FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum pointed out in Peter King's always enlightening "Monday Morning Quarterback" column that of their 45 active players Sunday, 11 of them were defensive backs.
Subtract three specialists and more than a quarter of Rex Ryan's roster was specifically dedicated to disrupting the New England Patriots' passing game. MVP favorite Tom Brady struggled to find a rhythm in a stunning 28-21 home loss.
Early in the game, you could sense how much the Patriots were playing left-handed, a term coaches use to describe being forced to do what they're not comfortable with.
The Patriots passed with their run personnel (blocking tight end Alge Crumpler had five targets, bruising back BenJarvus Green-Ellis had three) and ran with their passing personnel (Danny Woodhead had more carries than Green-Ellis and equal targets in the first half).
Crumpler had six catches all season. Green-Ellis had 12.
Green Ellis averaged 14.3 carries per game in the regular season compared to 6.9 attempts for Woodhead.
The Jets sacked Brady five times, with coverage a major reason why. ESPN Stats & Information charted every play from Sunday's upset. All five of Brady's sacks and his rare interception (linebacker David Harris caught it) came against four or fewer pass-rushers.
Brady improved his stat line on his final drive, completing five of seven attempts for 59 yards and a touchdown against the Jets' prevent defense. Before that, he was averaging 3.2 yards less per attempt than he did in the regular-season and had a 78.8 passer rating.
The box score showed the Jets' throng of defensive backs combined for 33 defensive tackles (five more on special teams), two tackles for losses and a sack.
"It was an unbelievable game plan," Jets defensive lineman Trevor Pryce said in Michael Silver's column on Yahoo! Sports. "It was out of sight. We did some stuff I've never seen a football team do. We flooded coverages, had man schemes that looked like zone and zone that looked like man.
"Our first reaction was, 'How are we gonna do this? How is this gonna work?' I mean, 14 years in the NFL, and I'd never seen anything like it. Rex came up with some Madden [expletive], like it was a video game. He said 'Hey, let's try this.' And it worked! They couldn’t figure it out."