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Normally, the week before a Jets/Patriots game would be, well, a lot louder to say the least. Besides Dustin Keller’s Namath-like guarantee of victory over his heated rival, the two opposing sides stayed quiet and remained in a stalemate throughout the week. Both teams refused to move any of their pieces off the board, deciding to finally let their actions speak louder than their words.
New England’s actions spoke volumes while Dustin Keller swallowed his words and failed to follow suit of Broadway Joe. The New York Jets once again proved they cannot win the big game and the New England Patriots proved that they are still the power house in the AFC East with a 37-16 win.
Refusing to pick apart a secondary that everyone else and their mothers have this season, the Jets chose an alternative, passive approach against the Pats, playing right into the hand of Bill Belichick. Tom Brady’s offensive attack was too much for the tired Jets defense while Mark Sanchez watched helplessly from the sidelines and did all he could to match his counterpart. And for what looks like another year, the Patriots will not lose three straight games during the regular season.
Mark Sanchez and the Jets picked up where they left off last week and put together an impressive opening drive to start the game. Last week, after moving the ball so well, Sanchez’s interception in the end zone stalled the drive, leaving the Jets with no points. This week, bad luck and another miscue kept the jets off the scoreboard.
After Santonio Holmes caught a pass off of his typical, hot route up the middle, the veteran wide receiver could not maintain his balance and fell tan yards shy of the end zone on a play he normally scores on with ease.
Set up first and goal, the Jets were unable to put one in for six. Nick Folk came on for a 24-yard try but shanked the easy chip shot wide left.
Two Stephen Gostkowski field goals gave the Patriots an early 6-0 lead.
Tom Brady always seems to be in the right place at the right time. He makes the big play when need be and knows how to get it done. Late in the second quarter, the all-pro quaterback showed his agility, deep in Patriots territory and added recovering fumbles and surviving a pile up of 300-pound linemen to his resume. After botching the snap, Brady quickly fell back on top of the ball and maintained possession, even with the emergent royal rumble that followed.
But like everyone else, Tom Brady is only human. On the very next play, the Jets sent the pressure and got to Brady, forcing him to intentionally ground the ball in the end zone for the safety. The Jets now trailed 6-2.
Following the safety, on 3rd and goal, Mark Sanchez kept the ball himself and ran it in for the score, giving the Jets their first lead of the game, 9-6.
New England struck back right away. On the next drive, Tom Brady found Rob Gronkowski in the end zone, taking a 13-9 lead with nine seconds left in the half.
What worried the Jets about Joe McKnight early in his career came back to haunt them as the young running back continued with his fumbling ways, completely mishandling a punt, resulting in a crucial change of possession and a shift in momentum. The Patriots capitalized with a field goal.
After a Mark Sanchez interception, Tom Brady kicked it into fifth gear and picked apart the Jets defense with a no-huddle, hurry-up attack. Brady again connected with Gronkowski for the tight end’s second touchdown of the game, making the score 23-9 in favor of the Pats.
The Jets, for the time being, did not go quiet into the crisp, November night. Sanchez bounced back from his mistake, drove the ball down field and hooked up with Plaxico Burress for the score, making the game only a one possession game.
Unfortunately for the Jets, Tom Brady was on his A-game and the Patriots defense stepped up big. Deion Branch caught a touchdown pass and the Patriots defense also put up six with an interception return, putting the game out of reach and solidifying sole possession of first place.
All the Jets can do is keep their heads up, regroup, and get ready for Denver. What do the Jets need to do to stop the Patriots? Will they ever win the division? At this point, no one knows. And at this point, it does not seem likely. Every year it seems to be the same song and dance. Two teams enter a season with promise. One delivers. The other does not. There is still plenty of football left to go, but with another loss to the New England Patriots and a tough schedule ahead, the questions keep piling up. When will the Jets host a playoff game? Will the Jets even make the playoffs at all this year?