Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Closing the book on Pats-Jets
By Mike Reiss
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Closing the book on the Patriots' 29-26 overtime win over the Jets after rewatching the game:
1. New nickname for Ninkovich? In a celebratory postgame locker room, Bill Belichick referred to defensive end/linebacker Rob Ninkovich as the "Jet Killer" because he once again came up big against the Jets. Ninkovich had two interceptions in a game against the Jets last season, and one thing that stood out from watching him Sunday -- when he came up big on the final play of overtime -- is how his versatility is being tapped. Sometimes he's at linebacker. Other times it's defensive end. Sometimes he's dropping into coverage. Other times, he's rushing. Ninkovich is truly a Swiss Army knife for the defense.
2. Gostkowski's game-winning kick to challenging side. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski has earned deserving praise for his two clutch field goals -- from 43 yards at the end of regulation and 48 yards in overtime. The overtime kick came to the open end of the stadium, which is considered the tougher side for field-goal attempts. "Sometimes the open end has two channels of wind," punter/holder Zoltan Mesko explained. "Sometimes when you ride it, it will go right to left. But sometimes you won't catch that drift and it will be a little left to right. It's a little tough. You have to experience it and Steve has done that a lot of times."
3. Jets win battle of line of scrimmage. Just a general observation on the Jets' running game -- they controlled the line of scrimmage, even if the final stat line (33 carries, 106 yards, 3.1 avg.) didn't necessarily reflect it. Didn't think this was the best game for Patriots defensive linemen Vince Wilfork and Kyle Love as the Jets created positive momentum right up the gut.
4. Simms on Patriots pass coverage. Given the struggles the Patriots have had in pass coverage, thought this analysis from Phil Simms was notable: "I believe when the Patriots are better in coverage, it's when they try to play tight man."
5. Jets' regret on final Patriots drive of regulation. The Jets rushed just three, dropping eight into coverage, on four of the Patriots' five plays on their drive to tie the game at the end of regulation. Brady completed passes of 15, 12, 20 and 7 against the three-man rush on that drive. Looking back, the Jets probably regret this decision. Why not bring some heat?
6. Quick-hit thoughts. When the Patriots hurried to the line to get a quick snap off -- usually for a run play -- it didn't seem to produce the desired results (outside of the second play with Shane Vereen). Perhaps the offense would benefit from slowing things down more often on a few of those third-down plays. ... Running back Danny Woodhead looked like he aced his tests in blitz pickup, but it looked like he forgot he was the personal protector on the punt team in the first quarter, which forced the Patriots to burn a timeout. ... On the Jets' first touchdown, when the Patriots had 10 defenders on the field, it looked like Jermaine Cunningham was the missing player. ... Nice pull by left guard Donald Thomas on a 12-yard Stevan Ridley run in the third quarter. ... The Patriots looked to be close to blocking both of Nick Folk's 43-yard field goals late in the fourth quarter. ... Who knew halftime adjustments could be made on more than just Xs and Os? Bill Belichick went from a non-logo-ed jacket in the first half to a gray hoodie in the second half.