AFC East: 2010 Week 8 Rapid Reaction

Rapid Reaction: Patriots 28, Vikings 18

October, 31, 2010
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots knocked Brett Favre out of the game, held Randy Moss to a single catch and beat the Minnesota Vikings 28-18 in Gillette Stadium.

What it means: With the New York Jets losing earlier Sunday, the Patriots assumed sole possession of first place at 6-1.

Pryor scores the knockout: No, not Aaron Pryor. Patriots defensive lineman Myron Pryor delivered the blow that sent Favre to the locker room with 7:31 left in the game. Pryor's helmet nailed Favre in the chin, opening a nasty cut and making Favre wobbly.

Moss not a factor: Moss was quiet in his return to Gillette Stadium. He had one catch for 8 yards and no touchdowns, but he could have had an easy one. After drawing a pass interference penalty in the fourth quarter, he gave up on a play, allowing the ball to land nearby at the goal line for an incompletion. Favre threw at him once in the first half.

Law Firm closes the deal: With 35 minutes gone, Danny Woodhead was New England's leading rusher with 7 yards. BenJarvus Green-Ellis (aka The Law Firm) pounded out the victory with 108 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters.

Big man Tate: Patriots receiver Brandon Tate scored his first NFL receiving touchdown on an improvised route with Tom Brady scrambling. Tate turned up the left sideline. Brady found him wide open, and Tate ran diagonally across the field for 65 yards.

What's next: Bill Belichick gets to shake hands with old pal Eric Mangini next week, when the Patriots visit the Cleveland Browns.

Rapid Reaction: Packers 9, Jets 0

October, 31, 2010
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Quick thoughts form the Green Bay Packers' 9-0 win over the New York Jets.

What this means: Hold the Super Bowl reservations. The Jets, in a post-bye week funk, were shut out for the first time since Nov. 19, 2006 and snapped a five-game winning streak. Blame this one on Rex Ryan and his underachieving offense. The New York Jets’ made two questionable decisions in the first half, both of which loomed large in defeat. Ryan’s high-priced, big-name offense embarrassed itself against the NFL’s 18th-ranked defense.

Bad decisions: The Jets made two awful decisions in the first half -- trying a fake punt on a fourth-and-18 from their own 20 and challenging a third-down interception that had no potential benefit. The latter came back to bite them.

Steve Weatherford is a terrific athlete for a punter, but that’s a lot of running -- and he came up 1 yard short. The Packers converted that stop into a field goal and a 3-0 lead, which held up for the entire first half. The odds of converting a fourth-and-18 probably are no greater than 10 percent; that was poor game management Ryan and special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff.

In the second quarter, on a third-and-11 from the Packers’ 43, cornerbacks Tramon Williams ripped the ball out of Jerricho Cotchery’s hands on a short pass. Ryan challenged, claiming Cotchery had possession. Even if the Jets had won the challenge, it would’ve been fourth-and-8 -- either a 58-yard FG attempt or a punt. Why waste the challenge? Ryan lost, exhausting his allotment of replay challenges for the game.

They needed that challenge in the fourth quarter, when cornerback Charles Woodson intercepted a pass that should have been overruled. Tight end Dustin Keller had the reception and was down by contact, but the ball was ripped out of his hands by Woodson -- a huge turnover. It was a bad call, but Ryan’s hands were tied and it was his own fault.

Ryan capped a rough day by burning all three timeouts in the second half when the Packers had the ball with more than four minutes left in the game. It left his offense nothing to work with.

Where's the offense?: Did Brian Schottenheimer dust off the game plan from the Baltimore game? This was horrible. There were too many three-and-outs and too many blown opportunities. Quarterback Mark Sanchez’s fast start is a distant memory, as he continued to regress for the third straight game. His two interceptions weren’t all his fault, but his accuracy was awful. It was so bad that it almost makes you think there’s something wrong with his arm.

Instead of developing a flow, Schottenheimer was too preoccupied with keeping his so-called playmakers happy. It seemed like the goal was making sure the playing time was balanced instead of trying to attack Green Bay's weaknesses. There was too much shuffling of the personnel, making it difficult for players to find a rhythm. And to think, the Jets used the bye week to perform self-scouting exercises. That didn't accomplish much.

Holmes coming: As expected, wide receiver Santonio Holmes had an expanded role. He did more harm than good, dropping two short passes. The second drop came on a third down at the Packers’ 40, a wide-open play in which he could have scored. Holmes finished with three catches for 43 yards.

Revis Island: Cornerback Darrelle Revis, his troublesome left hamstring supposedly healed, played the entire game and didn’t seem affected by the injury. His role was changed in the second half. He played left cornerback in the first half, which meant very few matchups with the Packers’ No. 1 receiver, Greg Jennings. But in the second half, Revis was assigned to Jennings on almost every play.

Sloppy, sloppy: The Jets made mistakes in all three phases. Sanchez threw two interceptions, Brad Smith fumbled out of the Wildcat, Nick Folk missed a field goal from 38 yards, the Jets dropped four passes and there were several costly penalties. The Jets’ 5-1 start was built on takeaway-giveaway domination -- a league-leading plus-10 -- but they lost the turnover battle to the Packers with a minus-3.

What’s next: The Jets hit the road to face the improving Detroit Lions, a matchup of the two highest-drafted quarterbacks from the Class of ’09 -- Sanchez (fifth overall) and Matthew Stafford (No. 1).