All week, the outspoken safety vowed to embarrass New England with a win on his home turf, and although the score wasn’t particularly embarrassing, the Patriots offensive effort was.
New England could not muster a single touchdown and failed to score in the second half as the Jets came out on top 16-9, beating the Patriots for the first time since Sept. 11, 2000 — before the Patriots dynasty began.
Mark Sanchez looked far more Tom Brady-esque than Brady did, rebounding from a brutal first half to finish with 163 yards, a touchdown and zero interceptions. Brady, meanwhile, completed 23-of-47 passes for 216 yards, zero touchdowns and a pick. The Patriots had plenty of chances in the red zone but could not convert a touchdown under pressure.
New England’s defense really displayed its youth and inexperience in the second half of this showdown. After mounting a valiant stance in the first half and allowing just 57 yards and three points, they fell apart as the Jets got into a rhythm, allowing 197 yards and 13 points over the final two quarters.
Jets 16, Patriots 9
Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
Sept. 20, 2009
Headliner: Mark Sanchez’s troops looked terrible in the first half. They slopped their way through the entire first quarter without earning a first down and accumulated just 57 total yards in the first half. However, during the intermission, something clicked.
Just over a minute into the third quarter, Sanchez engineered a three-play, 49-yard touchdown drive that culminated in a nine-yard pass to Dustin Keller. Two more field goals is all the Jets would need to take a more-commanding-than-it-seemed seven-point lead over the Patriots.
Game Ball: The Jets defense made New England’s offense look almost as bad as Boston College looked against Clemson on Saturday. Brady never got into any kind of rhythm and the secondary prevented Randy Moss from being a factor at all, holding him to four receptions and 24 yards. Julian Edelman filled in as admirably as possible for the injured Wes Welker, accumulating eight receptions for 98 yards, but it wasn’t good enough. The rushing attack was rendered essentially nonexistent, as the Patriots were held to just 83 yards on the ground.
Better Luck Next Week: If the Patriots want a chance to make the playoffs in 2009, they have a lot to work on, but they can start with the penalty issue. Bill Belichick‘s squads are usually far more disciplined than the one that showed up in the Meadowlands on Sunday. In total, the Patriots were charged with 11 penalties for a total of 89 yards, including a killer illegal block that pushed them back to the 10-yard line to begin their final drive of the game.
Key Moment: The Patriots had a chance to present The Buffalo Comeback Version 2.0 on Sunday. With just over two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, New England got the ball on its own 20-yard line, but BenJarvus Green-Ellis was charged with an illegal block, which set the offense back 10 yards to begin the drive. After Brady connected with Edelman for a first down at the 28-yard line, the Jets secondary presented its best effort yet, forcing Brady into four consecutive incompletions to seal New York’s first home win over the Patriots in eight tries.
Scouting Report: The Patriots return to the friendly confines of Gillette Stadium on Sept. 27 to host the visiting Falcons. In their first non-AFC East action, the Patriots defense — which has shown some serious problems disrupting the rhythm of a good passing attack — must take on second-year quarterback Matt Ryan and his go-to guy, Tony Gonzalez. Michael Turner headlines a talented Falcons rush, so Belichick will have lots of work to do as he figures out how to plug the holes in his flailing defensive scheme.
Meanwhile, Tom Brady and Randy Moss will have to find a way to establish some semblance of consistency. So far in 2009, the offense has only looked consistently shaky, but hopefully, Welker will be back for Week 3 to take some of the pressure off Moss and Joey Galloway.
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