Sunday, October 20, 2013
Rapid Reaction: New England Patriots
By Mike Reiss
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Rapid reaction from the New England Patriots' 30-27 overtime loss to the New York Jets:
What it means: The Patriots had their streak of 12 straight victories over AFC East opponents snapped. They had control of the game early, but the Jets’ defense took control of the game in the third quarter. The Patriots had been in a favorable spot with a 21-10 halftime lead when quarterback Tom Brady had an interception returned for a touchdown by Jets safety Antonio Allen. The complexion of the game changed at that point, but the Patriots recovered in the fourth quarter in the critical situations to force overtime. But the Jets ultimately outlasted them to drop the Patriots to 5-2.
Critical penalty on Jones: Rookie defensive tackle Chris Jones was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Jets’ 56-yard field goal attempt in overtime as he was rushing up the middle. The kick was no good, but the penalty gave the Jets new life and they ultimately won it. This will be a big storyline after the game, and we would expect further explanation from referee Jerome Boger in a pool report.
Gronkowski snap tracker: Tight end Rob Gronkowski made his 2013 debut and was charted on the field for 51 of 79 snaps (including penalties). He was a difference-maker in his return, drawing a big holding penalty in the second quarter, although he couldn’t hang on to what would have been a tough one-handed catch on the Patriots' game-tying drive. Brady also forced the issue to him at times.
Stock Watch: Brady -- down. One week after he drove the Patriots down the field in dramatic fashion, Brady turned in an uneven performance. While protection breakdowns didn’t help the cause (credit also the Jets’ defense), his interception returned for a touchdown early in the third quarter was uncharacteristic.
Ups and downs for depleted defense: The short-handed Patriots defense struggled for long stretches as the Jets owned third down, but when a stop was needed late in the fourth quarter, the unit delivered with big pass breakups by cornerback Alfonzo Dennard and safety Steve Gregory. Rookie cornerback Logan Ryan had a pick-six in the first quarter. So it was a day of ups and downs for the unit. Overall, it was more the offense that hurt the Patriots.
Key stat: The Patriots offense was 1-for-12 on third down.
Injuries of note: There were no major injuries for the Patriots.
What’s next: The Patriots return home to entertain the Dolphins next Sunday in a second straight AFC East clash. The Patriots are 2-1 in AFC East play, with wins over the Bills and the Jets and today’s loss to the Jets.