Saturday, November 24, 2012
Five plays that shaped the game
By Rich Cimini
Looking back at the Jets' 49-19 loss to the Patriots, their second home loss by at least 30 points:
1. The trap. The Patriots baited Mark Sanchez into a costly interception in scoring territory. He threw an in-cut to Jeremy Kerley and never saw the backside safety, Steve Gregory, who showed terrific anticipation. This cost the Jets at least three points in a then-scoreless game. In reality, it cost them so much more.
2. Stuffed turkey. This started the Jets' downfall. On a fourth-and-1 from the Patriots' 31, Rex Ryan made the right call -- he went for it. Shonn Greene went off right guard and was stuffed for no gain, with LB Jerod Mayo defeating a block by FB Lex Hilliard to make a great tackle in the hole.
3. The Wheel-turned-flat tire. Patriots RB Shane Vereen ran a simple wheel route and scored on an 83-yard touchdown pass. The Jets appeared to be in Cover-3, but they busted a coverage, leaving Vereen wide open. He went untouched to the end zone to make it 14-0.
4. The butt fumble. They'll be talking about this play for years, probably decades. Sanchez was supposed to hand the ball to Hilliard on a quick-hitting running play, but he turned the wrong way. He scrambled, got clothes-lined by Brandon Moore's rear end and lost the ball. Gregory -- yes, him again -- scooped it up and ran 32 yards for a touchdown to make it 21-0. Somewhere, Bubby Brister was experiencing flashbacks of his ill-fated shovel pass in 1995.
5. Oh, no, Joe. On the ensuing kickoff, Joe McKnight, one of the best returners in the league, lost a fumble. And, of course, the Patriots returned it for a touchdown. It was how he lost it that made the play so memorable. McKnight was drilled by Devin McCourty and the ball flew out, as if it were connected to a string. Julian Edelman caught it on the fly and raced 22 yards for the score to make it 28-0.