New York Jets Flight Fueled By Victory Over New England Patriots
The New York Jets played their division rival New England Patriots on Sunday afternoon and were completely manhandled by Bill Belichick's crew.
For one quarter anyway.
In a remarkable turn of events, the Jets managed to overcome a miserable first quarter and a hamstring injury to All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis as they dominated the Patriots in the second half, defeating their nemesis by the final score of 28-14.
In his postgame press conference, head coach Rex Ryan stated,
"This is a huge game for us. Every last man in that locker room had to get it done for us."
So how did the Jets get things done?
Overcoming Tom Brady And A Miserable First Quarter
Tom Brady and the New England Patriots offense completely dominated the first quarter of play against the Jets on Sunday afternoon, with their Time of Possession clocking in at an unheard of 13:58.
The Patriots ran 23 plays for 104 yards in the quarter while the Jets ran 3 plays for 5 yards.
Luckily for the Jets, they exited the first quarter in the same manner in which they entered it: tied zero-to-zero.
Revis vs. Moss
In the days before the New York Jets were to battle the New England Patriots, the war of words between Jets star cornerback Darrelle Revis and Patriots future Hall-of-Fame wide receiver Randy Moss reached its climax.
“I prided my offseason on staying off Revis Island,” Moss stated. “Words don’t really hurt me. We’re coming to the Meadowlands on Sunday, man, so you got 60 minutes of this ‘slouch.’ ”
Revis responded to the quote by discussing his chances of shutting down Moss down again Sunday,
“I like ’em a lot,” he said. “I’m a very confident player. I covered this guy before plenty of times we’ve seen each other in the past, so I just need to focus on my game plan and do what I do best."
So how did Slouch Bowl III unfold?
Although Revis held Moss to 2 catches for 38 yards, Moss beat him badly for a spectacular 34-yard, one-handed touchdown grab of a Tom Brady pass late in the second quarter.
Revis tweaked his hamstring on the play and did not return.
Limiting Wes Welker
After being completely destroyed by Wes Welker during the 2009 season, the Jets defense limited the wide receiver to just 38 receiving yards and 1 touchdown.
The Superb Play Of QB Mark Sanchez
You're probably wondering to yourselves, "Did I read that slide title correctly?"
You sure did!
After an abysmal performance against the Baltimore Ravens, QB Mark Sanchez rebounded in a big way as he completed a career-high 21 passes for 220 yards and 3 TDs (also representing a career high).
Perhaps no offensive series was more important than the Jets' first possession of the second quarter.
Sanchez looked extremely sharp as he led the Jets on a 12-play, 77-yard scoring drive that culminated with a 10-yard touchdown pass to WR Braylon Edwards.
Wide receiver Braylon Edwards played a major role in the offense, as Sanchez targeted him 6 times.
Edwards finished with 5 catches for 45 yards and 1 TD, as well as catching the two-point conversion pass from Sanchez.
Unfortunately, Edwards was flagged for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty following his TD score, which was just another case of Braylon being Braylon.
Dustin Keller finally performed like the tight end whom the Jets thought they were getting when they drafted him out of Purdue.
Keller had a monster game, as he caught 7 balls for 115 yards and 1 TD.
Perhaps most impressively, Keller had three catches that went for 20+ yards.
The Jets' Defense and Antonio Cromartie
Darrelle Revis missed the entire second half of the game and yet the Jets' defense didn't seem to miss a beat.
If anything, they seemed to play like a more cohesive unit.
Antonio Cromartie played the role of shutdown corner to a Revis-like tune, as he helped keep Randy Moss from catching a pass during the second half.
Additionally, Cromartie and safety Brodney Pool each registered an interception of Patriots' QB Tom Brady.
The 2 INTs marked the first time the Jets ever had a pair of picks against the future Hall-of-Fame QB.
Jason Taylor's Sack
Playing the second half with a sore elbow certainly didn't stop linebacker Jason Taylor from making what quite arguably could have been the Jets' defensive play of the game.
With the Jets leading 28-14 midway through the fourth quarter, Tom Brady and the Patriots' offense seemed to awaken as they drove all the way to the Jets' 16-yard line.
On first-and-10 at the 16, Taylor attacked Brady on his blind side, sacking the QB and forcing a fumble, which was recovered by the Jets' Bryan Thomas.
Taylor's sack and forced-fumble effectively ended any chance the Patriots had of pulling off another of Brady's signature fourth quarter comebacks.
No wonder why Jets' fans serenaded their former nemesis with chants of "Ja-son Tay-lor!"
Mike Westhoff's special teams always gives Jets' fans something to cheer about.
Steve Weatherford continued his excellent punting and kicker Nick Folk made two field goals (49, 36), giving him a perfect 5-for-5 on the season.
Special teams ace Brad Smith did suffer a jaw injury and did not return but should be OK for Week 3 in Miami.
LT and The Gutsiest Call Of The Game
LaDainian Tomlinson had another strong performance, carrying the ball 11 times for 76 yards and adding 4 catches for 26 yards.
The supposed over-the-hill running back was involved on the gutsiest play-call of the game as well.
Facing fourth-and-inches from midfield with 2:44 left in the game, the Jets opted against punting (which would have been the safest route).
Instead, Sanchez handed off to Tomlinson who leaped over his offensive line to gain the necessary yardage and seal a sweet victory for the Jets and their fans.
Next up for LT and Gang Green?
A Sunday night date with the 2-0 Miami Dolphins in South Florida.