PATRIOTS 20 - JETS 10
By Andrew Scharff
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
December 16th, 2007
In the Patriots 20-10 win over the Jets, New England’s big play wide receivers, Randy Moss and Wes Welker made two big catches in the fourth quarter which led to a Stephen Gostkowski 34-yard field goal and made the game a two possession game.
With the score 17-10 and the Patriots were facing a 3rd and 10, Brady found Welker for a 16 yard gain. Then on the next play from scrimmage Brady threw down field and hit Moss for 46 yards.
The Patriots continued their pursuit of perfection as they improved to 14-0. They are the first team besides the 1972 Dolphins to start a season 14-0. With the loss the Jets drop to 3-11.
“The Patriots are a good football team and they are hard to beat,” said Jets head coach Eric Mangini. “We had some opportunities to put ourselves in some very good position but we couldn’t finish those.”
“We obviously had some opportunities to make it real interesting. It came down to third down execution and red zone efficiency,” added Jets QB Chad Pennington who made his first appearance since being pulled against Buffalo. “A lot of times it does come down to those areas. Being 21% on third down and 0-4 in the red zone your not going to win that way.”
Missed opportunities have been the story for the Jets all season. In four trips to the red zone, the Jets could not score a touchdown. They fumbled the ball once along with missing a field goal.
The Jets first trip to red zone was in the first quarter with Brad Smith in as quarterback he threw incomplete to Chris Baker. Gang Green’s next red zone appearance was with Pennington under center. Pennington found Baker but he stripped by LB Adalius Thomas. The Jets finally got some pay dirt as K Mike Nugent hit a 33-yard field goal, but on the next drive he would miss from 35 yards out.
Before Nugent missed the field goal; the Jets thought they had a touchdown. Pennington found WR Justin McCareins in the back of the end zone. The play was originally called a touchdown but it was reviewed and called an incomplete catch because he did not have full control of the ball.
The Jets trailed from the beginning of the game. On their second play from scrimmage QB Kellen Clemens got nailed by Patriots DL Richard Seymour. He tried to throw the ball away but instead threw it to Patriots S Eugene Wilson who brought back five yards for a touchdown.
On the play Clemens went down hard to ground. Clemens left the game and did not come back. The Jets are calling it a rib injury and Mangini said it was a coach’s decision to stay with Pennington at quarterback
“Instead of risking giving up a sack I tried to throw it away. The defender hit my right arm as I was throwing and then we went to the ground,” Clemens said. “It was a coach’s decision on whether or not I came back. Coach made the decision to let Chad roll and we respect that decision.”
Midway through the second quarter the Jets got back into the game when Patriots P Chris Hanson bobbled a snap. LB David Bowens beat the center, blocked the kick and returned it for the Jets only touchdown of the game.
The Jets hoped to go to the locker room with the score at 10-7, but towards the end of the half Patriots WR Kelley Washington blocked a Ben Graham punt as he beat S Abram Elam around the corner. The Patriots took over on the Jets 3-yard line and two plays later RB Laurence Maroney scored a 1-yard touchdown run.
“We came out fought hard, kept the game close. We had chances to make plays to make the game even closer. But we just couldn’t get any closer,” said Jets S Kerry Rhodes. “We definitely left plays on the field, but in our locker room we thought we had opportunities to make it a lot closer than it was.”
Grading the Jets
The offense was bad. The line provided no protection for the quarterback today. The running game had trouble getting going. Besides the 49-yard run by RB Leon Washington nothing got going. WR Justin McCareins, who should have had a touchdown catch, dropped an important third down pass late in third quarter. The only offensive bright spot was Pennington. Pennington, who had to relieve Clemens, did good job of controls his adrenaline and letting the game come to him, despite running the scout team in practice this week.
Defense was outstanding. They made Tom Brady’s day harder than usual. It all started with CB Darrelle Revis. Revis played WR Randy Moss very tough. Along with Revis, CB David Barrett had one his strongest games and S Eric Smith made some nice defensive plays on some deep balls which were in the direction of Moss. And as always LB David Harris was a force despite not recording as many tackles as he always does.
The Jets special teams unit was very shaky today. LB David Bowens did have the blocked punt return for a touchdown and Washington had some good returns. But Kelley Washington’s blocked punt did lead to a touchdown for the Patriots and was the turning point in the game. If the Patriots don't get that touchdown before the half it is a different game. And without that blocked punt the Patriots don't score that touchdown.
Defense Steps Up
People are going to say that the weather slowed down the New England offense. While that may be true, no one can take anything away from the effort of the Jets defense. The defense was the sole reason why the Jets were in the game. It all started with the effort of CB Darrelle Revis. Revis was tough on Patriots receivers all day. The rookie even intercepted Brady despite being interfered with. Along with the good play by Revis, CB David Barrett also played well. Barrett, who led the team in tackles, also saw time on Randy Moss.
Pennington’s Forced In
Ever since giving up his job as starting quarterback, QB Chad Pennington has only seen the bench. But when QB Kellen Clemens was knocked out of the game with what is being called a rib injury, Pennington had to be thrown right into the fire. Although Pennington didn’t get a lot of reps in practice he faired pretty good.
Pennington went 25-for-38 for 186 yards. While he couldn’t find the end zone, Pennington did not turn the ball over. With pressure coming from everywhere Pennington never threw the game away. Pennington, who doesn’t work with the starters as much as he did in the past looked to have good chemistry with TE Chris Baker and WR Jerricho Cotchery. Pennington also ran hurry up offense without any problems. He showed good timing and arm strength when needed as well as good clock management.
Along with Pennington, WR Brad Smith saw significant time under center. Smith took nine snaps at quarterback. Smith even attempted his first pass of the season. But for the most part whenever Smith was in the game the Jets usually ran the option. Jets RB Leon Washington had the team’s longest rush (49 yards) from scrimmage with Smith under center.
Coles a no-go
WR Laveranues Coles was active for today’s game but was a non-factor. Coles was seen heading to the locker room during the first quarter. He did return to the sideline but did not play. Coles has been suffering from a severe high-ankle sprain. As for other injury reports, QB Kellen Clemens left with what was called a rib injury and did not return. WR Brad Smith also left the field gimpy early in the fourth quarter but he did return a few plays later.
Clarke and Clement
Jets OL Adrien Clarke owes Kellen Clemens a steak dinner. On the play that Clemens got knocked out on, Patriots DT Richard Seymour ran right past Clarke without him needing to put up a fight. Clarke was also the victim on LB Junior Seau’s game ending sack. The Jets offensive line was spotty at best. Along with the poor protection by Clarke, RT Anthony Clement took two penalties which cost the Jets some field protection. One of Clement's holding penalties wiped out a 21 yard run by Brad Smith.
Along with Coles not playing CB Andre Dyson was the only other active player not to see the field...DL Mike DeVito, who grew up about two hours away from Gillette Stadium was active...The inactives for the Jets were WR Chris Davis, OL Jacob Bender, OL Adrian Jones, TE Jason Pociask, LB Marques Murrell, DL Kareem Brown, DE Eric Hicks and Marques Tuiasosopo as always is the third QB.
Jets linebacker David Bowens blocked a punt by Chris Hanson in the second quarter and returned it for a 26-yard touchdown. It was his first career touchdown and the first blocked punt of his career as well.The blocked punt was the first by the Jets since Jason Glenn blocked a Brian Moorman punt at BUF (9/8/02).
Bowens’ block and return for a touchdown was the first touchdown on a blocked punt for the Jets since Jason Glenn on a four-yard return in the 2001 regular-season finale at OAK (1/6/02), with Chris Hayes blocking Shane Lechler's punt. It was also the first time a Jet returned his own blocked punt for a touchdown since 1991, when Chris Burkett blocked a Reggie Roby punt vs. MIA (9/29/91) and took the block 11 yards for the touchdown.
Bowens TD was the Jets fourth special teams touchdown this season. Leon Washington has returned three kickoffs for touchdowns this season. Bowens also made his first start as a Jet.
Jets defensive end Shaun Ellis sacked Tom Brady in the fourth quarter for his fifth sack of the season to lead the Jets. He now has 53.5 career sacks, putting him in a tie with John Abraham for fourth all-time in franchise history.
Jets tight end Chris Baker pulled in eight catches for 66 yards today. His eight receptions were a career high, surpassing the seven catches for 124 yards at KC in the 2005 opener (9/11/05). His 37 receptions for 371 yards are career-best numbers for one season. Baker has now caught a pass in 24 consecutive games.
Jets running back Leon Washington's career-long 49-yard run was the longest rush by the Jets this season and longest by the Jets since Curtis Martin had a 49-yard run at BUF (10/16/05). Washington finished the game with a team-high 57 yards rushing on four carries, three catches for nine yards, five kickoff returns for a 26.0 average, including a 49-yard kick return in the fourth quarter, and two punt returns in the fourth quarter.
Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis intercepted a Tom Brady pass in the third quarter for his third interception of the year. He also picked off BUF's Trent Edwards (10/28) and Miami's John Beck (12/2).
Jets kicker Mike Nugent was one-for-two on field goals. He made a 33-yarder, which gave him 15 consecutive successful field goals before he missed a 35-yarder in the fourth quarter. On the season, Nugent is 27-for-33. The 27 field goals ties him with John Hall (1999) and Bobby Howfield (1972) for the fourth-most field goals in one season in Jets history.
Jets quarterback Chad Pennington completed 25-of-38 passes (65.8 percent) for 186 yards in relief of injured Kellen Clemens. For his career, Pennington is 1,233-for-1,887 passing, which is 65.3 percent, the highest career completion percentage in NFL history for passers with at least 1,500 attempts.
Jets quarterback Brad Smith attempted his first career pass on fourth-and-two in the first quarter. The pass was intended for Chris Baker but was incomplete.
Jets wide receiver Justin McCareins had a season-high five receptions (for 40 yards). He last caught five passes vs. OAK (12/31/06).
The Jets 17-play, 70-yard drive, spanning 7:40, which culminated in Mike Nugent's 33-yard field goal, was the most plays on a scoring drive for the Jets this season. The previous high was 15 plays, which has occurred in multiple games this season.
With today's game, the Jets lead the all-time regular season series, 48-46-1.
Tennessee's Up Next
Gang Green will watch tape tomorrow, then return to practice on Wednesday to prepare for Sunday's game against Vince Young and the Tennessee Titans.