It’s almost midnight here where I’m at and I just finished watching the New York Jets and the New England Patriots Thursday night battle. I’m in my hotel on the road and I can’t even begin to think of how to write this game’s recap. I guess down right shameful comes to mind after watching the Patriots lose a close one 34-31 to the Jets. Talk about total domination on the part of New York in the first half. Then the resurrection of the Patriots in the second half. New England had their chances to win this game after the Jets came out lifeless on offense to start the third quarter. With a lead of 24-13 at the half, the Jets had everything going for them offensively. Now if you look at the stats in the first half you’d think New England was ahead, but that wasn’t the case. The Jets offense came out firing from the get go. And capitalizing on a few Patriots mistakes earned them the win as they held on and won on a Jay Feely 34 yard field goal almost midway through the overtime period.
The Patriots just could not stop a fly or a Jet in the first half. The Jets led by two Brett Favre touchdown throws to Leon Washington and Jerricho Cotchery. Toss in a Washington 92 yard kickoff return and they quickly jumped out to a commanding leading. The Patriots did score late in the first half on a Matt Cassel to Jabar Gaffney 19 yard pass with only seconds remaining to make it 24-13. The Pats defense spent a lot of time on the field in the first half and they had to be so worn down mentally and physically by it. The Jets had plenty of opportunity to break the game open and they converted on all of them in the first half. Their defense held the Patriots to only field goals every time the Pats drove down the field and looked like they’d punch it in for seven. Yet again the inefficiency of the Patriots in the red zone comes back to hunt them. That and the Cassel sack on 4th and 3 on the Jets 23 yard line didn’t help the Patriots cause.
All season long the Patriots have had struggles in the red zone. And tonight was no different as the Patriots had to settle for two Stephen Gostkowski field goals after entering the red zone. At the time late in the second quarter with the Patriots down 24-6 it’s 4th and 3 at the Jets 23, and they decide to go for it. Of course they were stopped and walked away with zero points from that drive. Do you go for it or play it safe and kick the field goal? My opinion you kick it but hey that’s why I only report on it and don’t make those calls. If you kick it it’s 24-9 at that time and the game possibly doesn’t go into overtime. If the Patriots had gotten those three points that would of meant the Randy Moss 16 yard touchdown reception with one second left in regulation would of given the Patriots the win. But then again who knows how the game would of been played had the Pats kicked that earlier field goal.
Now it wasn’t just the inability of the Patriots to score in the red zone, it was a combination of things throughout the game. Poor defensive play in the first half that allowed the Jets to open up the size able lead they had. Poor throwing early on by Cassel and a huge turnover as the Patriots were driving the ball down field on the part of Ben Watson all factored into the loss. Yes Cassel threw for 400 yards and three TD’s, but early on missing open receivers hurts more. Also Watson’s fumble after a nice 12 yard gain down to the Jets 22 yard line in the third was another way the Pats shot themselves in the foot tonight.
Now after a Thomas Jones 1 yard touchdown run late in the fourth that put the Jets ahead 31-24 you saw a Tom Brady like drive from Cassel. With only 64 ticks left in the game Cassel but on a truly remarkable display as he completed passes to Watson ans also Wes Welker that quickly moved New England down the field. All while doing so without any timeouts and only stopping the clock by spiking the ball. He set up one of the year’s best plays, as with eight seconds left and facing a fourth and one he scrambled from the pocket away from the Jets pressure and threw a perfect pass to Moss in the end zone for the tying score. And yes replay was called upon to make sure moss had both feet in and the play was upheld. After watching that drive and a few replays of the throw and catch I just had a strange aerie feeling that I was watching Brady on that drive. I mean Cassel did everything he possibly could to win the game for the Patriots in the second half.
But unfortunately we all know that in overtime the visiting team gets to call the coin toss and as luck would have it for the Jets the guessed correctly. Hey it’s a 50-50 chance even someone from New york can get lucky at times. As Farve led the Jets down the field for the winning kick by Feely. At the time of the Patriots scoring that last second touchdown, part of me wanted so badly to see them go for two and the win. Because unlike college football you never are guaranteed a shot at scoring. And Favre made sure the Patriots didn’t get that chance either as he completed key third downs over the course of that final drive. Rookie tight end Dustin Keller came up huge as he caught three key passes on the final drive. Two of them coming on third down and with the Patriots looking like they had stopped the Jets.
So for now the Jets sit alone atop of the AFC East, by the end of the weekend we’ll see if they have some company up there. As the Miami Dolphins should get past the Oakland Raiders. And on Monday night the Buffalo Bills face off with the Cleveland Browns. Hopefully the Browns can help us out and win against the Bills. As for the Dolphins come on it’s Oakland were talking about, no way they lose. Hey maybe I just jinxed them that would always be a nice thing for the Patriots. With New England now 2-2 within the division that makes the two remaining games with Miami next week and the Bills at the end of the season that much more important for New England. Those two games just might decide who from the AFC East wins the division and goes into the playoffs. Well that’s all for now about this week’s game. Stay tuned for more over the next week as I’ll have the Player Of The Game voting up on Monday. And also the Patriots Fantasy Recaps from weeks 10 and 11 up over the weekend. Plus I’ll talk more about this game later in that time frame also. So be safe, don’t worry the Patriots still can make the playoffs even with this loss. And enjoy the rest of the games coming up this weekend.
Topics: Ben Watson, Brett Favre, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Dustin Keller, Jabar Gaffney, Jay Feely, Jerricho Cotchery, Leon Washington, Matt Cassel, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Randy Moss, Stephen Gostkowski, Thomas Jones, Tom Brady, Wes Welker