By: Russ Goldman
The Patriots (4-1) again used a balanced attack on offense, and also received an improved effort from the defense in their 30-21 victory against the Jets at Gillette Stadium.
This was a hard fought victory for the home team as they were pushed to the limit, but in the end came away with the win.
The first half saw the Patriots offense move the ball at times, but the Jets got after Tom Brady, and did not make it easy for the Patriots quarterback. The Patriots were in control the majority of the first half, but only led at half-time 10-7. The Patriots had a chance to have a comfortable lead going into the break, but Brady was intercepted in the end zone by Antonio Cromartie as the ball deflected off the hands of Aaron Hernandez at the goal line.
The second half saw the Patriots score on their opening drive set up by a nice 73 yard run and catch by Wes Welker. Deion Branch would eventually catch a two yard touchdown to give the Patriots the 17-7 lead. However, the Jets came right back, and scored on their opening drive set up by an 88 yard kick return by Joe McNight.
This game was pretty close the entire game, but the Patriots sealed the game on their final drive by running the ball with Benjarvus Green-Ellis. Stephen Gostkowski would eventually kick a 24 yard field goal to end the scoring for both teams, and put the game out of reach.
In the end, the Patriots played a complimentary game on both sides of the ball, and eventually pulled away from the Jets. The major difference between the teams is at quarterback. Mark Sanchez did not have a great game, but to his credit he kept the Jets close. To get to the next level for the Jets, Sanchez is going to need to be more than a game manager.
So what did we learn from watching the game on Sunday?
The first thing we learned is that the Patriots can beat you many ways offensively. Wes Welker did have 5 catches for 124 yards, but for the most part Darrelle Revis really shadowed him, and forced the Patriots to find other options.
The Patriots got a solid contribution in the passing game from Deion Branch who had 7 catches for 74 yards, and 1 touchdown. The two Patriots tight ends also added 9 receptions between them. However, the balance in the offense was solidified with 152 yards in the running game. Even if you limit the Patriots main target, they can find someone else to pick up the slack.
The second thing we learned is that the defense can take away something from the opposing offense. In this game, the Patriots took away Dustin Keller as he only had 1 catch. The Patriots took away many of Sanchez’s options on his 3 step drops. For me, this is a very important thing to take away from this game. For all the criticism the defense gets, it can still take away something from an offense.
Ultimately, I see this as a complimentary performance from the Patriots as both sides of the ball did their job against a team that was desperate for victory. This win is definitely something to build on for the Patriots.
On offense, the Jets actually did run the ball effectively at times. Shonn Greene did run for 83 yards on 21 carries. The Jets did establish the run again, and that will probably pay dividends for them as the season progresses.
Their issues for me start and end with Sanchez. The Jets quarterback at times shows glimpses that he can be an elite quarterback. His problem is he is just not consistent enough, and he showed that against the Patriots. Sanchez was 16-26 for 166 yards and 2 touchdowns. Against a Patriots defense that has been poor against the pass, that is just not good enough.
On defense, the Jets definitely put some serious pressure on Brady as they did blitz often. The shocking part for me was how well the Patriots ran the ball against the Jets. This unit played well, but I think ran out of gas in the 4th quarter as the Patriots ran the ball to basically end the game.
The Patriots got a balanced effort offensively, including a great performance by BenJarvus Green-Ellis. (FILE:Icon/SMI)
For the Patriots on offense, as stated earlier, this was a balanced attack. Brady was 24-33 for 321 yards, and one touchdown. The big contributor was Green-Ellis who ran for 136 yards. This continued balance on offense makes the Patriots a tough team to beat.
On defense, this unit deserves some credit in this game. They held the Jets to seven “3 and outs”, and the Jets were 3-11 on third down. The Jets had 255 yards in this game. This effort by the Patriots defense was a marked improvement.
As I always do, I like to look back at my keys to victory to see what kind of role they played in the game. Below is my analysis of ” My Five Keys To Victory For the Patriots Against The Jets.”
1.The Patriots on offense need to establish the run. Well, I guess you can say the Patriots succeeded in this key. Green-Ellis really showed me something in this game as he ran for136 yards. He helped establish the run for the Patriots, but he also became a closer, as he could not be stopped on the Patriots final drive.
2. The offensive line needs to protect Tom Brady. To be honest, the offensive line did not do as well as I hoped in protecting Brady. He was hit often, and the line gave up 4 sacks to the Jets. However, part of the protection break-down was caused by Brady not being able find an open receiver. For a unit that has been tremendous so far this season in protecting the franchise, in this game they were not at their best.
3. The Patriots outside receivers need to make an impact in this game. Branch definitely stepped up in this game as he had a crucial touchdown reception, and caught 7 passes for 74 yards. He made a big difference in this game. Ochocinco only had 2 receptions, but he is contributing, and helping the drives move down the field.
4. The Patriots defensive line needs to come up big today. The Patriots did put a little more pressure on the quarterback. Mark Anderson actually had 1.5 sacks. However, the pass rush still needs to be at a much higher level as the season moves on.
5. The Patriots need to stop Dustin Keller. The Patriots defense totally succeeded in this key. Keller can score touchdowns, and extend drives. They limited Keller to 1 reception which is excellent. I think the play of the Patriots defense against Keller was very important against the Jets.
So what did we learn from this game? I think we saw more indication that the Patriots can win with a balanced attack on offense. On defense, of course this unit is a work in progress, but we saw improvement on third down, and we saw so many “three and outs”.
Ultimately though the most important thing to get out of this victory, is the Patriots can win a game that they really have to fight through on both sides of the ball. That for me is the bottom line.
What are your reactions to the game? Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you thought of the Patriots 30-21 victory against the Jets.