Jets WR Jerricho Cothery breaks away from the Pats defense on a spectacular touchdown run in the third quarter. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
One game down and 15 to go. The New York Jets entered today’s game against the New England Patriots undefeated and hungry. They had held off a late rally against Tennessee last week and were looking to beat a team that just squeaked by Buffalo for a two-point win. The other story line of course, is the match-up of the two coaches. Jets coach Eric Mangini had worked with Patriots coach Bill Belichick for a decade, but now it’s different as the two oppose each other for the first time as NFL head coaches.
The Jets defense came out strong early, but then the Patriots got the ball for their second possession. For the rest of the first half it was all New England, as the Patriots then scored on an 11-play 82-yard drive that was topped off by a 1-yard touchdown run by Corey Dillon. Now, it was time for the Jets run game to step up to help AFC Offensive Player of the Week QB Chad Pennington establish a balance on the offensive side of the football.
That was supposed to happen, but it didn’t as Kevan Barlow and company amassed only 51 yards on the ground. Meanwhile, Dillon and rookie Lawrence Maroney gained 145 yards and had 2 touchdowns, one apiece. This again put all the pressure on Pennington to deliver another outstanding performance. After a tough first half, Pennington excelled in third quarter. Pennington went 4-6 in the quarter and had 2 touchdown passes on 134-yards passing. Pennington said, “it was a tale of two halves.” He also mentioned that he didn’t “believe in moral victories, but I do believe in getting better.”
Tom Brady, on the other hand came out shooting early. Brady was looking for a big game after last week. He had 174 yards by halftime, but did not perform as well in the second half. He finished the game with 220 yards on 15-29 passing, with one touchdown and one interception. Brady threw for so many yards in the first half because the offensive line gave him plenty of time to move the football.
This was not a luxury of Pennington as he was sacked twice in three plays with less than two minutes in the first half. This helped lead to the breakout of rookie WR Chad Jackson. Playing in his first NFL game, Jackson had 42 yards on 2 receptions and that was topped off by his first career touchdown with 20 seconds left in the half. Overall, Pennington was sacked 4 times for 20 yards.
WR Jerricho Cotchery decided to not let Jackson be the only wide receiver in the limelight. Cotchery had an unbelievable catch that led to a 71-yard touchdown reception. He caught the ball on his own 48-yard line then, two New England defenders on the Patriot’s 48-yard line hit him. Cotchery went down but amazingly kept his knees from hitting the turf and ran the rest of the way untouched for the touchdown. The play was challenged and the call on the field stood, narrowing the Patriots lead to 24-6. Cotchery described the play as saying, “I knew my knee hadn’t touched down.” He also said it was exciting to, “see the guys pumped up for me” referring to the catch.
K Mike Nugent came on for the extra point after a dismal performance last week against the Titans, in which he missed an extra point attempt and two field goal attempts. Nugent though, was successful on this point after and heard a loud ovation from the crowd at the Meadowlands. Nugent continued to have a good game hitting another point after and then connecting on a 46-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter to narrow the score to 7, 24-17. Nugent said he felt comfortable today and tried to focus on the snap and then go from there.
Last time I checked, Laveranues Coles was the number one receiver on the Jets and not Cotchery. Coles proved his number one spot by catching an unbelievable 46-yard touchdown pass from Pennington. The Jets had regained possession of the ball after an interception by CB David Barrett and then went 81 yards on 7 plays for the touchdown. Coles said that it was Cotchery’s play and not his own that, “was the biggest play of the game.”
The Jets seemed to have a slim chance at then end after a Patriot drive that lasted over eight minutes resulted in a blocked field goal by LB Jonathan Vilma. In the end it was, too little too late.
Mangini said he was happy with the way his team performed in the second half but, “you can’t dig that type of hole for yourself.” He also added that the team “needs to execute better.” For Mangini in the end, “it’s all green for me all day, every day.”
- The Jets were 11-18 on third down converting 61 percent of the time compared to the Patriots who converted only 57 percent of their third down attempts, going 8-14.
- There was no pre-game meeting between the two coaches, but at the end of the game both coaches shook hands and said “good game” to one another.
- Cotchery’s 71-yard touchdown pass and Coles 46-yard TD pass were the longest of their careers.
- Pennington’s touchdown pass to Cotchery was the longest of his career.
- P Ben Graham kicked a horrible punt near the end of the first half, as the ball went only 10 yards. The result, a short drive and a touchdown for the Patriots before the half ended.
-OL Trey Teague (ankle): DNP
-WR/KR Tim Dwight (thigh): DNP
-G Pete Kendall (thigh): DNP
Tomorrow is an off-day for the Jets with just a press conference by Mangini. Check back to Jets Insider for all the latest NY Jets news!