Jets vs. Patriots: Takeaways from New York's 30-27 Win over New England
The questionable call at the end of overtime to give the Jets a second chance at a game-winning field goal will occupy most of the headlines, but in reality, the Jets won this game because of their strong running game, some solid, late-game defense and another heroic performance from rookie quarterback Geno Smith.
Here are the takeaways form the Jets' big win over the Patriots.
Geno Smith Cannot Be Rattled
Geno Smith may be inconsistent, but he has at least proven over and over that he will never be a victim of the moment.
Smith had an inconsistent start, throwing a pick-six after a long touchdown drive, but he did not let his colossal mistake shake his confidence.
Smith's stat line is hardly impressive (71.9 rating), but his stats are not reflective of how impressive he was. His ball placement was stellar, especially on some deflected or dropped passes that would have made the game a lot less closer than it was.
The most impressive plays from Smith came on his two scrambles in the third quarter. He converted a 3rd-and-14 after breaking a tackle to score a touchdown by shaking three Patriots defenders near the goal line.
While Geno will need to eventually start cutting down on his turnovers, his calm demeanor was the Jets' best weapon in this win.
Antonio Allen Is Starter Material
Simply put, the Jets do not win this game without the efforts of free safety Antonio Allen.
Allen was given the most difficult job of the afternoon—covering Rob Gronkowski.
Not only did Allen do an excellent job limiting Gronkowski's effectiveness, his coverage produced a much-needed defensive score on a pick-six in the third quarter. Allen's play completely changed the momentum of the game.
Gronkowski did account for 117 yards, but most of his yards came against zone coverage—Allen was only beat on a few one-on-one situations.
Even more impressive was how Allen came back into the game after taking a big hit in the second half.
Plenty of young Jets defenders are getting credit for their play—it is about time Allen starts getting the credit he deserves for being one of the few reliable pieces in the Jets' secondary.
Chris Ivory's Workload Will Only Increase
Chris Ivory's first month-and-a-half did not go as well as he hoped—he spent most of his time either on the bench or nursing a hamstring injury.
However, Ivory's fast start to this game made it clear to the Jets that he was the "hot" back to go with. Ivory rewarded his coaches with a 104-yard performance.
Geno Smith will get most of the credit for the comeback win, but it was the tough running by Ivory that set the Jets up with a chance to kick the game-winning field goal in overtime in the first place.
While I would not expect Ivory to get such an unbalanced portion of the carries going forward (he had 34 touches), he has certainly earned a heavier workload for the coming weeks.
Under-the-Radar Signings Making an Impact
Because of injuries at the receiver position, the Jets have been forced to sign street free agents who were overlooked by the other 31 teams, including David Nelson and Josh Cribbs.
After spending the first month of the season on his couch, David Nelson had himself an 80-yard day that included a handful of contested catches to big yardage. Josh Cribbs was effective as a wildcat runner, averaging 4.7 yards per play.
Had John Idzik not made a move to bring these players in, the Jets would have suffered greatly from their lack of depth (as they did last season) and may not have won the game.
Jeremy Kerley Is a Weapon
Thanks in part to some great pass protection and accurate throws, Jeremy Kerley was able to give the Patriots defense fits all afternoon, particularly in key third-down situations.
Kerley finished with a team-high eight catches for 97 yards, including a touchdown. As impressive as his stat line is, it still does not do justice in terms of the magnitude of how clutch his catches were. Because of Kerley, the Jets were able to sustain offense by converting on several 3rd-and-forever situations.
Kerley has been quiet over the past month of so, only registering a couple catches per game. He ws able to get his production back on track against a banged-up Patriots secondary.
Clearly, the chemistry between Kerley and Geno Smith is starting to come to fruition.
Terrific Pass Protection
The Jets allowed four sacks on Geno Smith, but that stat does not accurately depict how good the Jets offensive line was in pass protection all afternoon.
Perhaps the biggest reason as to why the Jets were able to make so many clutch throws deep down the field was because he had plenty of time in the pocket. The always-calm Smith was able to let routes develop and take advantage of a Patriots secondary that was stretched thin due to injury.
After giving up a lot of pressure the week before, this was a nice bounce-back game from the Jets offensive line as a whole.
Mixed Results from the Pass Rush
After a disappointing effort last week against a horrendous Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line, the Jets were finally able to put some pressure on Brady, even if it took about half the game to start getting after him.
The Jets did not utilize many blitzes, relying on their athletic lineman to get pressure on their own. Initially, the plan backfired in large part because they were unable to penetrate a solid offensive line for the Patriots (that was without their center, Dan Connolly).
However, as the game wore on, the Jets were able to wear down the Patriots' front and wound up sacking Brady four times (including a strip-sack).
While Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson did most of the work in the pass-rushing department, Quinton Coples was completely ineffective. He is clearly still struggling through his surgically repaired ankle and is unable to convert speed to power to create leverage.
The Jets are dearly missing the edge pressure brought from Antwan Barnes, but they can take solace in knowing that they can still get some interior pressure from their two stud defensive ends.
Dee Milliner's Struggles Continue
Playing in his first game back in about a month, former first-round pick Dee Milliner underwhelmed in his return, even playing against substandard receivers by the likes of Kenbrell Thompkins.
The Patriots were clearly attacking Milliner all game long, as he surrendered just about every reception to a player not named Rob Gronkowski. Milliner was particularly slow out of his breaks, as he was either not confident in knowing which direction to go or was simply not being physically explosive.
Perhaps, Milliner was still struggling to play through his previously injured hamstring, but the Jets have to be disappointed with what they have gotten out of the former top-10 pick.