as fast as we can.”
The problems first surfaced on, you guessed it, the opening drive. Sanchez started it off wonderfully moving the ball with ease, hitting Holmes on a 16 yard curl, then Burress on an 11 yard play-action slant, but then Sanchez hit Holmes again and Holmes should have been able to walk into the end zone, but he tripped over his own feet and collectively the Jets proceeded to do the same as Nick Folk missed a 24 yard field-goal and although they score stayed close for awhile you never really had the feeling that the Jets could win the game.
For some great unknown reason this Jets team continues to falter when they are comfortable and have an opportunity to make life down the road easier for themselves. When everyone has them dead and buried they come out firing on all cylinders, when you expect them to win, tonight happens. And don’t worry Jet fans, you’re aren’t the only ones baffled by this.
“For some reason we feel very comfortable putting ourselves in this position, for some reason, but we just got to fight.” Jim Leonhard said, “We have to fight all the way through week 17.”
Playing against Tom Brady, you know you’re pass defense has to be spectacular and tonight the Jets defense was anything but. Blown coverages became commonplace and there was plenty of blame to go around as all three corners (Cromartie, Wilson and Revis) were made to look foolish on a few plays and the Jets badly missed Brodney Pool as the safeties got torched, specifically by tight end Rob Gronkowski who had 8 receptions for 113 yards and two TDs.
Ryan said the specific matchup problems Gronkowski caused was, “Well about 6’7″, I guess. That was one of the issues. I mean the kid makes a lot of plays, you know he’s a factor in the red zone and you have WesWelker, they have a lot of weapons there. We tried to match them up in different zones, we tried to bracket sometimes, but the young man did a nice job catching the football.”
The Patriots ran a lot of stacked formations and hurry up that obviously caused all sorts of problem for this defense as this was by far the worst coverage this team has played in recent memory. When Ryan was asked about the defense struggling against the fast tempo of the Patriots Ryan said, “Well, yeah, it seemed like it. Yup, absolutely. A couple of times we never got matched up properly and they threw a couple quick passes out there, that’s what this team does and you have to be alert for it. We never got the matchups we wanted, so you got to give them a lot of credit.”
The Patriots needed this game and they came out and acted like it, the Jets did the exact opposite. The Patriots did a lot of things well tonight, but the Jets flat out beat themselves tonight. “You make those many mistakes, against that team and there’s no chance.” Ryan said.
“Obviously frustrated. We all knew how big this game was and you can’t make the mistakes we did and beat that team and yet we continue to try.” Leonhard said, “It’s a struggle, you know you have to play good football and they’re are a team that doesn’t beat themselves and we continue to do that.”
As for the quarterback, Sanchez had yet another patented inconsistent game finishing 20-39 for 306 yards, one TD and two picks and a QB rating of 64.7. There’s not much more that can be said about Sanchez’s play that isn’t repeated constantly. “Well, I mean he was inconsistent.” Ryan said, “Like the play of the rest of the team.”
With this loss the Jets now find themselves back behind the Patriots in the division race, one full game but also losing the tiebreaker. It’s certainly not impossible that the Jets could still rally to win the division, but it’s highly unlikely and that’s a fact Ryan and his players have already come to gripes with.
“It looks doubtful right now (that the Jets could win the division). I mean, you know, I don’t…what am I going to say?” A bewildered Ryan said, “Maybe I should guarantee the fact that we’re out of it, last time I did that we made the playoffs, so yeah we got no chance.”
“It’s tough because this was really the first time in the last three years since Rex has been here (where we feel), it’s right here. You know, if we won this game we’d have kind of a strangle hold on the division and you let it slide.” Leonhard said, “So obviously there’s a lot of frustration, it was a big goal of ours to go ahead and win this division and we put ourselves in a hole again. I’m not saying it can’t happen, but it’s unlikely to happen at this point.”
And as bad as everything went tonight, and good lord did it go bad, the Jets have just three days between their next game against the Broncos on Thursday night in Denver, a team that just won 17-10 with their quarterback only completing two, count them, two passes the entire game. But if you’re in one of those glass half full type of moods at least you can lean on the fact that this team wants to get back on the field and erase the memory of this game immediately and hopefully they can erase it from your memory as well.
“I think, I’m just excited to get back out on the field. Anytime you don’t play your best, it’s frustrating and all you want to do is play again.” Sanchez said, “So if there’s any time to get rid of a loss quickly, this is the time. But we’re going to have our work cut out for us.”