Patriots vs. Jets: Instant Grades, Analysis for New York

Rocco Constantino@@br_jets_reportContributor IOctober 21, 2012

Patriots vs. Jets: Instant Grades, Analysis for New York

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    Despite some late-game excitement, this game will end on a Patriots sack of Mark Sanchez and a recovered fumble by Rob Ninkovich.

    The Patriots move into first place with a 29-26 overtime win.

    It was a valiant effort by the Jets, but a game the team let get away from them multiple times.  

    The loss hurts for sure, but after the sting wears off, the Jets could look at some strong individual performances to build on.

    Keep this page open during the game for instant analysis and unit grades at the conclusion at each quarter.

    Look for RC Cos' Instant Impact immediately following every Jets game this year.  For even more analysis and for all Jets' breaking news, follow the B/R Jets Report on Twitter: @BR Jets_Report.

Quarterbacks: B

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    Mark Sanchez played a decent game, but in the end he couldn't make the plays he needed to to win the game.  Sanchez again wasn't helped, as he was crushed on the game's final play and victimized by a late Stephen Hill drop.  He finished 28-for-41 for 328 yards and one touchdown.

    Sanchez made a number of huge throws on the day with his only real mistake coming on an interception that was severely underthrown.

    Some people are going to blame Sanchez for the fumble at the end of the game, and they are within their rights.  But some of the blame has to go to the blocking there as well.



    Mark Sanchez led a nice, methodical drive to open the half that resulted in a Nick Folk chip-shot field goal.  He misfires on a slat play with Chaz Schilens on 3rd-and-goal, but that falls more on Tony Sparano for his play call.  He was  2-for-3 on the drive, completing both passes to Dustin Keller.

    He had a nice 16-yard run that was negated by a Brandon Moore holding call.



    Mark Sanchez was victimized by his mediocre arm strength as he underthrew a wide-open Stephen Hill in the end zone for his  seventh interception for the year.  Hill was open from the start, but Sanchez was looking in the opposite direction to start the play.  By the time he saw Hill, he was out of Sanchez's range.  

    This was the second time Hill was open down the field and Sanchez failed to hook up with him. 

    Sanchez did complete six passes on the Jets' final drive of the half to lead the offense to a field goal.



    Mark Sanchez came out throwing in the first quarter and it paid off in a rare opening-drive touchdown.  Sanchez hooked up with Jeremy Kerley for two plays of more than 20 yards to help set up a short touchdown run by Shonn Greene.

    Sanchez did misfire on a pass to Stephen Hill on what would have been a big-gainer on the first drive.

    Sanchez finished the quarter 4-for-7 for 66 yards.

Offense: B

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    The game was in the offense's hands to win or tie in overtime and they didn't come through.  The fumble to end the game doesn't fall directly on Sanchez as Austin Howard and Brandon Moore will take some of the blame as well.

    There are so many plays from a Jets perspective that make you say "what if."  The biggest one that comes to mind was the Jets having to settle for a field goal after driving the ball down to the two-yard line.  Tony Sparano will take some blame for a bad play call, but Sanchez and Chaz Schilens failed to connect on the play.

    On the plus side, tremendous performances were turned in by Jeremy Kerley, Lex Hilliard and Dustin Keller.  Shonn Greene ran well as the Jets ran for 106 yards against a Patriots team that came into the game giving up an average of 87 yards per game.



    The Jets chipped closer on an 11-play drive to start the half that took 5:27 off the clock.  The offense needs drives like this to keep their defense fresh.

    The only other time the Jets had the ball, their drive was short-circuited by a Shonn Greene drop and a holding call on Brandon Moore.



    The Jets scored five points in the second quarter, three for themselves and two for he Pats.

    Nick Folk converted a 54-yard attempt at the close of the half.  

    The only other scoring in the quarter came when Mark Sanchez and Shonn Greene botched a hand off that led to a safety.

    Jeremy Kerley continues to establish himself as a nice play-making wide receiver who is capable of making plays down the field in the absence of Santonio Holmes.  He had three plays of over 20 yards in the first half.

    Another positive for the Jets has been the running of Shonn Greene.  The Pats came into this game allowing just 87 yards a game on the ground, and Greene has found nice running room in a limited number of carries.



    The Jets came out aggressive to start, marching to an opening-drive touchdown in 11 plays.  Mark Sanchez attacked the weak Patriots secondary with two deep completions to Jeremy Kerley.  

    Shonn Greene had some success against a strong Patriots run defense on the first drive.

Defense: B

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    The game was put into the defense's hands to win with 1:42 left in regulation, but they couldn't come through.  

    Tom Brady marched the Patriots into field goal range easily, without even having to use a timeout.  

    In overtime, the defense bent, but held the Patriots to a field goal, giving the offense one last chance to win the game.

    The defense was put in tough spots all game, as some quick early drives forced the unit to stay on the field for lengthy periods of time.  The defense didn't really generate much pressure and didn't force a turnover.

    They do get credit for holding Tom Brady to just 259 yards in what amounted to four-and-a-half quarters.




    After Nick Folk's field goal to open the half, the Jets defense couldn't keep the Pats off the board.  On 3rd-and-goal, the Jets had Calvin Pace covering Rob Gronkowski.  Needless to say, Tom Brady easily took advantage of that.  

    The Patriots drive took 6:54 and spanned 15 plays.

    The Patriots converted all four of their third downs on the drive, including a 3rd-and-7 that resulted in a 21-yard screen pass to Wes Welker.



    The Jets kept the Patriots off the board on all three of their second-half possessions.  Tom Brady has found some room in the passing game, but the defense has been able to keep them from scoring.

    The Jets held Stevan Ridley, the NFL's fifth-leading rusher, to just 34 yards on nine carries in the first half.

    Pressure on Brady has been moderate, as Quinton Coples was able to record his second career sack.



    The Patriots are clearly looking to exploit matchup problems with the Jets pass coverage.  The Pats ran the ball just three times, opting to find mismatches in the passing game instead.  The Jets held up well on the first drive, but no so much on the second one.

    Tom Brady was 6-for-6 for 54 yards on the Patriots first touchdown drive.

    The Jets have allowed the Patriots to convert four of their five third downs and have been getting little pressure on Brady.

    When it comes down to it, giving up just seven points to the Patriots offense in the first quarter isn't a bad thing. 

Special Teams: B

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    Special teams came through with a number of big plays late in the game, but also had their share of flubs early on.  It would be nice to give them an A for giving the Jets a chance to win, but their early miscues helped put them in a hole to begin with.

    The biggest play of the game came when Lex Hilliard forced a Devin McCourty fumble late in the fourth quarter, allowing Nick Folk the opportunity to kick a go-ahead field goal with 1:37 left in the game.

    Speaking of Folk, he continued to be perfect on the season.

    Folk nailed the game-tying field goal with 2:06 left and also the go-ahead field goal mentioned above.  He also nailed a 54-yard kick in the first half.  Just outstanding.

    Robert Malone averaged 56.7 yards on his three punts.

    Then, there were the negatives.

    Two early penalties by Nick Bellore and Antonio Allen hurt and they allowed McCourty to return a kickoff for a 104-yard touchdown.



    There wasn't much for the Jets special teams to do in the third quarter.  Nick Folk hit a chip-shot field goal and Joe McKnight had a 37-yard kick return to start the half.

    Robert Malone continued his strong punting, booming a 60-yarder on his only attempt.



    Nick Folk saved this unit's grade by nailing a 54-yard field  goal into the wind at the end of the half.

    The Jets were killed by a second special teams penalty, this one on Antonio Allen.  There was no question there was a facemask on the play, but the referees wrongly ruled that it came before the punt.  

    The Jets were able to force a three-and-out from the Patriots, but the penalty ended up costing the Jets 28 yards in field position.

    That's three big mistakes no on special teams, completely unacceptable in a game like this.



    Allowing the kickoff return to Devin McCourty was a rare lapse by the Jets kickoff coverage.  Garrett McIntyre, Demario Davis and Antonio Allen had poor discipline on the play and Nick Folk gave a putrid effort in trying to slow McCourty down.

    On the ensuing kickoff, a nice return by Joe McKnight was negated by a Nick Bellore penalty.  

    Robert Malone continued his streak of having a punt of at least 50 yards in every game this year, as he boomed a 59-yarder on his first attempt.  However, he had a net of just 31 yards after kicking a touchback on his second one.

Coaching: D

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    Tony Sparano's play call on 3rd-and-1 from the two will stand out, as it should.  However, so much happened between that play and the end of the game that the Jets could have easily overcome that.

    First and foremost, the Jets were ready to play.  Sparano had Mark Sanchez come out throwing and they were able to put a touchdown on the board on their first drive.

    However, Sparano abandoned the deep ball after that.  

    The coaches did a nice job mixing in new personnel, as Lex Hilliard, Demario Davis and even Jon Grimes assimilated themselves into the game with varying degrees of success.  

    In a game like this, any coaching mistake could be crucial.  Some might want to nitpick with play calling here or there or the fact that Tim Tebow was underused.  However, aside from the play call on the two-yard line, there weren't any major gripes with the play calling.



    Tony Sparano's play call on 3rd-and-1 from the two-yard line may have been his worst call of the year.  Sparano could have used Tim Tebow there or could have run the ball behind Shonn Greene, who has been running strong.  Instead, Sparano put Sanchez in a shotgun and went back to the quick slant, a play that hasn't worked all day.

    The play calling before that had been strong though.



    Tony Sparano has adjusted away from the quick slant, as that was something the Patriots clearly aimed to take away.  It was a nice chess move by Sparano to put that in his back pocket for now.  Maybe it's something the Jets cane come back to later.

    There haven't been any crucial decisions yet for Rex Ryan and his game management has been fine to this point.



    The Jets game plan was apparent on their first drive; they are going after the Patriots' weak secondary.  After a conservative approach against the Colts, Tony Sparano had Mark Sanchez come out throwing.  It paid off with an 11-play touchdown drive to start the game.

    CBS analyst Phil Simms pointed out that the Patriots defense is playing the Jets' quick slant plays well.  It will be up to Sparano to take advantage of that.