Sunday, November 13, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Patriots 37, Jets 16
By James Walker
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Here are some initial thoughts on the New England Patriots' convincing 37-16 victory over the New York Jets:
What it means: The Patriots (6-3) swept the Jets for the first time since 2007 and took control of the AFC East division. New England essentially holds a two-game lead over the Jets with seven games left. In addition, the Patriots have the NFL's easiest remaining schedule. New England's next six games are against teams with losing records. New York (5-4) missed a golden opportunity to take first place in the division. Now, barring an unexpected collapse by New England, the Jets most likely will fight for a wild card with several AFC teams down the stretch.
Tom was terrific: The Jets came in playing some of their best defense of the season during their three-game winning streak. But New York still couldn't solve Brady, who made key throws when New England needed it the most. Brady finished with 312 yards and three touchdowns. Brady found his favorite red-zone target, tight end Rob Gronkowski, for two of those scores. New England protected Brady well and didn't allow a sack in the game.
Jets' offense struggles: New York was expected to have an advantage against New England's last-rated defense. But quarterback Mark Sanchez and and the offense struggled. The Jets couldn't protect the quarterback or move the ball efficiently. Sanchez was sacked five times, including 4.5 sacks by Patriots defensive end Andre Carter. The Jets also had three turnovers, including Sanchez's pick six to linebacker Rob Ninkovich in the fourth quarter.
Ochocinco sighting: New England receiver Chad Ochocinco had his most productive game as a Patriot. Ochocinco caught two passes for 65 yards, which included a 53-yard catch in the first half. The Patriots traded for Ochocinco this summer to provide big plays to the offense. Perhaps this is a sign that he can turn his season around.
What's next: The Jets have to get over this loss quickly. They have a short week and travel to play the Denver Broncos (4-5) on Thursday night. The Patriots will begin the easy part of their schedule. They will host the Kansas City Chiefs (4-5) next week on "Monday Night Football." New England doesn't play a team with a winning record until Week 17 against the Buffalo Bills (5-4).