October 09, 2011
Brady Goes To Law Firm To Get Win
BY: Bob George/BosSports.net
FOXBOROUGH -- Tom Brady had a complaint. He was an assault victim. Four counts total.
So what do you do for redress? You go to your local law firm for relief.
On Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium, he was better than Johnnie Cochran, Robert Shapiro and F. Lee Bailey combined. BenJarvus Green-Ellis had the best game of his career, rushing for a career-high 136 yards on 27 carries, two touchdowns, and a terrific Corey Dillon-esque performance in the final minutes to help the Patriots sneak past the Jets, 30-21. Green-Ellis literally took over the game in the last seven minutes, and helped seal the deal almost singlehandedly.
The Patriots had the ball with just over seven minutes to go in the game, leading 27-21. Green-Ellis carried the ball ten times for 62 yards, and killed off all but 1:02 of the time remaining in the game. Stephen Gostkowski iced the game with a 28-yard field goal, and the Jets were unable to respond with no timeouts left.
This performance in the final drive by the Patriots was wistfully reminiscent of "Clock killin'" Corey Dillon, who regularly ate up chunks of clock during the most recent Super Bowl championship season for the Patriots. Green-Ellis took advantage of a tired Jet defense that was expecting Brady to try and ice the game through the air. Even when the run defenders came into the game to try and stop Green-Ellis, he was still able to get the tough yards in crunch time.
Perhaps the biggest play of the game was halfway through that drive. The Patriots had the ball at the Jet 46, facing third down and four. The Patriots burned their final timeout with 3:43 to go. Brady lined up in the shotgun with Green-Ellis standing to his right. Brady threw his arms up in the air and Green-Ellis took the direct snap. He was able to run around left end for 14 yards and a first down. This is the old Kevin Faulk play, which the Patriots used in Super Bowl XXXVIII for a two-point conversion and in Super Bowl XXXVI to set up Adam Vinatieri for a third quarter field goal. With Faulk being fitted for a pipe and slippers, seeing Green-Ellis run this play was especially satisfying.
Green-Ellis's great day helped offset a blitzing Jet defense, and helped the Patriots to win a game that Brady didn't have to do so all by himself. Brady was sacked four times, twice by Jamaal Westerman, and the Patriot offensive line had difficulty with the Jet blitz packages all game long. Green-Ellis was the only real consistent offensive threat for the Patriots all game long, and was the real key to the Patriot win as Brady was able to generate just enough passing offense to compete and keep the Patriots in the game.
Meanwhile, the Patriot defense finally came through with a decent performance, albeit against one of the worst offenses in the league and the worst rushing offense in the league. Shonn Greene did manage 83 yards on 21 carries, but he was never a real factor in this game. Mark Sanchez did manage to outpoint Brady in quarterback rating (105 to 100), but he was held to 166 yards passing and two touchdowns. Rookie Jeremy Kerley caught a touchdown pass as did Santonio Holmes, but Holmes led the Jets with only four catches.
The only time the Patriot defense really flopped was on the penultimate Jet possession in the fourth quarter. After a Green-Ellis four yards touchdown run made it 27-14 with 12:57 to go, the Jets took off on an 11-play, 85-yard drive which was basically a display of why the Prevent Nothing defense is bad strategy and difficult to watch. The Patriots laid off all the Jet receivers and let them complete literally everything over the middle. Holmes turned around Kyle Arrington and made him look silly on the 21-yard touchdown pass to complete the drive and cut the Jet deficit to only six points. It forced the Patriots to score on the next drive or else face the real possibility of the Jets walking out of here with a one-point win.
Brady had great numbers, completing 24 of 33 passing for 321 yards and one touchdown. His only blemish wasn't his fault, as Brady threw the first red zone pick at Gillette Stadium in his entire career. A sure touchdown to Aaron Hernandez from 11 yards out deflected off his fingertips and the ball landed into the arms of Antonio Cromartie one yard deep in the end zone. Cromartie returned it to the Jet 42 before being tackled to end the first half. Hernandez was making his return from a knee injury and clearly wasn't himself all game long. He did manage five catches, but none of them were the patented deep catches he has become famous for.
Another reason why Green-Ellis was so critical in the win was that Wes Welker was literally taken away from Brady for the most part. Welker did manage 124 yards, but on only five catches. One of those catches came on the first play of the second half. Brady began at his own 20 and lofted a soft toss over the middle to Welker. Darrelle Revis, who had been stuck to Welker all game long, played him off to a safety and paid for it. Welker should have covered all 80 yards, but Revis went Benjamin Watson on Welker and ran him down at the Jet 7. Brady would cash in with a two-yard touchdown pass to Deion Branch, but only after a fumble by Branch on the previous play was overturned on replay, showing him down by contact while exchanging the ball from one hand to the other. Had the Patriots been held to only a field goal, or if the fumble had stood, the Revis rundown on Welker would have stood as the key play of the game.
The Bruins completed their Stanley Cup "Look at this!" tour by being saluted by the crowd during the pregame, and the Patriots parlayed the moment into a tough win. The Patriots keep pace with the first place Bills (that's a little tough to say), while the Jets fall to 2-3 and currently lose a tiebreaker with the Patriots. If seeing the Stanley Cup motivated the Patriots, especially the defense, to play better, then the Patriots can thank Zdeno Chara in February as the Bruins finally put that beautiful bauble back in its case.
Meanwhile, Rex Ryan was unusually silent this week. When these teams meet again in a few weeks, expect the Jet coach to get back to vorating again.
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