A win is a win.
We throw that phrase around a lot in NFL-land, but that game was the exact definition of ‘a win is a win’, as the New England Patriots came back late to edge out the Jets in what was an extremely ugly contest. The two defenses dominated this one, as there was only a combined 33 points, and 538 yards total yards. Tom Brady was under pressure early and often, and the Jets’ vaunted running attack never really got took off.
Coming into today, we knew this game was going to be a tough one, I just don’t think we expected it to be this tough. But let’s give a lot of credit to Rex Ryan for rallying his troops, and putting together a defensive game-plan that completely shut down New England’s offense. Tom Brady was sacked four times in the first half, and their longest offensive play was Brandon Bolden‘s final 17-yard run to seal the deal.
Losing Julian Edelman hurt, and Dan Connolly sitting out certainly contributed to Brady hitting the ground so often, but Danny Amendola showed up to play, and his energy was the single biggest reason the Patriots’ offense made enough plays to eek out a victory.
Amendola caught eight balls for 63 yards, and his huge 39-yard punt return in the first half was what allowed Brady to hit Rob Gronkowski for the Pats’ first score of the game. Major props to Amendola for playing his heart out in this one, and almost single-handidly preserving New England’s chances at retaining the top seed throughout the playoffs.
Defensively, there were a few moments where the Patriots were making Geno Smith look like Joe Montana, but they stepped it up late, and held the Jets to two field goal attempts, which was what ultimately led them to the win. After getting gashed by the running game the last time these two teams met, they held the Jets to 3.7 yard per carry, which is a testament to the big boys in the middle. Vince Wilfork, Alan Branch, Sealver Siliga, Dont’a Hightower, and Jamie Collins were all excellent in the run game, as this unit continues to get better as the playoffs approach.
Wilfork also came up with the Pats’ fourth field goal block of the season late in the fourth quarter, as he got one of his big paws on Nick Folk‘s 52-yard field goal miss.
Special teams and defense won this one, and as ugly as it got on the offensive end, these are the types of games that get you ready for the postseason, and I think the Patriots are still in prime position to make a run at the Super Bowl.