Playoff implications loom everywhere as the New York Jets and New England Patriots prepare to write another chapter in their storied rivalry.
By Paul Newbold
The last time the Jets played the New England Patriots, it was October 15 and the Jets held a 4-1 record and the visiting Patriots held a perfect record. It was a hard fought battle in Foxboro, Massachusetts, one in which the Jets lost 30 -23 late in the fourth quarter.
That day the Jets truly challenged Tom Brady and held the rival Patriots in check for three quarters of football. It was an intense see-saw battle with the lead changing 6 different times.
Late in the fourth quarter, Nick Folk kicked a field goal to put the Jets within a touchdown with time winding down. The Jets successfully pulled off an onside kick, with Brandon Marshall falling on the ball, and giving the Jets a final chance to tie the game.
The Jets took over possession at the Patriots 49 yard and Ryan Fitzpatrick hit Eric Decker on a 12 yard slant play, moving the ball to the Patriots 37 yard line. There was just fourteen seconds left on the clock when Fitzpatrick took the snap to spike the ball, as the Jets were out of time outs. Unfortunately for the Jets, Brandon Marshall got called for a false start on the play and the ensuing run off ended the Jets comeback effort.
It was a game where the Jets outplayed their opponent, but they squandered their chance in the fourth quarter. Tom Brady took the ball the length of the field in a ten play drive that ate up 5:34 off the clock. Brady featured Ron Gronkowski, Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola on the drive. Gronkowski was good for three completions of the drive, one for 11 yards, another for 23 yards, and the final reception was only good for two yards. Julian Edelman added a 27 yard catch and Danny Amendola took it into the end zone on a 8 yard pass. The Jet defense that had been fairly stout all day, seemingly disappeared on the drive and the touchdown sealed the Jets fate.
On the day Ryan Fitzpatrick went 22 of 39 for 295 yards, and two touchdowns. His quarter back rating was a solid 73.7 on the day. His counterpart Tom Brady went 34 of 54 for 355 yards and a pair of touchdowns himself, ending the game with a 79.2 quarterback rating.
In the passing game, Ryan Fitzpatrick spread the ball around and the Jets put up 295 yards through the air. Eric Decker led the way with a spectacular game that saw him put up 94 yards on just six receptions. Of course, Brandon Marshall made his contributions to come in behind Decker with 67 yards on 4 catches. Four different players had 20+ yard receptions with Decker (24 yds), Marshall (29 yds), Tommy Bohannon (23 yds), Chris Owusu (21 yds) all getting in on the action.
Jets vs Pats was a hard fought battle, one in which the Jets likely should have won. The Jets out gained the Pats, putting up 372 yards of offense to the Patriots 353 yards. The Jets also won the time of possession battle with the Jets controlling the ball for 33:03 to the Pats 26:57. In the end though, the Jet defense gave up two fourth quarter TD’s and the Jet offense stalled on drives and only produced two field goals.
The game was a heartbreaking loss for the fans, and threw the Jets into a bit of a slump, losing to the Raiders the following week and barely beating the Jaguars the week after. The Jets dropped games to the Buffalo Bills, and Huston Texans before rebounding to beat the Dolphins. The Dolphin game was the first victory in the Jets current four game win streak.
This week the dreaded Patriots travel to Met Life stadium to take on the Jets on their own turf. This game is basically a do or die game for the Jets, a victory will keep them in contention for a wild card spot, and a loss would likely send them home after the finale with the Buffalo Bills. Let’s take a look at how this one might play out.