This one hurt maybe as bad as any regular season loss has ever hurt. Down 10 entering the fourth quarter, I thought this is the Jets there is no chance they make a come back, ESPECIALLY in New England. Well, in pure Same Old Jets fashion they climbed and scratched their way back into the game, took the lead with 1:30 to play and still found a way to lose.
This game really tested my sanity the entire day. It could not have started better for the Jets as they were able to drive 76 yards early in the first quarter and take a 7-0 lead. Everything clicked for the offense on this drive, Sanchez was hitting his spots and they were able to pound the ball straight up in the middle on the Patriots defense. This giddy feeling could not have been taken away from us more quickly. In something I have not seen happen in years to this team, when Devin Mccourty took the ensuing kickoff for a TD to tie the game at 7.
From here the Patriots got the ball back and proceeded to drive straight down the field and make it 14-7. On the next offensive drive for New York, Matt Slauson decided he was not going to come off the line and attempt to block Vince Wilfork. This resulted in a misstep from Sanchez and Greene on the handoff which turned into a safety for New England. At the time, this felt like a back breaker but the defense stepped up in a big way for the remainder of the half. Mark Sanchez made one of his only bad throws of the day late in the second quarter. Stephen Hill got open on a pump fake by Sanchez, and Mark just inexplicably under threw him. It was intercepted by New England and most likely prompted many “Tebow supporters” to start stirring things up. The defense continued to play well and Nick Folk was able to drill a 54 yard field goal as time expired in the first half.
The first drive of the second half is when another crucial Jets mistake took place. The offense came out sharp getting the ball down to the 3 yard line for a 3 and 1. The Jets had run the ball straight up the middle on the previous 2 plays for 9 yards. So, it is 3 and 1 with a chance to get a short goal line opportunity so you have to run the football right? Tony Sparano disagreed, having Sanchez come out in shotgun and throw a slant to Chaz Schilens. The drive ended up resulting in a field goal. I could understand throwing the ball under one condition. Play action roll out looking for Dustin Keller. Tony Sparano is to blame for having absolutely no feel for the game, but where is Rex here? Rex should be in Sparano’s ear there either saying run the football or play action to Keller which has been bread and butter at the goal line for 3 years now. But nope, I guess Rex was too busy figuring out how his great defense would once again blow a late 4th quarter lead.
On the next New England offensive drive the Jets defense looked gassed from keeping the team in the game in the first half. New England was able to take a 23-13 lead which seemed insurmountable at this point for the Jets offense. But, Sanchez had different plans. On the Jets 14 play 92 yard drive Sanchez was 9/10 for 90 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown pass to Keller was an absolute bullet where he thread the needle beautifully. This made the game 23-20 with just under 6 minutes to play. The Jets were in need of a quick 3 and out from their defense, and the defense delivered.
The Next offensive drive involved the mistake that may have cost the Jets the game. After Shonn Greene had to leave the game because of a head injury, Joe McKnight was able to come in and make some big plays with is legs. The Jets were able to get to the 27 yard line just before the 2 minute warning and were facing a 3rd and 3. Sanchez hit Stephen Hill in the chest at about the 13 and he dropped the football. Not only would it have given the Jets who were moving the ball at will a first down but, also the ability to kill more clock. If Hill catches that ball the Jets maybe win the game with a TD. Folk did tie the game at 23.
The next kickoff was the Mccourty fumble that looked as though the Jets were going to win this game in remarkable fashion. Again Tony Sparano had the whole world scratching their head. On 1st and 10 for the 18 with 2:01 left on the clock Sparano removed the red hot Sanchez in favor of a run for Tim Tebow. If there is ever a time to throw the football in this situation it is when the clock stops on the next play no matter what! Instead Tebow ran for a whopping 3 yards. On third down the Jets attempted a play action when Sanchez was sacked. On this play, Kerley was going to be open and slipped on the 5 yard line as Mark was going to throw it. The rest of the game was almost predictable. The Jets did not kick the Patriots when they were down and you cannot give a team like them life. Brady easily led the team for 2 field goals one at the end of the 4th and one of the win in OT.
This was the most painful Jets loss since the AFC championship in 2010. It really looked as though they were going to make a great comeback but they just could not close it out. Sanchez was unbelievable and anyone saying that he played a bad game should be looking for a new job. If the Jets had won the game like Sanchez put them in a position to do the headlines would have been how he outplayed Brady. But, because Rex’s defense could not come up with a stop Sanchez is the goat, totally absurd.
I blame a lot of this horrifying loss on the coaching staff. When will Rex Ryan learn that a 3 man rush at the end of the game is ineffective. For the ninth time in the Ryan era the defense allowed a score on the final drive of regulation to either force ot or lose the game. That is absolutely terrible. And on the offensive side of the ball, Sparano had a brutally bad game especially on the 2 play calls I talked about earlier.