Jets 34 Patriots 31 (OT)
by Brian Clark
Quarterback – A
Brett Favre – 26/33 258 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Brett Favre was brought to this time to win games such as this. He made clutch 3rd downs, made all the throws, and led this team to victory. He spread the ball around, hitting Keller when we needed some key first downs. The key was the 0 INT’s. His mistake free/clutch football was a stabilizing factor and helped this team knock off they hated foes. He no doubt has complete control of this offense.
Running Backs – B+
Thomas Jones – 30 carries, 104 yards, 1 TD
Leon Washington 5 carries, 18 yards, 2 receptions 17 yards, 1 TD
Another 100 yard game by Thomas Jones as he was not as dominant as he was in previous games, but he chugged along against a very good Patriots run defense. He fought hard through holes and did well to get an extra yard or two on every play. Leon Washington was an impact player, doing well to weave between the defense on the TD and then got another score on the kickoff return. Another solid game from this group as they ran hard and helped control the clock late in the game.
Wide Receivers – B
Jerricho Cotchery – 5 receptions,87 yards
Laverneus Coles – 5 receptions, 38 yards
Cotchery had a very good game, with the exception of the fumble in the 2nd half. He made a few great possession plays and a great catch on the 47 yard completion, catching it on the side of his helmet. The TD catch he had was a pure effort play, reaching over the goal line with 3 Patriots draped all over him. Coles had a quieter day, but his early catch for a 1st down that was reversed led to a touchdown. His catch for a first down in OT set up the game wining field goal.
Tight Ends – A
Dustin Keller – 8 reception, 87 yards
If we as Jet fans though last weeks 6 catches and 107 yards was Dustin Keller’s coming out party, this game was the party for the rest of the country to see. He made so many clutch 3rd down plays for the Jets, I will completely overlook the drop in the 1st quarter in the end zone. He had 3, count it 3 3rd down conversion catches in overtime, including the play of the day, on 3rd and 15 where he caught the ball and turned quickly, enabling him to turn right up field and get that first down. This kid is unlike other Jet TE’s drafted before, and he will only continue to develop as the season progresses.
Offensive Line – B+
Decent game against a strong front 7 of the Patriots. They allowed 3 sacks, two of which were on blown coverages. They opened up a few holes in the running game, just enough to get by. One thing I was happy about was the play of the O-line on the bubble screens and on plays on the outside. They pulled quickly, and got down the field to lay key blocks on both the touchdown by Leon Washington, and the 3rd down conversion by Chansi Stuckey on the Jets TD drive in the 4th quarter. They weren’t as dominant as they had been, but definitely put up a solid performance.
Defensive Line – B
This group did an excellent job stopping the run, allowing Patriots running backs only 63 yards rushing. They took that element out of the game early. The play of Kris Jenkins forced the Patriots to go to the spread offense and try to pick apart the Jets secondary. Big sacks were made by both C.J. Mosley in the 1st half, and Kris Jenkins on the last drive of the 4th quarter. The problem is they failed to really put pressure on Cassel as a 3 or 4 man rush group, leaving him lots of time to pick apart the Jets. As a 3 man rush, I can hardly blame the D line, but they rushed 4 often and didn’t reap the benefit of their rush.
Linebackers – B-
Eric Barton had another special game for the Jets, recording 17 tackles and really doing a solid job keeping down the YAC for the Pats. He got in on a bunch of plays at the line, and did a relatively decent job on Faulk coming out of the backfield. They struggled controlling Ben Watson, including on the TD catch, where Pace slipped in the end zone. They lacked the pass rush from the OLB position which has been successful in the past. They need to continue to clamp down on the TE’s and RB’s next week against the Titans.
Secondary – C+
Let me start this off by saying that this group did not have as bad of a game that all the negative nancies on the board say that they did. Moss and Welker had a combined 10 receptions 134 yards and a TD. That isn’t the end of the world. Revis did a decent job on whoever he covered. Ty Law, considering that he only practiced for one day with the team played pretty well. The touchdown to Moss has nothing to do with his coverage, he was draped all over him. He also did a good job breaking up a pass to Gaffney on a 3rd down. Hopefully a 10 day prep can help him be better prepared against the Titans. Dwight Lowery played a good game. I’m saying that to start. He made some very good plays on the ball. People are calling for his head, and I really don’t understand why. He had issues with Gaffney on the touchdown catch, and on a few outside routes, but Ty Law had issues with similar plays on Gaffney. When he covered up on Moss, he did a good job on him because this rookie had safety support over the top. People fail to forget this is his 10th game in the NFL, and he will develop. If people will complain about Lowery, that’s fine. But tell me who is the better option. Coleman?, Poteat?, Barrett?, Carroll? I’m sorry, but please stop the criticism unless you have a reasonable course of action to present.
Special Teams – A
Leon Washington helped the Jets win the battle of field position, a battle the Patriots owned in the first game. He averaged 44.3 yards on his 4 returns including the big 92 yard TD return in the 2nd quarter. He helped give the Jets that early advantage. Reggie Hodges had another solid game, averaging 42 yards per punt, but also limiting Welker on his punt returns. Although his kick in the 4th was short, I’ll take it considering he was ensuring that it wasn’t going to get blocked. Finally to Jay Feely, who had ice in his veins on that last kick. He has won the starting job for another week in my opinion with his play, and that kick will be remembered by Jet fans for a long time. Strong game by this group, as they were the difference in my mind.
Coaching – C+
Fans say that coaching is purely the X’s and O’s that are shown on the field. They forget the preparation and everything that goes into it. Let me paint the picture: The Jets coaches had 3 days to go on the road, to face their most hated foes, who have the same record. Not to mention that, this game is for 1st place in the division. You are implementing a brand new scheme in the secondary, with a player who has only practiced once with the team, and are hoping it all meshes. You can tell that Mangini had this team ready to go from the start. I feel that they do one of the best jobs in the NFL of getting points on the board early, and getting out oto an early lead. Look at the games where we have won easily, we got out to an early lead. For the first half, and the initial plan was still in place they did well and opened up the 18 point lead. Then Belicheck changed his plans, and it took a while for the coaches to adjust. This is where I and other fans have their criticism. The Jets are among the worst in the league in points allowed in the 3rd quarter, it is because the other team game plans better than our coaches coming out of halftime. But…….our team is also one of the most successful teams in the 4th quarter BECAUSE our coaches can find was to get points on the board and win by adjusting to the opponents halftime adjustments. Does it take a little time, yes. But in the end they figure out a way to pull it together. The decision to put Law (and then Lowery) on Moss was a great call by the Jets coaches. On offense they had a good mix of run and pass and Schotty did a GREAT job on 3rd down. I hate the call to go into the prevent offense. I hate it. You are facing a quarterback who has not thrown the ball in the air over 20 yards in the past 6 games. There is NO REASON to have 3 deep. If the Jets just continued their defense, protect the sidelines, the Patriots would not have been as close as they were for the final attempt. I don’t mind the call to back Law up on the last play, because when it came down to it, he was draped all over Moss. People seem to forget that it is coaches who get their team refocused after such a situation and get their heads on straight. People complain how Mangini shows no fire. I say his calmness gives this team a feeling that they don’t need to be playing rushed or scared. This team remained focused and executed because of the game plan of the coaches and the mindset that was instilled. Did they call a perfect game, no. But these coaches prepared our Jets to go ON THE ROAD, to GILLETTE STADIUM, to BEAT THE PATRIOTS on 3 DAYS REST, to TAKE OVER 1st PLACE IN THE AFC EAST. They completed what they wanted. And although it wasn’t perfect, it was what was needed for the win.
Studs of the Game: Leon Washington, Dustin Keller, Eric Barton, Brett Favre