EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Jets fans present for the New England Patriots’ 22-17 win over New York probably wish they were among the many who stayed home and left their seats empty at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.
The Patriots’ win goes down as another notch in Tom Brady’s belt, while the Jets remain futureless at quarterback. Sure, young signal-callers Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg are on the roster, but if they’re not even good enough to play over Ryan Fitzpatrick in another lost Jets season, then how are they supposed to give fans hope for tomorrow?
Brady, ageless at 39 years old, had himself a day that will be remembered for his 200th win, 60,000th yard and the toughness to throw for 286 yards with two touchdowns while dealing with a knee injury severe enough to keep him out of two practices this week.
“I’m happy the week is over,” Brady said Sunday. “It was a long week.”
Beating the Jets was expected. But it was the manner in which Brady and the Patriots did it, hampered by an injury and leading a game-winning drive, that was both heartbreaking to Jets fans and uplifting to those in attendance that chanted the better quarterback’s name as the clock winded down.
Brady did his best to shrug off the injury.
“I think everybody is battling through different things,” Brady said. “You just do the best you can do. It’s a long season. Every week starts fresh again. I’m glad it’s over, and I’m glad we won.”
Brady sends a message that he isn’t alone in being hurt, and it’s expected on the Patriots to play and play well through various ailments. Tight end Martellus Bennett did it Sunday, when he had to get his right foot and ankle checked on the sideline. The Patriots were out of tight ends after Rob Gronkowski left the game with a back injury, so Bennett had to stay in.
“Everybody’s going to try and do different things,” Brady said. “And I try to just show up and do my best. And I don’t think everybody’s feeling great this time of year, so just do the best you can do, and I’ll try to do the same this week.”
Brady didn’t always look his best Sunday against the Jets. He was just 3 of 9 for 19 yards after the first quarter and 15 of 25 for 117 yards with a touchdown after the first half. But he led the Patriots on his first fourth-quarter comeback and game-winning drive of the season, finishing the day 30 of 50. Statistically, it was a down game for Brady. But that’s when numbers don’t paint the whole picture.
“He did a good job,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said. “Tom worked hard this week. But as he said, I think a lot of guys — it’s Week (12), so I don’t think anybody’s fresh as a daisy. Again, coming off the San Francisco trip and all of that, the Seattle game the week before, it’s a grind. You’ve just got to fight through it. Tom’s got great mental toughness. So do a lot of other guys on the team that are dealing with something, too.”
Thumbnail photo via Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports Images