FanPost

How We Really Lost the Game




In a certain way we can say that everything before this was a wash. Sanchez had some pretty poor 1st half play with high tipped throws that were just begging to be picked off, an embarrassing interception that should have been 7, but he also had a great, decisive mega drive for a TD that put us right where we wanted to be.

And then the gift happened. McCourty took 7, but then he gave back. Instead of looking at 2 minutes with Brady ready to drive to try and win the game, we had the ball on the Pat 18 - lst and 10 - and we were poised to take the lead. Let's leave OT to itself. Here is where the game was won and lost. All we had to do was burn some time, get a first down, and get some kind of score and the game was likely over. We were 18 yards or less from taking over the division.

Lets look at what happened.

On Offense

What is evident from the start of this series is that there was a coaching decision to just power run it straight up the middle. The idea seemed to be that the most important thing was getting NE to burn as many of their 3 time outs as possible. Never mind that a possible game clinching TD is waiting there for us, or that a first down would put even more time pressure on NE. The basic idea was to get a FG and turn the ball over to our Defense. I mean, the Defense had been great all game, right? Let's not get greedy. Let's not make a mistake.

1st Down and 10 at the 18 (2:01)

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The play call is a Tebow run, not a bad idea as there has been success. But look at what happens. Tebow takes the inside run where there is absolutely nothing instead of breaking to the hole where Chandler has been sealed at the edge. There is a crease there that could have produced perhaps a hard 4 or 5 yard run. There is a chance that Wilfork would be able to disengage and make the tackle, but that is where the hole is. In the screen shot you can see that Tebow is already cutting inside. It would seem (from the next play) that the play directive is just to run inside no matter what.It is actually amazing that Tebow got 2 yards out of this.

2nd and 8 at the 16 yard line (1:56)

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Reuland can't sustain his block on Hightower at all (you can see him falling down after being shed by Hightower in yellow). McKnight (in red) chooses to dive inside where he will be immediately slammed by Hightower (who is 270 lbs) instead of trying to beat him to the outside where there is lots of green. Again, the message seems to be go inside no matter what. 1 yard gain, NE Timeout.

3rd and 7 at the 15 (1:51)

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Above are the three patterns that Sanchez has before him on the roll out. Interestingly, all three receivers are open, but Sanchez just will not be able to find one until it is a bit too late. It appears from how he played this is that he has it in his mind already to go to Kerley at the sideline as at this point he could already hit Schilens who is breaking open in the endzone, if he threw a dart. The problem with Kerley is that Sanchez has to wait for him to make his break. By the time he is ready to throw the other two receivers are off the menu, and as luck would have it Kerley slips a little in his cut (he actually bounces right up) and Sanchez has to abort with a huge pump fake.

End5_medium

The culprits on this drive seem really to be the coaching staff that just didn't want to go for the win. Sanchez was throwing pretty well, and instead they just want to give the ball back to the D. On the runs in particular it was either the coaching staff who directed the backs to only cut inside or the backs themselves, Kerley who fails in his cut, and Sanchez who locks on to Kerley and with three receivers all open in their patterns hits none of them. It is hard to really blame Sanchez much as he just isn't the kind of QB that sees more than one guy potentially open at a time yet. It would be great if he could, but he can't. Also Reuland is to blame for nearly whiffing on Hightower.

Sanchez also gets a little hypothetical blame for failing to throw the ball away out of bounds when he has his ankles wrapped up. I heard Rex said that this was a smart play as it caused NE to burn a timeout, but that is either Rex covering his QB or just being stupid. It turned an easy FG into a somewhat more difficult one. The goal there, on the road, is to take the lead. As it turned out, of course, Brady didn't even need the one time out he had left.

On Defense

There was a lot of talk about the Jets suddenly going into a "prevent defense" as if the Jets had been blitzing hard all game and then out of nowhere turned it off. From what I saw the Jets were rushing 3 and at most 4 for much of the game (I could be wrong), and they were controlling both Brady and the running game by spreading their coverage net with extra men. More seems to be the case, and I have mentioned this elsewhere, that Belichick knew how to attack the Jet defense but had been saving it up for an important drive (it was supposed to be the drive McCourty blew with his fumble at the 2 minute mark). And now he unleashed his attack. Rex seems to never realize that Belichick plays his games like chess. A lot of the game is figuring out the kinds of plays that WILL work later. He waits and waits until it is time to turn or win a game, and he goes at it. Rex seems to feel: Hey, we stopped them all game, well stop them on the last drive! We will see who Belichick decides to attack.

1st and 10 at 21 (1:32)

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The Jets rush three against 5 protectors. Brady delivers an electric strike to Gronk who is actually surrounded by 3 Jet defenders. We will see from the plays that follow it becomes evident that Allen is the guy they are going to attack - or at least anywhere Allen is, that is the weak link. For now it is Gronk.

End7_medium

You can see Allen there looking back at Gronk. Brady has just whizzed the ball by him. He didn't get enough depth when passing Gronk off to Bell and wasn't aware enough to be ready for Brady's tight throw. There could be a case that sending 5 (not 4) might have disrupted this play as it was a 15 yard throw, but the play happened pretty fast and that just wasn't how we had been defending Brady this game. This was a play that the defense should be able to defend, just Allen didn't.

1st and 10 at the 36 (1:09 clock running)

End8_medium

The Jets rush three against 5 protectors and a back. In fact you can see the back (I believe it is Woodhead) leaking out once he sees there is no blitz. This is important later. It wouldn't matter how many blitzers you send, this is an easy play. The Pats see that Allen is basically playing middle linebacker and is likely covering Gronk. The throw was actually off target and to the inside. If Allen had better recognition bite he may have had a play on the ball, but it wasn't close. Another 10 yards plus and first down, candy from a baby. It takes 3 guys to tackle him.

End10_medium

1st and 10 at the 48 (:45 clock running)

This screenshot (below) is actually from the play before. Remember the back leaked out. It turns out he was undefended (within 10 yards).

End13_medium

The next play is to Woodhead (below). And guess who is defending him. Allen.

End11_medium

Woodhead blows Allen away on the cut (it wasn't a spectacular move, for some reason Allen was off balance) and is wide open for a huge gain that pretty much seals the OT. You can see Allen in yellow below. The play was good for 20 yards.

End12_medium

1st and 10 at the 32 (:22 clock running)

End20_medium

Jets rush four, no pressure. Brady tries to win the game outright (what the Jets do not do), a deep pass to Lloyd in the end zone, incomplete.

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2nd and 10 at the 32 (:16 )

End14_medium

Jets rush 3 against 5 and a back, Woodhead leaks out again. This time it isn't Allen who blew the play before, its Harris. Good for an easy 7 yards, turning the field goal into a makable 43 yarder.

End15_medium

Conclusion

It seems pretty clear that the Jets wanted no mistakes when they had the ball only 18 yards from a noose-tightening TD. Someone, somewhere decided to run the ball, and not only run it but to run it diving only to the inside. Rex claims he wasn't trying to burn NE timeouts, but the play calling on the first two downs says different:

"We knew we needed a first down. We were trying to get a first down. It wasn't like we were trying to burn their timeouts. We were trying to get a first down to win the game. To their credit, they made some plays."

When they finally tried for the first down Sanchez had 3 guys open (2 at first down distance) but the play was really to one guy, and he fell down at just the wrong time. On the other hand, Belichick knew what he wanted to attack. He attacked Allen with Gronk, and then Allen with Woodhead. If it wasn't going to be Allen it was going to be whatever backer they put in there.

In the OT NE changed up again, so they just went somewhere else: DeMario Davis for two huge plays - the only two big plays aside from the PI call - against Welker. Why Rex thinks Davis can defend Welker, I haven't a clue. But Belichick and Brady found the match up and exploited it for the win.

One cannot help but leave the game with the overall sense that Rex just believes TOO much in his Defense. He never thinks his Offense has to win the game, even when the endzone is staring them 18 yards away against one of the worst secondaries in the league. He wanted the ball with the Defense there to make the final stop to win. Plain and simple. And he never realizes that a coach might have isolated mismatches that he has in his pocket to exploit when they really need it. Belichick is just like this. He has several options he is waiting to exploit at game's end. And he showed them. Unfortunately by scheme it was our two young guns Allen and Davis.

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