Let me just get one thing straight and out of the way: That loss hurt. It hurt so much. I felt like someone stuck a dagger in my heart. My soul left my body for about 30 seconds after it ended. I wanted to cry, but I couldn't. I couldn't believe that they couldn't finish the miraculous comeback. You know what, though? About 30 minutes afterwards, I wasn't really upset anymore. Disappointed, very much so, but I wasn't really despondent or upset. Why? Because there are some real positive things to take away from that game, and it's not like it was a blowout loss or anything. We were right with the goddamn New England Patriots the whole game in their house. No, i'm not saying this is a moral victory or anything like that, because it's still a loss at the end of a day, but it's not all doom and gloom right now.
Let's start off with a point of controversy: Mark Sanchez. For my two cents, I was pleased with how he played. Not super thrilled or anything, but I thought he played well. He stuck in some really great throws down the seam getting some passes to Jeremy Kerley and Dustin Keller through double coverage and hitting them in stride. That touchdown was sick. That interception was just flat out stupid though. A real facepalm moment. That last fumble was also really disappointing. The hater or the pessimist will say that he played horrible because of a couple plays like that, but if you look at the bigger picture, he was a big part of a 16-point fourth quarter surge, which included a 90+ yard touchdown drive and a 40+ pass, 8 y/a, 69% performance. If you put that together with the odds, the stadium and whatnot, I'm far from angry with him. You could justify the other side of the argument, but I don't see it that way. I thought he had a pretty good day, which he could hopefully build on (he'll have to).
Now let's look at some offensive players that stood out. Jeremy Kerley, Dustin Keller, and Joe Mcknight. Kerley is just flat out awesome. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see him break 1000 yards this year. He's turning into a really reliable and pretty dangerous slot receiver that teams actually need to account for in some volume now. He's like a lite version of Wes Welker. Say what you will about the receivers, but Kerley has really come through. Dustin Keller seems to be back too. He probably breaks 100 yards if mark places the ball better on that play where he was wide open. He's reminded people that he's a very good receiving tight end that can gash a defense over the middle, which is exactly what he did yesterday. I think the offense will really get a big boost from having him back. Joe Mcknight needs more touches. Like, now. You can tell how much more speed he has than our other backs the instant he touches the ball. He's so much quicker to the hole, and what really sticks out is how he was finishing those runs and getting a few yards after contact. And this was a week after a HIGH ANKLE SPRAIN. GIVE THIS MAN THE BALL! Either way, I feel like we may actually have something going here on offense.
On defense, we got our first real look at Demario Davis. I'm gonna make a somewhat bold prediction and say that he's going to be a very good linebacker for a long time with us. He made some rookie mistakes and missed a few tackles, but you know what? Going against the New England Patriots offense in your first big game as a rookie linebacker is a really daunting task. And he held his own out there, bringing in 7 tackles. I'm really excited for the guy. Let's also notice that we actually held Tom Brady to fewer passing yards than Mark Sanchez even WITHOUT Darelle Revis. I repeat, WITHOUT Darelle Revis. My point here is that this secondary has more depth and talent than people give it credit for, and Aaron Berry hasn't even gotten into the game yet, and he's another quality corner. Let's also give some props to Rex there for putting together a gameplan that kept us in it for most of the game, because on paper, a lot of people would have predicted this to be a blowout given some of the matchups. I'd also like to note that even though Wilkshakes went without a sack, I can recall several times where he was in the backfield flushing Brady out of the pocket, and he also held up real nicely against the run.
Now, what does this mean going forward? My general point is that this team may actually have something. There were definitely good things to take away from yesterday that can be built upon. This team isn't done yet. We may be below .500, but there are really only 2 really difficult games left on the schedule (Seahawks, Patriots), and there are some things that finally seem to be coming together right about now. If this was a blowout loss or something, then maybe I wouldn't be so optimistic. Or if we lose next week you can talk to me about how screwed we are. As things stand now however, i'm not terribly concerned.