Posted September 13, 2013

Patriots win ugly and atypically over Jets in Thursday night mess

AFC East, New England Patriots, New York Jets
Tom Brady was far too often frustrated by his receivers on Thursday night. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Tom Brady was far too often frustrated by his receivers on Thursday night. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

The New England Patriots have had the New York Jets’ number in recent years, and now, the Pats have lapped the field in what used to be the Jets’ specialty under Rex Ryan: winning ugly. New England beat the Jets for the fifth straight time, this time by a 13-10 score, and this was unquestionably the weirdest version of those victories. With every elite target he’d thrown to in previous years either injured, in different uniforms, in jail or retired, Tom Brady completed 19 of 39 passes for one touchdown and no picks. It was the first time since 2009 that he completed less than 50 percent of his passes in a game.

And as it turned out, the “no picks” stat was the most important of the night, because Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith threw three interceptions, all in the fourth quarter. As often as the Jets were in the mix to actually pull off the win and end that schnied, Smith’s turnovers — and a fumble from receiver Stephen Hill — ended that hope.

“You turn the ball over four times against the Patriots — you can go back  a number of years on that one,” Jets head coach Rex Ryan said. “There’s no way you win if you turn it over four times. But I know one thing — we’re going to compete, and try to give ourselves an opportunity to win.”

They very nearly did, and there were times when Smith looked like the best quarterback on the field. When he had a clean pocket and his receivers caught the ball, Smith made some great deep throws. But he was as bedeviled by his targets as he was unraveled by his own inconsistencies. He finished with 15 completions in 35 attempts for 214 yards, no touchdowns, and those three fatal interceptions.

“I thought Geno had his moments,” Ryan said. “I don’t know how many balls we dropped today, but it was a bunch. Obviously, his numbers would look a lot different if we caught the football, but it’s just unfortunate. The young man had his moments, and we wish we had a few back.”

However many balls the Jets’ receivers dropped, it wasn’t a patch on what Brady got from his receivers. Julian Edelman, the only receiver on the Patriots’ active roster with any sort of familiarity with Brady in the regular season, caught 13 passes in 18 targets for 78 yards. His longest catch was for 10 yards. Take away Dobson’s 39-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter, and he grabbed two balls on nine targets for 17 yards the rest of the game. He dropped a couple of perfectly thrown passes from Brady, and there were other times when Brady and Dobson were just out of sync. Kenbrell Thompkins, New England’s preseason star, brought in two passes in seven targets for 49 yards.

The touchdown pass to Dobson was a great example of situational play-calling. The Patriots had third-and-2, and all 11 Jets defenders were either at the line or in the box. The Patriots ran slide protection, moving their offensive line to the right as into run, and the Jets bit on it all the way. Dobson ran a wheel route from the right side of the line off of Brady’s perfect play-fake to Stevan Ridley, and Dobson was wide open down the right side. Ryan said after the game it was a clearly blown coverage.

“It looked like they had everybody up pretty close to the line of scrimmage, which they did that quite a bit tonight,” Pats head coach Bill Belichick said. “It looked like they had no deep-field player and they were going to get caught up in there in the action. Aaron slipped behind him, and Tom found him. We got behind them several times, we didn’t convert as often as we’d like to or need to, but that was a big one for us.”

After that, though … things went downhill pretty severely. The Patriots had one rushing first down and seven passing first downs. They converted on four of 18 third-down chances, gained just 232 total yards to the Jets’ 318, and actually ran fewer plays than the Jets — 64 to New York’s 71. Last week against the Buffalo Bills, the Pats ran 89 plays, which is far more emblematic of the high-paced offense they want to run. This week, New England had more punts than first downs.

“We have a long way to go,” Brady said. “Nobody’s going to come in and save the day, so we’ve just got to fight through it. Work harder and do better and try to be more consistent. Hopefully, we can score more points.”

There are offenses in which you can get away with younger and less-experienced receivers, but New England’s is not one of them. Brady runs an offense with an insane number of option routes, and option anxiety was the result for his targets.

“It just doesn’t magically come together — you’ve got to work really hard at it,” Brady concluded. “The passing game is all about anticipation — they have to anticipate what I’m going to do, and I have to anticipate what they’re going to do. I think it’s unrealistic of them to feel like they can do it like 10-year veterans. That’s not what they are, but they’re trying hard, and they work really hard. They have a lot of skill, and they’re great kids.”

During the game, Brady was obviously frustrated, both on the field and on the sideline, and he seemed to understand there’s a limit to how effective that will be with a patchwork receiver corps.

“I think I have to do a better job with my body language. I definitely can improve that. It’s not a real strong point of mine right now.”

An unattractive win? Without question. But if the Patriots have to walk around with the “NFL’s Ugliest 2-0 Team” title, they’ll take it.

“Two games in the division, we knew it was going to be tough games,” defensive tackle Vince Wilfork told the NFL Network. “My main thing coming into the season was, can the defense step up? And in two weeks, we’ve stepped up. Tonight, we sealed it, and it was a hard-fought game, That’s what division games are all about. On a short week, we’ve got to be proud of that. Guys coming into work grinding, and it showed tonight.”

Well, the grind was obvious on both sides, and for both teams. The most memorable moment of the night, and for all the wrong reasons, happened with 48 seconds left in the game. Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib picked off his second Smith pass of the evening, and as he went to the sideline, Jets center Nick Mangold went for a tackle at Talib’s knees. The corresponding melee (below) saw Mangold flagged for unnecessary roughness, and fellow offensive linemen D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Willie Colon kicked out of the game.

One might say Ferguson and Colon were just protecting their teammate, but there was an ancillary benefit in that they could clear the field before this mess was finally in the books.

43 comments
rskins09
rskins09

Seems like these Thursday night games - NFL-  last year and this year  are mediocre at best ..Look at the scores from last year ...Like each team, each game they are  playing on 7 cylinders.. Should be Fri. games but can't interfere w/college  --- 48 hours ... 

Danthefan1022
Danthefan1022

Pats will continue to win and all the jealous little bltches will continue to pop blood vessels over it.

RescuedfromESPN
RescuedfromESPN

If they can win with their best 2 weapons out, they will be fine. With Brady they'll always be a SB contender. Amendola is back in week 3, and Gronk is back week 4. Gronk coming back will be key because the Pats really need a  reliable deep threat. They will probably go 3 for 4 facing the Bucs, Falcons, Bengals, and Saints. They've overcome tougher times than this in the past, and theyll do it again. In the playoffs, who's gonna beat them? Manning can't win in the cold and the Texans got demolished both times last year, and whoever comes out of the NFC will be out of gas after facing that hell of a conference. 

Mark20
Mark20

We won. You haters can go suck it.

billthompsonbaby
billthompsonbaby

Tom Brady is a condescending jerk calling his receivers kids. Hey, Tom, you haven't won a Super Bowl since you were caught cheating by video taping the opposing defense's play calls so you knew what they were doing. THAT required participation by YOU, Tom. So your 3 Super Bowl wins have an asterisk by them just like Barry Bonds.

The Patriots are starting to look like Jerry Jones and the delusional Cowboy fans.

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

Pat fans crack me up with their enormous capability for delusions and denial.  The defense played two rookie qb's and they think their D did good.  The jets had no problem running the ball, the Pats were fortunate the Jets were stupid enough to not keep running it in the 4th quarter all the way to the end zone and the win.  

Pat fans should be sick with what Belichick did this off season.  Loading the team with rookies and injury prone players for Tom to throw to?  That is a joke.  How many years does BB think Tom has left?  Amendola can not stay on the field, neither can Gronk.  Do not count on them, that is just dumb.  Rookie receivers never figure it out in their first year unless they are truly special.  So the rookies will not get better as the year goes on.  

Would not be surprised if the Pats end up with a losing record.  

Danthefan1022
Danthefan1022

Pats are lucky they start off against three bad teams. Hopefully they can get their offense in sync by week 4.

Herroldo
Herroldo

So basically, if I take away every offensive weapon at Brady's disposal and replace it with Julian Edelman, the Pats still beat Geno Smith and the Jets.

If I am the Jets, I am drafting another QB next year.  What I saw was a QB who can throw a screen, an out and a deep out.  Nothing over the middle or 8-15 yards.  Those are the balls he underthrew or threw to the wrong shoulder that led to 3 INTs.

How is he better than Sanchez?

Ericfollowedbyanumber
Ericfollowedbyanumber

Mangold looked like he was trying to injure Talib on that play, and he hit him out of bounds. Is he going to get a $100,000 fine? Probably not...but at the very least, will we be seeing headlines about his dirty hit, or will it just be buried in the last paragraph of stories like this?

WilyCoyoteSuperGenius
WilyCoyoteSuperGenius

There was a football game last night? I wouldn't know, since I refuse to pay for cable. Doesn't look like I missed much.

UleNotknow
UleNotknow

Tebow would have faltered too, but he'd have won the game.

it'sme
it'sme

just had too......

it'sme
it'sme

funny thing...... Tebow would have had similar numbers as Smith..... but he would have won the game at the end.

Danthefan1022
Danthefan1022

2-0. There are no pictures in the standings.

btcvsolo
btcvsolo

That was ridiculous...

Not a fan of either team, but the Patriots tried HANDING that game to the Jets; only to see the rookie toss it right back to 'em. Appears the AFC East is the weakest link...

PowerBone
PowerBone

I hate to say it. But this is actually well written.

WHO*IS*ESPN
WHO*IS*ESPN

Dobson should be unemployed this morning, standing in obozo's gubment cheese line.

kasper_grann
kasper_grann

"With every elite target he’d thrown to in previous years either injured, in different uniforms, or retired..."
-or in jail

riley8
riley8

@Mark20 Pats will probably win 10 games with 6 of them coming from this garbage division.  Come playoff time it will be one and done.  Goodnite Irene.

bobbie johnson
bobbie johnson

@Mark20 Mark, who's "we"?  are you on the team?  Pats are going NOWHERE this year.  Belichick hasn't won a thing since it was revealed that he cheats.  Brady is on his last legs.  They're done.  

Charles58
Charles58

@billthompsonbaby Your team must suck because all your hot air about spygate sounds like a serious case of sour grapes. Anyone who is remotely knowledgeable about football knows that every team always does whatever it can to steal signals and signs, and whatever else then can do to figure out the other team's game plan and play calls. The only reason it became a story was because the bitter Eric Man-weenie ratted out his former boss because if his personal vendetta against Belichik. The Patriots have been one of the best teams in football for over a decade, and you can piss and moan all you want, but at the end of the day, you and your team can suck it.

pval
pval

@billthompsonbaby 

you are the jerk.

 The patriots have been the most consistent team in football  the last ten years, and even played at a incredible level in 2007. They played entire quarters at a level which was near perfection on offense and defense. If you can't appreciate that it's your loss, and chances are  you just don't really like (or understand) football, period.

As for Brady being a "jerk" for calling his rookie teamates "kids",  well he is 36 they are something like 22, so yeah it's okay for him  to call them "kids", which last time I checked wasn't an insult.

Charles58
Charles58

@randomdeletion why don't you put your money where your (loud)mouth is and put some money on the Pats having a losing record? No? Didn't think so. Keep on being a hater, it's likely because you are probably a Jets fan and know what being truly putrid is.

Danthefan1022
Danthefan1022

Defense played well. And they can only play the team on their schedule. We'll see if they can continue playing well. We all don't have the ability to see the future the way you appear to be able to do.

bobbie johnson
bobbie johnson

@Ericfollowedbyanumber Mangold is not a dirty player.  Talib is a f'ing clown dancing around the sideline, which is the only reason Mangold tried to hit him.  Pats got every call last night.  Should've lost.  They suc k

Charles58
Charles58

@WHO*IS*ESPN You should be banished from the planet earth, you pathetic troll. I hope you get a case of thermonuclear herpes and you suffer as much as everyone else does who is subjected to your unintelligible drivel.

billthompsonbaby
billthompsonbaby

@Charles58 @billthompsonbaby Eh!! Let's go beat some skulls! Ehh! Ohh! You gotta be kiddin' me!! Hey, Petey! Hey, Paulie!! Why are people from Boston so arrogant, yet they act like 15-year old gang members? Hilarious. The Patriots have consistently played in a crappy division and they are way overrated. They won 3 Super Bowls by only 3 points at a time they were cheating. When they weren't cheating, they lost. This season they will get some wins, again, from playing their crappy division and will probably go into the playoffs and then lose...again.

billthompsonbaby
billthompsonbaby

@pval @billthompsonbaby I understand that the Patriots won 3 Super Bowls by only 3 points at a time they were stealing the other team's defensive play calls. And when they were in 2 Super Bowls where they weren't cheating, they lost.

Charles58
Charles58

@bobbie johnson @Ericfollowedbyanumber That was a clown comment bro. Patriots were awful, but the Jets were awfuller. Talib was staying inbounds to burn a little more clock, and Mangold went for his knees out of bounds when Talib's back was turned and you don't think that is a dirty play? Trying to end another player's career is not dirty? You are delusional or you just elevated hating to a new level. He should be fined and suspended.

Terry
Terry

@WHO*IS*ESPN @kasper_grann

With every elite target he’d thrown to in previous years either injured, in different uniforms, in jail or retired,

He didn't miss it. You were just too busy being the troll you are to see it.

pval
pval

 And I understand that the Patriots have been playing great football for the last tens years and more. 

I like watchching football because, when played at the highest level, it is a thing of sheer beauty. 

And as I said, watching  the Patriots in the recent years has been pure joy, just as were the Colts under Manning, the SF 49ers of the Eighties, some Steelers teams under Cohwer and Tomlin etc.

And, as a matter of fact, I don't care to much, as to who actually wins the Superbowl. And it certainly doesn't influence much my appreciation of any given team.

Quite often the loosing team is every bit as good a football team as the winner. Just take last year : do you really believe the 49ers were inferior to the Ravens ? I  don't. And  some years, the two best  teams actually meet the conference finals.NOT the Superbowl...  so..

Yet, each and every year, everyone's behave like the  Superbowl winner is the Team of Destiny  and the looser.... well  are, just that, "Loosers" at if their was any shame in it. 

 It's black and white thinking and, as such, bears very little relation to reality..

So , by all means, if the only thing you care about  is to pick the Superbowl winner for the bragging right (and maybe a little betting money on the side), be my guest !  I am not very interested.

 Because, again,  I like watching good football, and the Superbowl is but one game, and it almost never the best game of the year.

And I definitvely don't give a damn about who should or should't have been the winner  5 years ago 10 years  ago, based on speculation hypothesis and  other "whatifses".  

THAT is the height of time wasting.

pval
pval

@bobbie johnson @pval @billthompsonbaby  

...which tells how hard it is (or how lucky you need to be) to win it all.

 Not only do you need to have a great team, but you also need to peak at the right time and no small amount of plain luck in not having a key player injured for or during the playoffs. 

 Many great teams were thwarted by injuries while playing the best football of the league. 

Remember the Chargers when they played like no one could beat them ? All it took was Tomlinson injury, and, there you go , no Superbowl. 

So you can't really set the bar of success at :"unless you win the Superbowl you are a looser", that is quite unrealistic.

To me the sign of a great franchise is the ability  to be a true contender, year after year,  after year.  And all this, in spite of the draft system which  is skewed against the successful team ( a good thing of course).  

So yes over the last decade the Patriots have been a great franchise. Fortunately, they are by no mean the only one , (eg the Steelers, the Ravens, the Packers) otherwise the NFL would be quite boring.