Saturday, November 24, 2012
Drive of the game: Sanchez INT
By Rich Cimini
The situation: It was a scoreless game when the Jets took over at their 30-yard line with 10:05 remaining in the first quarter. This was 10 minutes before disaster struck. The Jets still had visions of an upset.
The outcome: Despite facing the league's 30th-ranked pass defense, the Jets were determined to run the ball against the Patriots. And they got off to a good start, rushing five times for 30 yards on this drive. It was power running, with Shonn Greene banging between the tackles. On second-and-6 from the Patriots' 23, coordinator Tony Sparano removed his tight ends and used a "20" personnel package -- two RBs, three WRs.
Jeremy Kerley, in the right slot, ran an in-cut. Nickel back Kyle Arrington played a leverage that forced Kerley to the inside, likely part of an elaborate "trap." Sanchez probably thought the Patriots were in Cover-2, assuming backside S Steve Gregory was cheating toward Clyde Gates on the left. But Gregory recognized Kerley's route and came up to the middle of the field. Sanchez never saw him.
The impact: Gregory, who had a monster game, made the interception at the Patriots' 15, killing the Jets' first and only legitimate scoring threat -- while the game still was competitive. It was the fifth time this season that Sanchez committed a turnover in scoring territory. This time, it was a harbinger in a night that will live in infamy.