The Patriots defeated the Jets today by a 30-23 score in Foxborough. The loss drops the Jets to 4-2 and 2 games behind New England in the AFC East. It was a tight game where the Jets held a lead in the fourth quarter. The Jets did not play a terrible game. There were not a whole lot of players you can say were just awful for the full sixty minutes. The game changed on a few plays. What went wrong today? Join me below as we discuss it.
Steve Weatherford: I don't expect a punter signed off the street the day before a game to be great. I do expect him to look like he could conceivably belong in the NFL. Weatherford's second Jets stint will likely be a short one based on this game. Field position was a big story in this game. The Pats only had to go 47 yards on their first touchdown after a 31 yard Weatherford punt. A 33 yard punt failed to pin them deep before the drive that resulted in Rob Gronkowski's insurance touchdown. I understand it was a difficult spot, but Weatherford did not rise to the occasion.
Marcus Gilchrist: It was not a totally awful day for Gilchrist. He made some nice contributions. He actually led the Jets with 10 tackles. There were a number of plays he just didn't make, though. He had a chance to end New England's first touchdown drive one on one with Danny Amendola in the open field. He missed a tackle. To beat New England, you have to make one on one tackles after short completions. On the drive that gave the Pats the lead before the end of the first half, he appeared to be the culprit on a big third down completion to Rob Gronkowski. I get that it's a bad matchup, but still. On the winning touchdown, I think more of the blame probably falls to Marcus Williams, but Gilchrist could have saved the day. He was a bit late. I also think he was the guilty party on Gronkowski's insurance touchdown for the following reasons.
A. The Jets were playing man to man on the other receivers.
B. The two closest players to Gronkowski were Gilchrist and Coples. I can't imagine the Jets would have Coples man up against Grownkowski in such a key spot.
C. Gilchrist delayed his blitz until Grokownski faked like he was staying in to pass protect. Then once Gilchrist was up the field, Gronkowski released.
Anyway, Gilchrist has done a good job, but there were plays not made today that hurt.
Brandon Marshall: It was a relatively quiet day for Marshall. His 100 yard game streak ended. It seemed like the Pats were being physical with him at the line. Still, Marshall thrives on that kind of play. In the second half, Chan Gailey got him on the move a little more to try and get him cleaner releases. Marshall still didn't have a big positive impact in the game. His drop in the end zone proved to be important. It was not an easy play but one Marshall can certainly make and one the Jets expect him to make. The penalty he took at the end of the game was a pretty foolish one too and cost the Jets a chance to throw it to the end zone and force overtime.
Defensive Line Late in the Game: The group had individual moments. With a luckier bounce, Sheldon Richardson's strip sack could have been a huge play. It seemed like these guys got fatigued from how frequently the Pats threw the ball, which was disappointing given the depth the Jets have up front. They needed these guys to get home.
David Harris: I don't think Harris played a horrible game, but the huge third and 17 the Pats picked up appeared to be on him. He didn't get enough depth in his zone and left Tom Brady too big of a window to find Danny Amendola.
Offensive Line: Again, we see how the running game stalls when Chris Ivory is not 100% and able to create his own yardage. The pass protection was also spotty. Ryan Fitzpatrick did a really nice job reading the blocks and buying extra time. A quarterback without pocket presence could have turned this into an ugly day on the stat sheet taking sacks.
Marcus Williams: It looked like he was beaten on the game-winning touchdown. He seemed to be expecting help on the inside, which was taken away by the combination of routes. Williams gave too much cushion. Sometimes you need a guy to come off the bench and make a play to win the game. Unfortunately, that happened for the Patriots in the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, that did not happen for the Jets today.
Jeff Cumberland: I get that the ball in the end zone was a little underthrown. I get there could have been interference called. Is it too much to ask for a 6'4" 260 pound dude to impose his will and outmuscle a defensive back for a ball every now and then? Cumberland also failed to come up with a big catch later in the game. Cumberland also failed to come up with a big catch in the fourth quarter. Again, it wasn't a great throw, but I would be more forgiving if he ever showed an ability to impose his will and take balls away from smaller defenders.
Zac Stacy: I think Stacy has been a big disappointment. The hope was for him to be an effective runner in relief of Chris Ivory. It is a bad sign when Ivory is banged up and still looks more effective. It feels like Stacy is either grinding out a few yards or getting stuffed. There is no explosion in his game and little ability to create his own yardage. I am hoping Stevan Ridley can take some of the load from Ivory. Stacy seems like he is going to be the odd man out.
Calvin Pryor: A lot of New England's offense is based around trying to get their guys one on one in space against defenders and breaking tackles. Pryor played a superb game before he got hurt. He registered 6 tackles, frequently in that situation. He made one such tackle on the goal line. He also had an effective blitz and won a battle against Gronkowski one on one in the end zone in coverage. I think the Jets really missed him when he went out.
Eric Decker: The Pats used their top corner on Decker, and Decker dominated posting 6 catches for 94 yards and drawing a big penalty on Malcolm Butler. He also threw a couple of key blocks that helped spring receivers on completions.
Demario Davis: I really liked the game he played. Demario held up a few times when he was in the uncomfortable position of being split wide in coverage. He also made some big tackles in the open field. His 6 tackles tied for second on the team.
Nick Folk: You couldn't ask him to do more. That 55 yarder was big, and the onside kick was perfect.
Jeremy Kerley: Let this be a lesson for you kids at home. If you ever think you deserve a bigger role than you have, don't pout. Prepare yourself to succeed once your number is called. Kerley had a big catch on third down and a touchdown. The touchdown was impressive because he used his quickness to get inside a corner playing an inside technique.
- I know people are getting on Todd Bowles for not calling the timeout late in the fourth quarter. I don't think it was THAT egregious. The plan was to try and force the Pats to kick a field goal. After that, the offense would need a touchdown. There is something to be said for leaving a timeout in your pocket for the offense. Would I have taken the timeout after the first down play? Probably. Is it open and shut that getting the ball back with around 1:45 and no timeouts is a lot better than getting it back with around 1:05 and 1 timeout? I'm not sure.
- I will give Bowles credit for giving his team a chance by kicking the field goal early in the last minute. I don't get why coaches don't always do it this way. You need a touchdown and a field goal. Take the field goal at the first chance you get. Almost every team I watch runs out of time trying to get the touchdown first.
- I'm not sure I can put a player with his stat line in the good, but it was a gutty effort for Chris Ivory today. He clearly was hurt. He didn't have the ability to explode and bounce runs to the outside, but he still went out there fighting for yardage.
- It was a good effort today for Ryan Fitzpatrick. The third down play with the Jets down by 3 bothered me, though. With the game possibly on the line, the ball has to go to either Decker or Marshall unless somebody else is wide open. You cannot trust Devin Smith to make a play there. Even worse, Decker was open.