The Jets' goal was simple: pressure Tom Brady.
The Jets learned, much as the Giants did before them, that when you apply pressure to Tom Brady, "Mr. Clutch" has a tendency to be anything but.
Thus was the case in the Jets' 16-9 victory over the Patriots on Sunday.
Tom Brady was not horrible in the loss, he simply played more like the Tom Brady of 2001-2006 than the Tom Brady of 2007. This time, though, his defense didn't finish the job for him.
Brady's performance against Rex Ryan's defense was a shaky one: he completed only 23 of 47 passes for 216 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception.
His quarterback rating for the day was a lowly 53.1.
While this performance might come as a shock to many, it shouldn't.
The last time we saw Tom Brady stand in the pocket in the face of incredible pressure, he transformed from the record-setting Brady that we saw early in the 2007 season (really a very small portion of his career) into just an average quarterback.
Tom Brady is anything but average, but he played as such on Sunday.
I am not a believer of judging any player by his performance during one game, regardless of how well or poorly he might have played.
This was only one game. But it certainly wasn't a good sign of things to come.
Many expected Tom Brady's return would also bring the return of the 2007 Patriots offense.
Rex Ryan is too clever defensively to allow such a thing to happen.
The biggest mistake that defenses made during the 2007 season was to allow Tom Brady the time in the pocket to make the plays that he did.
Much of that should be a credit to one of the finest offensive lines in recent memory, but ironically, it was that same offensive line that was abused by the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII.
Blame it on the protection Brady received, or credit it to the Giants for their defensive pressure.
The Patriots loss to the Jets this Sunday was very reminiscent of that day—the last time Tom Brady was put under incredible pressure.
Has Rex Ryan developed the formula to neutralize what many people considered to be the NFL's most dangerous weapon? Or did he simply follow the blueprint that was designed by the other New York team over a year ago?
Either way, it was the Jets' execution of that game plan that contributed to their impressive victory this Sunday.
Their defensive performance was of a caliber that enabled Jets' rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez to perform at a higher level than Brady against a defense that should have been tougher than the one that dominated on Sunday.
Sanchez was 14 of 22 for 163 yards, 1 touchdown, and no interceptions.
He finished the game with a 101.1 quarterback rating, 48 points higher than that of Tom Brady.
A lot of credit should be given to the Jets' defense for this victory.
While many might say that this was an instance where the Patriots "choked" or something to that effect, I would rather see this as an instance where the better team won by simply outperforming their opponent.
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