In a game that was touted by many (including myself) to be the biggest and toughest fought game of the season, it turned out to be a one-sided affair.
The Patriots manhandled the Jets in every aspect of the game. Their last ranked defense looked like the re-incarnation of the 85 Bears, and Tom Brady was a field general marching his troops into the end zone at will.
The Patriots have established themselves as the cream of the crop in the AFC East (and the AFC in general) and have sole ownership of first place.
The Jets suffered a black eye and a battered ego as they fall to second place and a possible race for a wild card birth.
Here are the 10 biggest mistakes the Jets made in this lopsided loss.
Rex Ryan made a baffling choice to challenge the referee's spot of the ball that put the Jets on a 4th-and-one during their opening drive. It seemed pretty clear the Mark Sanchez did not make the first down on the QB sneak, so why he risked a challenge is questionable. The ruling on the field stood and the Jets lost a time-out and wasted one of their two challenges early in the quarter.
The decision was made even more enigmatic when Rex decided to go for it on 4th down. If that was the plan, what was the point of the challenge?
This choice most likely bit them later in the game when Brandon Tate caught a TD that looked like he might have been out of bounds. Rex chose not to waste his second challenge on this and gave the Pats the six points. It was a close call that might have been upheld, but it was a play that made a whole lot more sense to risk a challenge on.
After the Jets first drive stalled at the New England 36-yard line, Rex decided to send out the inconsistent Nick Folk to attempt a 53-yard field goal into the wind. Needless to say, his missed it. It wasn't even close as he shanked it extremely wide left.
Knowing how terrible Folk has been as of late, the smarter choice would have been to send the punting unit on and pin the Patriots deep in their own territory (even going for it on 4th and 7 would have been a better choice). Instead, Tom Brady got to start the next drive with great field position on the New England 43 yard line.
The result of that drive: touchdown.
The Jets were missing Jim Leonhard big time as they watched his replacement make the worst penalty of the game.
Eric Smith grossly interfered with Patriots tight end, Rob Gronkowski, in the end zone for what turned out to be a 36-yard pass interference penalty and put the Pats on the Jets 1-yard line.
Two plays later, the Patriots would run it into the end zone.
Jim Leonhard doesn't make that penalty.
Steve Weatherford, who is arguably the best punter in the league, had a day he'd soon like to forget.
After the Jets second drive stalled after three plays, Weatherford came out to punt from the Jets' 20-yard line.
The punt went 12 yards. Yes... 12 YARDS!!
Tom Brady gets to start the drive on the Jets' 32-yard line.
The result of that drive: touchdown.
It was said a million times over that the biggest key to a Jets victory was to pressure Brady often.
That just didn't happen.
The normally blitz happy Rex Ryan didn't blitz nearly enough to keep the pressure on pretty boy Brady. Instead, choosing to rush only three and drop eight into coverage on some third down situations allowed Brady all the time he needed to pick apart the Jets' zone coverage.
The most effective blitz they ran was the safety blitz which resulted in two sacks (one by Ihegdibo, another by Smith). This has always been an effective stunt, and I have no idea why Rex doesn't use it more often.
Danny Woodhead had four receptions for 104 yards. You would think that since he's a former Jet, Rex would know what he's capable of.
Bart Scott and David Harris can't be expected to cover this fast little man, and it was obvious since he torched the Jets with only four receptions.
The Jets ran the football a piddly 24 times (not counting the garbage time for Joe McKnight). Need I say more?
Mark Sanchez looked like the QB of last season as he tossed three picks and no TDs.
Why Schottenheimer decided to rely heavily on the air attack and abandon the ground game is beyond me. Instead of controlling the pace of the game and establishing the run, the Jets came out slinging.
The Patriots confused Sanchez by constantly changing looks on defense, and it eventually payed off big dividends as the bad decisions and bad throws reared their ugly head.
The Jets seemed to be playing more zone defense instead of man-to-man coverage. This is probably the best explanation for the lack of blitzing. It's hard to blitz seven guys and leave four in zone coverage.
When you have two of the best man-to-man cover cornerbacks on the field, why are you dropping into zone for most of the game? This is why Wes Welker and Deion Branch combined for 144 yards and two TDs.
The Jets will never admit it, but I think they totally underestimated the Brady/Belichick combo.
They looked at a young Patriots team and what happened in week two and got overconfident.
They looked at how the Patriots young defense was statistically the worst in the league and thought they could walk all over them.
This is a mistake that cannot be repeated if these two teams should meet again.
The Jets are now 9-3, in second place and licking their wounds. Next up, a rematch with the Miami Dolphins in the Meadowlands. I'm sure that Tony Sparano was paying close attention to this game and will be seeking redemption from the routing the Jets gave them at home in week 3.
The Jets are by no means out of anything. They still can manage to win the division unless the Patriots go undefeated in their next four games. And with games against the Bears, Packers and Dolphins, that is no guarantee.
Another positive to take from this loss is that there is serious potential for these two teams to meet again in the post-season. Had the Jets won this game, they would have had the daunting task to beat the same team three times in one season...a feat that is rarely accomplished. But losing in this embarrassing fashion will motivate the Jets even more to seek the ultimate redemption in a would-be playoff meeting.