Week 7 – New York Jets @ New England: Beware the Jet at Gillette

Not even two minutes into this game and Tom Brady threw a 49 yard bomb to Shane Vereen. Brady’s pass was a bit overthrown, and Vereen hesitated on the route, but thanks to the secondary completely blowing the coverage, Vereen was able to take a diving catch into the end zone for a touchdown.

What a great way to start the game! Four plays for 80 yards and the touchdown. New England lead the New York Jets 7-0.

I’m sure most of the neutral viewers were at this point wondering if we had another Thursday Night Football blowout on our hands. Of the six games played before this week, five of them have been one-sided snoozefests. With New England appearing to have sorted out their early season issues and starting to play well, people could easily be forgiven for thinking they were now on their way to overwhelming the struggling New York Jets.

Not me though. Why? Because it’s the Jets.

Like most Patriots fans, the Jets are the team I enjoy beating the most. For me it’s not any Boston-New York rivalry fuelling it (I’m on the other side of the world). I want to beat the Jets because they are one team that always worries me. They can be downright awful outside of these games, but more often than not they will step it up a notch against the Patriots.

And sure enough, the Jets response to that opening Patriots touchdown proved my point. They targeted one area of New England’s defense that has been having the biggest issues – the run defense. The Jets running backs carved up the Patriots defensive line. They found holes, they blocked well and their evaded tackles.

They finished with 218 yards on 43 carries. It was incredibly frustrating to watch! The best performer was Chris Ivory, who along with his 107 yards and 1 touchdown, compounded my misery by scoring 18.50 points in Fantasy Football (I left him on my bench).

In fact, when you sum up this game, there wasn’t a lot the Jets did wrong. They had more total yards (423 to 323). They had possession of the ball for 40:54 minutes to just 19:06 for the Patriots. And they had 28 first downs to 16.

But they still lost – 27 to 25.

The reason? Efficiency in offense. Though the Patriots had less possession of the ball, they did a little bit more with it.

During the first half, once the Jets had established their running game, they had the Patriots defense on their heels. Yet they kept falling short of a touchdown. Kicker Nick Folk had four field goals in the first half. If they were more productive with some of those drives, they may have put the Patriots under a lot more pressure and the game may have been a different story.

Meantime the Patriots got another first half touchdown with Vereen, and another crucial one in the 4th quarter to Danny Amendola. Remember him? Our $31 million Wes Welker replacement? He actually had a great game. He may have found a new calling as a kick returner. And he also recovered a tricky onside kick in the 4th quarter.

The Jets did have a great opportunity to win. With just over a minute remaining, and no timeouts, Geno Smith started at the Jets own 12-yard line. The Patriots defense was happy to give up throws down the middle in order to use up valuable time.

Even so, Geno did well to keep moving the ball forward, and out of bounds to stop the clock when needed. With eight seconds left, the Jets had the ball on the Patriots 40-yard line, and Nick Folk came on to try and win the game. It was a 58-yard attempt, two more yards than his best ever (at Mile High Stadium in Denver).

Despite the distance, I would be lying if I said I didn’t fear the worst. Fortunately, Patriot Chris Jones’ hand got in the way and the kick was blocked.

So the Patriots held on, just. And the Jets did what they usually do against us, play extraordinarily well given their previous form.

New England moves to 5-2, and stays a game ahead of their AFC East rivals Buffalo and Miami. They now enter a crucial month where they meet Chicago, Denver, Indianapolis and Detroit. The results there could end up being a major factor in not only their playoff chances, but also where they are seeded.

October 16

Gillette Stadium, Foxborough MA (68,756)

New York Jets             6  6   7   6 – 25
New England               7  10  3   7 – 27

Passing: Tom Brady (NE), 261 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: Chris Ivory (NYJ), 21 car, 107 yds, 1 TD
Receiving: Shane Vereen (NE), 5 rec, 71 yds, 2 TD
Pigskin Almanac “Where has this guy been?” award: Danny Amendola (NE)


Sam Wilkinson lives in Melbourne, Australia. His appreciation for the New England Patriots sees him awake at some ridiculous hours just to catch their game. Like all Pats fans, he refuses to admit that one day Tom Brady will get old and have to retire.

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