The Jets fell to 9-3 in crushing fashion, suffering an absolutely humiliating 45-3 defeat to the Patriots tonight in Foxborough. It was every bit as lopsided as the score would indicate. Part of me feels like I should just cut the recap here. I would be putting as much effort into this as the Jets put into tonight's game. However, we need to talk about what went wrong before we move on.
More after the jump.
Defensive Game Plan: The way the Jets approached this game defensively gave them no shot from the outset. The Jets started this game with the exact same approach they took in last season's game in Foxborough. There was a four man front with the same four men consistently rushing. That only works if a team has a guy like Terrell Suggs capable of consistently beating men and getting to the quarterback. Tom Brady had all day to throw early. The Jets don't have a player capable of winning one on ones and getting consistent heat. They needed to attack, vary their looks, confuse the blocking, and make Tom Brady feel uncomfortable. They did not do this until it was too late. Would it have definitely worked? There are no guarantees. Mixing things up didn't work after the game got out of hand, but it was the only chance the Jets had. The coaching staff took it off the table. Best example? 10-0 Patriots, 1:54 left, first quarter, 3rd and 22, New York 44. The Jets rush three. Brady has all day. He finds Deion Branch for 19. It puts New England in a position to go for it on fourth down. They do and score a touchdown. The coaching staff should be embarrassed to come out with such a terrible plan with 11 days to prepare.
Mark Sanchez: He was horrible. He was missing a ton of guys early when he had a clean pocket. In the second half, he was throwing it up for grabs like he didn't care. The Jets had a ton of advantages in the passing game. Sanchez finished 17 for 33 for 164 yards against what was the worst pass defense in the league.
Antonio Cromartie: Burned consistently by Deion Branch. Burned for a pair of touchdowns in the first half. Brady left some throws on the field when Branch was open. Cromartie simply did not do the job.
Braylon Edwards: Couldn't come up with a pair of balls in the first half that killed drives. Neither was a gimme, but a guy seeking a big contract needs to come down with both.
Nick Folk: I can understand missing a 53 yard kick on a night like tonight. I cannot live with him missing the kick that badly. You can finally sign me up on the "we could use a new kicker" bandwagon, even after he made the second kick.
Shaun Ellis: He was getting wiped out by New England's blocking.
Brodney Pool: Didn't play well when he dropped into the slot, and missed a few tackles.
LaDainian Tomlinson: The numbers looked good, but I thought his most significant play was not beating Jermaine Cunningham one on one after a second quarter red zone reception. He has to finish off the rookie there. He probably would have scored a touchdown that could have changed momentum.
Steve Weatherford: It was easily the punter's worst night of the year. His average was 26 yards. That includes a 12 yard punt.
Brad Smith: Wasn't dangerous on his many kick return opportunities (20 yard average), ran for 2 yards and was short of the first down on his only carry, and got flagged on a penalty to wipe out a big Santonio Holmes punt return.
Game Management: It was nonsensical to send out a struggling kicker for a 53 yard try early on a brutal night. It destroyed his confidence. How about throwing on 3rd and 2 and then punting the ball? There were many puzzling decisions out there.
Dustin Keller: A matchup nightmare, he was invisible out there.
Effort: In the fourth quarter, one team was fighting for every extra yard. The other team was quitting on plays and blowing assignments. It was disgusting.
Blown Assignments: Somebody is supposed to cover a running back on a pass pattern, right?
Robert Turner: Yeah, talk trash to Tom Brady while he's wiping the floor with your team. That'll do a lot of good. Why not take another stupid personal foul while you're at it? Can the team please cut this guy?
Santonio Holmes: Holmes was one of the few Jets who came to play. He finished with 7 catches for 72 yards. He made some really tough catches and fought hard for extra yardage after his grabs. He also had a nifty punt return wiped out by Smith's penalty.
Shonn Greene: 13 carries for 64 yards. He looked dangerous with the ball in his hands. He was beating guys to the corner and pounded people for extra yardage. I thought the Jets went away from him entirely too early. They were down a few touchdowns in the first half, but there was plenty of time to establish the run with Shonn.
Joe McKnight: You might have turned the game off, but Joe got some garbage time work and looked pretty good. He had an 18 yard punt return and 3 carries for 19 yards, gaining the corner on outside runs. It might be time to start getting the ball into his hands.
- No complaints here about the use of challenges by Rex Ryan. It looked to me like Mark Sanchez got the first down on the second effort on his sneak. I think the officials ruled that his knee hit the ground, but I think they blew the call. The touchdown would have stood. Part of the receiver's forearm came down inbounds.
- First thing I don't want to hear: "The Jets really missed Jim Leohnard tonight." One player did not make the difference tonight. I have a tough time believing Leonhard even makes the play when Eric Smith got flagged. It probably would have gone for a touchdown because Leonhard is too small to win a jump ball in that spot.
- Second thing I don't want to hear: "Same old Jets." What does that even mean? It's an empty cliche. I hear it when the team is 4-12. I hear it when the team is 9-3. What wouldn't constitute same old Jets? Does it mean the team has to go undefeated to not be the same old Jets? It's a crutch people use at the first sign of trouble.
That obviously stunk. Let's not go crazy, though. Almost every team has at least one game a year where absolutely nothing goes right. Unfortunately for the Jets, that came in front of the nation. It happened for the Pats under the radar against the Browns. Chins up. No matter the score, these teams split this year. The Jets still have a shot at the division and are in excellent shape to make the Playoffs and potentially get another shot up in New England. We go on.