The Patriots opened in their typical matchup against the Jets alignment with Tom Brady in the shotgun, Stevan Ridley, and two wide and two tight end (if you count fullback James Develin as a tight end) in the early going. Jets defender Calvin Pace got in and hit quarterback Tom Brady on the second play of the game, but Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie got called for pass interference. Brady hit Edelman twice underneath, and had Edelman deep against Cromartie wide open and overthrew him.
Stevan Ridley was back where he belonged in the backfield in the backfield and was running very hard against the Jets. The Patriots hurry up got wide receiver Aaron Dobson coming off the edge on play action and all eleven Jets defenders were moving to the line of scrimmage and no one covering Dobson down the sideline. An easy pass for an easy six made possible by the hurry up offense and Stevan Ridley’s strong running early setting up the Jets defense to get beat. Just like that, it was an early Patriots lead and rookie wide receiver Aaron Dobson celebrating a 39 yard touchdown pass for his first NFL reception.
The Patriots hurry up got wide receiver Aaron Dobson coming off the edge on play action and all eleven Jets defenders were moving to the line of scrimmage and no one covering Dobson down the sideline. An easy pass for an easy six made possible by the hurry up offense and Stevan Ridley’s strong running early setting up the Jets defense to get beat. Just like that, it was an early Patriots lead and rookie wide receiver Aaron Dobson celebrating a 39 yard touchdown pass for his first NFL reception.
Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith came out throwing and took a page out of the Mark Sanchez playbook by missing his wide receiver Stephen Hill on first down on a slant. The Jets had Bilal Powell running hard behind Nick Mangold at center, who was injured last week and gives the New York offensive line a big boost by playing hurt and taking on Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork. Jets quarterback Geno Smith had Bilal Powell matched up on Dont’a Hightower but overthrew him on third and five.
The Jets punted, and on first down Tom Brady threw it away with no one open. With Marcus Cannon in for Dan Connolly at guard, the Patriots added LeGarrette Blount to the backfield who mustered only three yards on second down. A short pass to Edelman (catch number three) was short of the first down marker and the Patriots offense was stopped. The Jets made some nice adjustments as they dropped off into coverage on first down, stopped the run on second, and brought pressure and forced a short pass on third down and forced punter Ryan Allen onto the field.
Devin McCourty recovered a fumble by Jets wide receiver Stephen Hill after he beat cornerback Aqib Talib over the middle for a big gain. McCourty picked it up and rumbled to the nine yard line. Stevan Ridley made another strong run on second down for five yards after the Jets dropped everyone back again into coverage on first down and had five defenders within five yards of wide receiver Julian Edelman when Brady threw incomplete. With another strong stop with the Patriots starting at first and goal, the Jets defense forced New England into a field goal to make it ten to nothing.
The Patriots need to figure out how to adjust to the Jets defense. Maybe running on first down from the spread offense is needed. The predictable runs on second down aren’t cutting it and the Jets are backpedaling away from the line on first down.
With nine minutes to go in the first quarter, the Jets had Bilal Powell still at running back, and the two-back, Geno Smith option got blown up by the Patriots defense. Dont’a Hightower blew up the pitch and Rob Ninkovich stuffed the run by Smith. On third down, Geno Smith got levelled and a roughing the passer by Chandler Jones gave the Jets a huge first down on top of the big completion to Santonio Holmes. Credit to Geno Smith for hanging in the pocket and taking a big hit.
Chris Ivory came in at running back and rumbled ten yards on first down and followed with four more yards and banged up Steve Gregory who came off the field after tackling him. Ivory is clearly the superior back compared to Bilal Powell, and the Jets are insane not to give Ivory twenty carries every game forward. On third and one, the Jets went big and Ivory rumbled to the eleven yard line. With the drive at five minutes and counting giving their defense a much needed break, the Jets spread out with five receivers and an empty backfield on second down and threw incomplete. On third and seven at the eight, the Jets went empty again, and Smith threw for what was called a touchdown. Obviously, it went to review as it looked initially like the ball popped out of Clyde Gates’ hands, which the referees concurred with and forced a field goal attempt.
It was a very impressive drive by Jets quarterback Geno Smith, but it seemed odd that Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg went to the spread and stopped running the ball inside the ten yard line. A fullback dive on first down seemed like a throwaway play, and then taking ball out of Chris Ivory’s hands when he got a big chunk of hard yards on the drive seemed to play into the Patriots hands. The Jets had to settle for a field goal, and with hold pushing it back ten yards, Nick Folk banged the kick through for a field goal and a ten to three Patriots lead.
With less four minutes to go in the first quarter, the Patriots took over and a run by Stevan Ridley for seven yards and an end-around for a first down by Julian Edelman gave the Patriots a quick first down. After a miscommunication by Edelman and Brady on first down led to the “Brady Staredown”, the Patriots made a quick pass to Kenbrell Thompkins to get nine yards. On third down, the Jets stuffed Stevan Ridley for the first time as he tried to go wide left and forced another punt.
With less than two minutes to go in the first quarter, quarterback Geno Smith threw to tight end Kellen Winslow for three yards and then Chris Ivory again ran hard (how did New Orleans let him go?) to get the Jets to third and two. The quarter ended with wide receiver Stephen Hill catching a short pass and not being able to stretch for the first down and ending with the Jets challenging the spot on the play.
One solid drive by New England to start the game and a big turnover by the Jets were the keys of the first quarter for the Patriots. Getting Chris Ivory in the game and giving him the ball was the key for the Jets along with a strong completion plus penalty switching field position for the Jets and getting them in position to score. It was ten to three after one quarter, and well on its way to being the tough matchup most predicted for this Thursday night primetime matchup.