Report Card: Cover your eyes
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- This will cause post-Thanksgiving indigestion:
The Jets actually ran the ball reasonably well (119 yards), but they didn't have much to show for it. On the biggest running play of the game -- fourth-and-1 from the Patriots' 31 in the second quarter -- Shonn Greene was stuffed for no gain and he lost the ball like a bar of soap squirting out of his grip. In the third quarter, the Jets failed to score on four straight runs inside the Patriots' 4. Curiously, they tried to run at NT Vince Wilfork, who ate them for dinner.
Mark Sanchez's numbers look good on paper (26-for-36, 301 yards, one TD, one interception), but he committed two turovers in the first 21 minutes. He misread a coverage, resulting in an interception in scoring territory. Later, he brainlocked on a handoff. He turned the wrong way and ate the ball, fumbling when he ran into the bakside of RG Brandon Moore. A silver lining: Rookie WR Stephen Hill caught both passes thrown to him.
Tom Brady won the cat-and-mouse game with the Jets' coaches, audibling to running plays whenever the Jets had their smaller lineup (nickel/dime package) on the field. The Patriots ran for 152 yards, with Stevan Ridley (97) doing most of the damage. By the end, the Jets were gassed and demoralized, although S LaRon Landry (two tackles for loss) kept flying around the ball.
Turns out the Patriots didn't need TE Rob Gronkowski at all. Brady dissected the Jets, throwing for 323 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. He was, as Rex Ryan called him this week, a machine. He picked on the weak links -- nickel back Ellis Lanster (3-yard TD by Wes Welker) and LB Bart Scott (83-yard TD by Shane Vereen). Landry also surrendered a TD. There were blown coverages all night and the Jets didn't record a sack.
Another week, another disaster. This time, Joe McKnight fumbled on a kickoff return, and the Patriots returned it for a TD. In two games against the Patriots, the Jets allowed two TDs on special teams. Look on the bright side: At least the Jets didn't have any blocked kicks.
What can you say? On a short week, Bill Belichick clearly outcoached Ryan. The Patriots played faster, hit harder and played smarter than the Jets, who looked like they didn't want to be there. The Jets' offensive plan was curious to say the least. They tried to run the ball against the league's 30th-ranked pass defense, forgetting that Sanchez had success in the previous game. There also were a number of questionable short-yardage calls. But let's not nit-pick; this game wasn't about a few plays. They were embarrassed by their rival on national TV. It doesn't get worse than that.