It’s not as if the Jets came out flat to open the game, they’re first offensive drive went for 80 yards and seven points as Geno Smith found Jeremy Kerley open for a touchdown, but the Patriots offense was able to move the ball with relative ease in the first half before the Jets flipped the switch to begin the domination sequence.
The Patriots took a 21-10 lead into the half, aided by a Geno Smith pick-six, and looked like they would coast to another easy victory over their division rivals, but whatever Rex Ryan did, or said, at halftime had his defense fired up and ready to go as they came out and stymied Tom Brady and the Patriots offense for much of the second half.
After getting little to no pressure on Brady in the first half, the defensive front immediately went to work to start the second half. On the first play of the half Quinton Coples hit Brady with a sack/fumble for a six yard loss and as the Jets pressured Brady again on the following play Brady tried to find Rob Gronkowski, but safety Antonio Allen was lurking in the shadows ready to jump the route and head into the end zone for a pick-six as the stadium erupted with delight with the Jets suddenly back in the game.
“It’s always in my mindset to come out with a big play, every game I try to get a pick somewhere.” Allen said, “But coming out at halftime we just knew that we needed to do something to shift the momentum and came out and made a play and it was pretty big for us.”
After the pick-six to start the half the Patriots proceeded to go three-and-out on their next three drives, of their eight second half drives the Patriots had one interception, five punts and two field goals. The Jets defense limited Brady to 11-28 passing for 126 yards, sacking him three times and intercepting him once leaving Brady with a very pedestrian 38.7 quarterback rating.
The Jets offense was able to feed off of the energy that the defense provided as Smith was able to lead drives to put the Jets ahead and although the Patriots offense began to find somewhat of a rhythm late in the game, it wasn’t enough to beat the Jets.
The Jets were able to hold on and beat the Patriots for the first time since that playoff game in New England almost three years ago and they used the same game plan yesterday as they did three years ago.
“We knew that before coming into the game, anytime you can get Brady off his spot it’s a good thing for your defense.” Damon Harrison said, “So, we tried to do that. We weren’t very successful in the first half, but in the second half guys really got after it.”
As the teams headed into their locker rooms at half time the crowd had grown silent and distraught, they’re was an air of inevitability permeating through the crowd. Another Jets-Patriots game ending in a laugher in the Patriots favor, but Rex Ryan was having none of that and his players rallied around him and won the game because of the momentum built up from the second half energy burst.
“We have to keep fighting. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but we knew it wasn’t over by any stretch of the imagination.” Ryan said, “We knew that we had to play situation football. We did, and the guys just kept coming back. We did it our way. We never altered our plan as far as offensively. We stayed the course. I thought we did a good job.”