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Missed Opportunities

By John Melillo
Jets Insider.com, Staff Writer
October 24th, 2004

The Jets five-game unbeaten streak this season slipped right through their hands literally against the division rival New England Patriots on Sunday. Both teams battled gusty winds and a misty rain in Gillette Stadium, but it was the Patriots who were victorious 13-7, due to a strong running game and a stifling defense that kept the Jets’ offense grounded for most of the afternoon.

The Jets five-game unbeaten streak this season slipped right through their hands literally against the division rival New England Patriots on Sunday 13-7 in Gillette Stadium. Both teams battled gusty winds and a misty rain in Gillette Stadium, but it was the Patriots who were victorious 13-7, due to a strong running game and a stifling defense that kept the Jets’ offense grounded for most of the afternoon.

After the opening kickoff, the Patriots offense appeared to be hitting on all cylinders on their first possession, running 12 plays for 53 yards to set up a 41-yard field goal by PK Adam Vinatieri. The Jets offense responded with a long drive of their own during their first possession, highlighted by two receptions by WR Justin McCareins for 12 and 18 yards. Yet, the drive stalled in the red zone after QB Chad Pennington hit FB Jerald Sowell in the flat for a short gain. Sowell was wrapped up by LB Ted Johnson and fumbled the ball, which the Pats recovered at their seven-yard line.

The Jets defense stiffened at midfield during the Patriots second possession, but they were called for illegal substitution on a 4th down, giving the Pats a second chance on offense. Pats QB Tom Brady made the Jets pay for the mistake, driving the offense deep into Jets’ territory. However, the Pats’ drive was halted by a third down sack by DE Shaun Ellis and forced the Pats to kick a 27-yard field goal, giving them a 6-0 advantage.

Midway through the second quarter, the Jets offense sprang to life with a mixed blend of run plays and passes by Pennington on the Jets only scoring drive of the afternoon. Pennington, who finished 19 of 30 for 162 yards, hit four different receivers on the 13-play drive that was capped off by a 1-yard run by Pennington around left end. Pennington’s scoring scramble gave the Jets a 7-6 lead. Of note was a solid block by OG Pete Kendall to assist on the scoring play.

The Jets lead would not last long as the Pats offense ran a two-minute offenset to near perfection. Once again, the Jets gave the Patriots new life as DT Dewayne Robertson was flagged for roughing the passer, giving the Pats first and goal from the seven-yard line. Two plays later, Brady found WR David Patten in the end zone for the touchdown, which gave the Pats the lead 13-7 with five seconds left before halftime.

Though both teams were shutout in the second half, the Jets provided a scare to the Patriots in the fourth quarter. McCareins, who had his best game as a Jet with six catches for 83 yards, let a beautifully lofted Pennington pass slip right through his fingertips in the end zone with less than three minutes left in regulation. The Jets, which began at their own 14-yard line, drove to the Pats 30-yard line, appeared poise to take the lead. On the drive, Pennington had two strikes to McCareins, resulting in gains of 10 and 19 yards. Following McCareins’ drop, RB Curtis Martin was dropped for a three-yard loss, forcing fourth down. Head coach Herm Edwards decided to go for it, but a Pennington pass to slot WR Wayne Chrebet was broken up by S Rodney Harrison, resulting in a turnover on downs.

Overall, it was a poor day statistically for the defense, which yielded a 100-yard rusher and 100-yard receiver for the first time this year. Patriots QB Tom Brady was efficient throughout the day, completing 20 of 29 passes for 230 yards and one touchdown. WR David Givens was often the target of Brady's throws, finishing with five receptions for 107 yards. But it was the performance of RB Corey Dillon that gave the Pats offense the balance needed to win. The Pats were able to clinch their NFL record 21 consecutive victory after a four-yard run by Dillon, who had 22 carries for 115 yards in the game.

MISCELLANOUS TIDBITS: Jets RB Curtis Martin was held to just 70 yards on 20 carries…Even after suffering an undisclosed injury in the second half, Ellis finished the game with two tackles and 1.5 sacks…DE John Abraham was credited with a half sack…The Jets got both tight ends involved in the passing game: Anthony Becht (2 catches, 8 yards) and Chris Baker (3 catches, 26 yards) …Pennington had a 12-yard scamper, his longest of the season…The turnover margin broke even with one fumble lost by each team.

INJURY REPORT

Backup LB Jason Glenn (forearm) left the game in the third quarter after suffering a bruised forearm. There were no other new injuries reported.

Check back often to Jets Insider.com for all the latest Jets news and reports as Gang Green hosts the now 1-6 Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football next week.

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