If Aaron Hernandez squeezes a late first-half touchdown (instead it ticked off his hands and was intercepted), we probably look back more fondly at Tom Brady's efforts. Despite his first game without at least 2 TDs since last Halloween, Brady completes 24-of-31 tosses for 321 yards and a score. Wes Welker and Deion Branch grind out gritty performances.
The Patriots didn't just run the ball, they stole "ground and pound" from the Jets' playbook. Green-Ellis sets a career high with 136 yards on 27 trots. Maybe most impressive: Green-Ellis puts up 64 yards on 12 carries in the fourth quarter -- the Law Firm making the closing arguments. Only downside: Stevan Ridley (7 carries, 13 yards) never gets on track.
Which number -- 390, 372, 369, 344 or 166 -- doesn't belong? Those are the passing yardage totals for the first five weeks, with Mark Sanchez well below the average after completing 16-of-26 tosses. The Jets do strike for two touchdowns through the air, but Santonio Holmes tops the stat sheet at 60 yards receiving.
Considering Rex Ryan's proclamation to return to "ground and pound," limiting the Jets to 97 yards on 25 carries (3.9-yard average) isn't necessarily a bad night. The Patriots did a nice job of limiting the big play as New York's longest jaunt was 9 yards. Early-down success against the run helped the Patriots force seven three-and-outs on the day.
The Pats have thrived on special teams, but couldn't have been much worse on Sunday. Joe McKnight's 88-yard kickoff return sets up a score early in the third quarter. McKnight averaged 39.6 yards per return; the Pats hadn't allowed a return of more than 27 yards all season. On the bright side, Zoltan Mesko (4 punts, 51.3-yard average) and Stephen Gostkowski (3 FGs).
The Patriots kept their mouths shut all week and echoed Bill Belichick's postgame comments that it was a great week of practice. New England come in with a game plan and execute on both sides of the ball. Belichick challenges two plays and wins both, leading to 10 points.