Losers of two straight heading into Sunday night’s game against the Jets, the Patriots could not afford to lose three in a row for the first time since 2002 and fall out of first place on the AFC East. With the depilated secondary, which got even worse as the game went on, the leader of the team Tom Brady once again put his team on his back and carried them to a 37-16 win.
Brady just seems to turn it up a notch and becomes that much more focused in meaningful games. Although at first glance it would seem that the Patriots were pass-heavy, the stats say otherwise. Brady threw the ball 39 times, as to 28 runs. Not a perfect 50-50 balance that Belichick would like to see, but the Patriots ran the ball just enough to keep the Jets safeties honest and help Brady out.
Although Brady struggled a bit in the first half, he quickly got it together for the second half. Brady finished 26 of 39 for 329 yards and three touchdowns. He had an impressive 118.4 quarterback rating, but most importantly Brady didn’t turn the ball over. When Brady doesn’t turn the ball over, that is when the Patriots are at their best.
With Darrelle Revis on Wes Welker, Welker was only limited to six catches for 46 yards. Usually Welker is Brady’s favorite target, but Brady was forced to go elsewhere. Tight end Rob Gronkowski picked up the slack catching eight passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns. He was targeted a team-high 11 times.
Brady did a good job of keeping the Jets defense off balance by mixing in a no huddle offense, which kept the Jets defense for substituting. The fast paced tempo forced the Jets to become unorganized on defense, and Brady took advantage with quick snaps leading to completions to wide open receivers. The most notable was to Chad Ochocinco who found his way behind the Jets defense on a miscommunication for a 53-yard completion and his biggest of the season.
Once again in a big game Brady was at his best, and with the way the Patriots defense is looking he will need to be at best the rest of the way.