Jets fall to Patriots, 30-21: Post-game Breakdown

It’s hard to figure out what kind of loss is more frustrating – the kind last week against Baltimore, or the kind this week, 30-21, against New England. Last week it was over almost from the start, this week they were just one possession away but came up short.

While the bandwagon that’s trailed the Jets the last two years is on fire, the Jets fans that have been around awhile are a little less panicked.

The Jets are 2-3, and third in the AFC East, 2 games out, but this is only their first division loss. While the loss this week was gut-wrenching for many reasons, this was a “good loss” is a lot of ways. The Jets can build off this.

The offense didn’t put up anywhere near the number of points offenses usually do against the weak New England defense, but they did put up 21 points after scoring only 3 last week. The offensive line, with offensive MVP Nick Mangold back starting at center, looked far less amateur. There was a funny moment where left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson was sitting on the ground. Phil Simms, calling the game for CBS, said something along the lines of "The Jets coaches are looking at Ferguson sitting on the ground and saying, 'Oh no! The offensive line!'" But Ferguson's shoe was merely stuck in the facemask of a Patriot defender.

The offensive line looked much better this game, and quarterback Mark Sanchez didn’t go down often, only being hit five times. He didn’t turn the ball over once. Sure, the Patriots defense isn’t so good, but considering the swing from last week to this week, the Jets offense has hugely improved.

That said, the offense was abysmally bad on third down, converting on only 3-of-11 third down opportunities, and the New England defense that had only forced six 3-and-outs all four previous games forced seven 3-and-outs against the Jets. Poor execution did the Jets in this week more than anything.

[caption id="attachment_211" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Shonn Greene (23) escapes from James Ihedigbo. Greene's game was a bright spot in the loss. Photo by Tim Farrell, the Star-Ledger"][/caption]

Running back Shonn Greene looked a lot better this game. He had 83 yards on 21 carries, averaging 4.0 yards per carry. Still, the running game needs a lot of work. They’re going to have to come up with more running plays than “Greene up the middle” if they want to get back to the ground game - which they do. After last week, the Jets wanted to get back to the ground-and-pound, but they only rushed for 97 total yards.

Sanchez was 16 for 26 and 166 yards with two touchdowns against the worst passing defense in the league. Some of his throws were on target but were dropped, but the offense didn’t perform as well as they should have against a weaker defense. On the other hand, the better protection for Sanchez, with no turnovers and a couple of touchdowns are a good sign.

Unfortunately for the Jets, their habitual slow starts are beginning to come back to bite them. They Jets didn’t get a first down until 10 minutes were left in the second quarter. And with the game on the line, their pace in the 4th quarter was inexcusably slow.

[caption id="attachment_210" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="BenJarvus Green-Ellis (42) runs past David Harris. Green-Ellis ran all over the Jets, especially in the fourth quarter. Photo by Stephan Savoia, the AP."][/caption]

The defense let up 31 points because the run defense isn’t as good as it once was. It’s hard to figure out though – if everyone else knew the Patriots were going to hand the ball to running back BenJarvus Ellis-Green, how come the Jets defense didn’t seem to know it until there was 1:06 left in the 4th and they finally stopped the guy? By then it was too late. The defense got to quarterback Tom Brady this game, but couldn’t stop the Patriots offense late in the game when the Jets pulled to within one score in the 4th quarter. The Patriots ran six minutes off the clock and iced the game with a field goal.

One of the storylines of the game was Darrelle Revis covering Wes Welker. Revis had a pretty good game covering Welker, who has been burning opponents all season. In addition to limiting Welker’s production, Revis chased him down on the 73 yard play early in the second half after Eric Smith allowed Welker to slip by in the zone defense. Without that one play, Revis limited Welker to one short pass. Revis covered Welker on 42 of the Patriots 72 offensive snaps, and Welker was held scoreless.

Jamaal Westerman also had an impressive game, stepping up for the injured Bryan Thomas, who the Jets had to place on the IR with a torn achilles tendon. Westerman had two sacks, leading the team.

But the defense also kept getting called for penalties, a bunch of which gave the Patriots a bunch of extra chances. You can’t keep giving Tom Brady extra chances, everyone knows that. Some of the calls were borderline calls, but that’s no excuse to keep giving Brady & Co. the ball back.

There were some great moments in this game where the Jets looked like the team we’ve all gotten used to since 2009 – Joe McKnight had another long runback, setting up a TD, with excellent special teams most of the game. The special teams has consistently been the best part of the Jets’ game this season, and that continues here. Joe McKnight has come into his own.

The Jets fell short in this game, but this game wasn’t anywhere near as disastrously bad as it could have been, considering how last week turned out. There was some bad in this game, but there was enough good that it doesn’t seem totally hopeless. The Jets have lost three games in a row under Rex Ryan before, twice actually, in 2009. They still made the playoffs.

Another game like last week’s game would have proven the season a lost cause, but this week’s game, while still a loss, was a much better one. Things have to come together quickly, but it’s not hopeless. The Jets face the Patriots again, the Dolphins twice, and the Bills twice. No, it’s not over yet.

What do you think, Jets fans? Sound off in the comments!


Breaking: Various media outlets are reporting that the Jets have traded Derrick Mason to the Houston Texans for a seventh round draft pick. Mason's playing time had been cut Sunday. The Jets supposedly benched him for his performance, not for his comments after last Sunday's game. This move makes room for rookie Jeremy Kerley, who has shown flashes of brilliance, to get more playing time.

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