Harder than initially thought to be, another good and especially efficient performance from Tom Brady led the New England Patriots to a 27-25 win over the New York Jets, who gained more yards and dominated possession, but had a field goal blocked on the final play of the game by Chris Jones.
For people who only care about the bottom line, this was a third straight win, setting the Patriots even further apart from the rest of the AFC East, now rising to 5-2. It doesn’t matter that the offense spent just 19 minutes on the field, or that their running game completely stalled with only 63 yards on 15 carries and especially on their final drive, which gave the New York Jets an opportunity to win the game which was botched.
The New York Jets? No matter how many positives they try to draw away from this game, they still lost for a sixth straight time. No turnovers and especially no interceptions from Geno Smith. The running game gained 218 yards on 43 carries. Nick Folk was doing a great job. Until that final field goal attempt, from 58 yards, that got blocked by Chris Jones, which had a little bit of revenge touch to it considering what happened last season.
Jones was penalized last season in the finale of the game between the two teams for pushing a teammate into the opponent’s formation. Folk’s 56-yard attempt on that day sailed wide left, but thanks to the penalty, Folk found himself with another chance from much closer, giving the Jets a rare win over the Patriots. Folk finished this game with four field goals, all of them in the first half, but the one that mattered the most couldn’t be protected, and was possibly from too far away.
The Patriots had just 16 first downs in the game, gaining a total of 323 yards. It didn’t matter.While they weren’t able to stop the New York Jets from advancing on them, they did a great job inside their own territory by preventing the Jets of getting in the red zone or the end zone. Settling for field goals was fine on the Patriots part as long as their drives ended three times inside the end zone. Tom Brady found Shane Vereen for touchdowns twice and the big one came from Danny Amendola in the fourth quarter, giving the Patriots a 27-19 lead.
So the Jets had the running game going for them, led by Chris Ivory with 107 yards, most of them coming in between the tackles. Chris Johnson, who won’t be getting to the 2000 yard mark he is dreaming of, finished with 67 yards. The Patriots didn’t really have an answer to the ground attack while things were happening far away from endzone. Geno Smith threw one touchdown pass, completing 20-of-34 passes. And yet somehow it simply wasn’t enough.
One big change in Brady over the last three games has been his ability to finally stretch the field. After struggling badly when it came to long throws through the first four games of the season, Brady completed 7-of-11 for 167 yards and two touchdown passes on throws traveling more than 11 yards downfield. He finished the game with 261 yards on 20-of-37, but when his offensive line gives him time, suddenly his arm strength isn’t something to criticize.
The Patriots have problems that eventually might be too much for them to overcome when it comes to doing more than winning the easy-as-always AFC East. However, the fixes to the offensive line and making the most of a gameplan that keeps changing according to opponents is squeezing the best that’s left out of Tom Brady, and putting them in position to win the division once again. The New York Jets might take a moral victory from such a loss, but at this point, it’s hard to believe that even a relatively good performance can cheer them up.