What was billed as the “Game of the Year” ended up being one of the blowouts of the year. The New England Patriots completely dominated the New York Jets in every phase of the game, trouncing them 45-3. Offensively, they manhandled the vaunted Jet defense while the Patriot defense swarmed to the football, confused Mark Sanchez, and forced three turnovers. On special teams, the Jets couldn’t get any big plays and missed an early field goal. QB Tom Brady, who had struggled against the Rex Ryan defense during the first three meetings was practically perfect, throwing for 326 yards, 4 touchdowns and no picks. Danny Woodhead, playing against his former team, had his first 100-yard receiving game, snagging 4 passes for 104 yards. The Patriots proved, yet again, that they are the class of the AFC East and possibly the NFL.
Tom Brady put on a clinic against the Jet defense, spreading them out with multiple receiver and tight end sets and carving them up. Despite Brady’s prowess, the Patriots were able to maintain some balance, running the ball 26 times for 101 yards. BenJarvus Green-Ellis got the bulk of the carries (18) and yardage (72) and powered his way to 2 touchdowns. As the night wore on, the Jets’ defense began to loosen up, allowing the Law Firm to get bigger chunks of yardage, including a 13-yard touchdown run that extended the Pats’ lead to 42 points.
The defense was able to get some early stops that helped the offense put up an insurmountable lead. The biggest play of the game, perhaps the one that took all the wind out of New York’s sails, was Brandon Spike’s INT of Sanchez at around the 5-yard line, stopping the driving Jets on their opening drive of the second half. After the Patriots turned that turnover into a score, it seemed over for the Jets at that point. Sanchez would throw two more picks (to James Sanders and Devin McCourty) and get stopped on downs. One thing the defense did struggle with is stopping the run, as they gave up 152 yards on the ground. However, the Pats’ offense helped take the Jets out of their effective ground game and try to rely on Mark Sanchez to get them back in the game. Sanchez finished the night 17/33 for 164 yards, no touchdowns and 3 interceptions.
The victory moves the Patriots to 10-2, tied with the Atlanta Falcons for the best record in the NFL. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have combined for 107 wins, good for second all-time, tied with Chuck Knoll and Terry Bradshaw for most wins by a QB-Coach combination. Brady broke Brett Favre’s record for most consecutive home regular-season wins with his 26th straight at Gillette Stadium. As Kyle mentioned earlier in the week, Tom Brady has to be the front runner for the league MVP this year. The schedule doesn’t get any easier moving forward, but the Patriots and their fans can certainly enjoy this one for a little while.