STARS OF THE GAME
Justin McCareins led the Jets WR's with 5 catches for 76 yards. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
5. Jets DT Jason Ferguson: Lost in the ennui of this game, was the solid play of veteran DT Jason Ferguson. Ferguson only had 4 tackles, but did what he did best and did it well, stuff the run. Ferguson was a wall, being blocked by two interior lineman and not moving an inch as he allowed rookie MLB Jonathan Vilma sneak around the line of scrimmage and record 11 total tackles and a sack. Ferguson drew double teams and was the main reason the Patriots were not effective running the ball inside. Ferguson was not aided by DeWayne Robertson as he looked to be disinterested at times as he was blown off the ball on many running plays and didn't seem as disruptive as he usually is. Ferguson probably played his last home game as a Jet as rumor has it he is interested in going to play with his old coach Bill Parcells, but if he can continue this kind of play, he will be able to give the Jets a great going away present...some playoff victories.
4. Patriots RB Patrick Pass: Pass might be one of the more underrated weapons on the Patriots team and maybe in the NFL. The multi-skilled FB caught 5 balls for 32 yards and ran the ball 4 times for 17 yards. Pass was the recipient of many misdirection screen passes that picked up huge first downs. The Patriots' pass-catching RB also showed off his running skills on a couple plays as the Jets were in the nickel defense. Pass also had key blocks on the outside as an H-Back as he helped seal off the Jet DE's on the many sweeps the Patriots effectively ran. Pass doesn't wow you with his numbers but does a lot of things very well much like the Jetsí Jerald Sowell.
3. Patriots LB Tedy Bruschi: The overachieving, do-it-all linebacker continued his great play against the Jets as he had 8 tackles and an INT. Brushci made an great leaping interception in front of Santana Moss that set up the Patriots' first scoring drive and set the tone of the game. Bruschi read Pennington's eyes and took advantage of a poor decision by the Jets QB as he tried to make something out of nothing. Bruschi also kept the Jets' check-down game in covered, not allowing the Jets to dink n' dunk their way down the field. The leader of New Englandís defense had another great game and is quietly keeping the Pats depleted defense together.
2. The Patriots Secondary: Bill Belichick's genius at designing defensive schemes is greatly covering up the Patriots' injury depleted defense, especially the secondary. Despite the injuries to CBís Ty Law, Tyrone Pool, and for part of the game, Eugene Wilson. CB's Asante Samuel, Earthwind Moreland, and WR/CB Troy Brown shut down the Jets WR corps (until garbage time). They played man to man and cover 2 throughout the game, pressuring Pennington into making throws into small windows with a consistent pass rush in his face. The secondary was pressing most of the game, unafraid of the Jets' big play potential as they shut down most of the intermediate routes. I shudder to think how good the defense will be once it is completely healthy.
1. Patriots QB Tom Brady: Brady rebounded from last weeks devastating last minute loss to the lowly Dolphins as he completed 21 of 32 passes for 264 yards and 2 TD's. Brady picked apart the fatigued Jets defense through the middle with precise laser passes to his WR's and TE's. Brady was patient, waiting for the right opportunities to hit up the Jets defense deep. The Patriots seemed to have the ball the whole game, and Brady took advantage. Unlike the Jetsí QB, Brady rises to the occasion and plays his best football in the biggest games of the year.
GOAT OF THE GAME
Jets QB Chad Pennington: Following a terrific performance vs. the Seahawks last week and his thereafter battle with the media, Pennington didn't rise to the occasion in what seemed to be his "Put up or Shut up" game of the season prove he can win the big game. Pennington's words surely didnít match his play as he completed 22 of 36 passes for 252 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT's and a lost fumble. Pennington was unable to take advantage of a depleted Patriots defense as he missed open receivers and made poor decisions as both interceptions were thrown into crowds over the middle. Yes, Paul (Can't) Hackett's offense was as predictable as ever and the Jets dropped a couple balls, but Chad was making lousy reads and poor throws throughtout the day. It is evident he tightens up against better teams as he is one of the most accurate QB's in the league against average defenses. Pennington is going to zip his lips and take the thrashing he deserves from the media and then rebound against the average Rams defense and then try to rebound in the playoffs...if they make it. After watching him throw on Sunday you really have to wonder how sore his arm really is.
-The team scored a touchdown.
-It's amazing how much better the offense became in garbage time. Pennington had more zip on his throws as ever throw was thrown with more confidence. Justin McCareins amde a great leaping catch in traffic and showed that he has the skills to make plays over the middle that the Jets covet. The Jets just need to find away to open up the offense and actually get their quarterback to play scared.
-WR Santana Moss showed some toughness on his TD catch as he made a leaping catch at the 2 yard line and pushed through two Patriots defenders to get into the endzone.
-WR Wayne Chrebet had a nice game in possibly his final home game as a Jet as he caught 4 balls for 51 yards.
-The team only scored one touchdown.
-The running game was shut down as the offensive line was unable to make holes for Martin or Jordan and overall seemed to be dominated by the Patriots' front seven and their multiple fronts and blitz packages. Martin ran for less than 50 yards and Martin is the key to the offense.
-This may be a bit unfair but the defense, especially the secondary, did not have their best game. Although they kept their team in the game with continued good field position, the secondary allowed too many big plays on 3rd down as the Patriots seemed to have the ball the entire game. The LB corps, notably Victor Hobson, looked lethargic when running to stop outside runs and the defensive line could not get consistent pressure on Brady without the help of the blitz. As I said this might be unfair, but I have come to expect great things from this defense.
-FB Jerald Sowell uncharacteristically had a big drop in the first half.
-Terrell Buckley got beat like a rented mule on Brady's 2nd TD pass in the back of the endzone as he fell while trying to cover Deion Branch's zig-out route. T-Buck definitely showed his age on Sunday.
STAT OF THE GAME
Brady: 2 TD's 0 Turnovers
Pennington: 1 TD, 3 Turnovers
MY TWO CENTS:
This just isn't the Jets year. This was supposed be the defining game for the Jets. Many "experts" picked the Jets to win and said Chad Pennington will rebound and win the big game. But yet again, the Jets, and Pennington, laid an egg. The Jets just don't seem they have the fire to win. They look unfocused, unable to execute the same plays that they run so deftly against mediocre teams. If this team makes the playoffs, I wouldn't expect a Carolina-esque playoff run. This Jet team just isn't explosive enough, the team doesn't have "it."