That was a tough one to swallow. I never like losing to the state of New York in anything, and couple the Pats’ loss with two Bruins’ losses, and it was just a bad weekend for Boston sports. I’ve never actually developed a consistent way to recap these games, so I guess I’ll try something new week-to-week. So instead of breaking down the offense, defense and special teams, here’s five takeaways from Sunday’s loss in the Meadowlands.
- I hope Sebastian Vollmer’s injury isn’t severe. Apparently, it was ruled an ankle sprain, and he obviously didn’t return to the game. Vollmer’s loss is way more important than what the score on the field was. I don’t give two craps if the Jets are catapulted into the playoff picture- they aren’t in yet. The Pats, on the other hand, are. And regardless of first or second seed, they won’t play a road playoff game (you think Cincinnati will all of the sudden learn to win in January?). The bye is key, because it allows guys to come back from injury. But this offensive line has reached its limit. It. Can. Not. Suffer. Another. Injury. Period.
- This defense SUCKED today. Straight up SUCKED. Couldn’t get a stop when necessary. Only had one turnover AGAIN against a turnover-prone quarterback. That’s not to mention, by the way, that he threw for 285 yards on them. There wasn’t enough pressure on Ryan Fitzpatrick, even if they scored a defensive touchdown off a fumble recovery. Brandon Marshall bullied Logan Ryan all afternoon long, and Malcolm Butler lost Eric Decker in the end zone for the game winning score. They let up 143 yards rushing. They did a solid job against Chris Ivory, but Bilal Powell and Stevan friggin’ Ridley tore them up for 8 yards and 5.1 yards per carry, respectively. I think this was lackluster. I get there was no Devin McCourty or Patrick Chung, but good God, I think the red flags from today’s performance came off of the guys on the field, not because of the guys who weren’t on it.
- I won’t condemn the running game yet. I’m obviously being as hard as I have been in reviewing the Patriots this season, but the Jets have an exceptional run defense. I think everyone and his mother knew that running the ball wasn’t going to be a priority in the slightest. So, it was really hard to get a gauge on whether Steven Jackson will be of use to the team or not. I get he can help to mentor guys, but honestly, I’m interested in challenging and winning a Super Bowl- not helping guys advance their career. The Patriots are eternally in win-now mode, so I don’t have an issue writing that. I’d hope there is some sort of running game so the offense doesn’t get one-dimensional.
- Bill Belichick rarely messes up, but he screwed up that coin toss completely. No, that wasn’t Matthew Slater messing up. It seems that the confusion that was on everyone’s television was over whether the Patriots got to choose which direction to defend (and you can’t pick both. Ever play Madden? You can’t choose to kick/receive AND what direction you defend against! Rookie). I get the whole idea of holding the Jets to either a field goal or scoreless, but I’m sorry, that doesn’t suffice. There’s no excuse for putting a Jets offense back on the field, especially when you consider how they played for most of the afternoon. I get that retrospect is always 20/20, but the only thing Belichick did is take the ball out of Tom Brady’s hands.
- Speaking of coaching, I don’t like Josh McDaniels. I’m sorry. I’m appreciative of everything he’s done in the past, and I know the team has been ravaged by injuries and adjustments must be made. But seriously, there are plays that are just downright stupid, and I’ve said it during every game for the last month. If his line is so injured and can’t give Brady the time he’s used to, and they’ve got no legitimate deep threat that scares teams, why the hell are they running 10-15 plays where everyone is running deep or intermediate routes? I hear people say that “the receivers aren’t getting open”, but they shouldn’t be deep down the field in the first place. Patriots wideouts are notorious for yards after the catch, and if Brady has maybe two seconds to throw the ball, then there’s no reason to send them 15 yards down the field. Don’t forget, by the way, that Brady has never had a great deep ball. Take one specific play for example from the fourth quarter. It’s late in the game, trailing a touchdown, it’s 3rd and 9, inside somewhere around the Jets’ 35-yard line. It’s officially four-down territory, here, people, right? Does it not make sense to have someone running underneath to either pick up the first down with their legs or get close enough for a manageable fourth down? The answer is ‘sure, it does!’ But nope. Brady throws to Keyshawn Martin for the end zone into double coverage, 30-some-odd yards down the field. It looked to me like Martin was Brady’s first read, and that’s what he did. It put them at 4th and 9. This one didn’t bite them in the ass because Rob Gronkowski eventually made a catch to convert the fourth down play, and James White scored shortly after. My point, however, still persists. It was a bad play call that could’ve cost the Pats, if it wasn’t for Gronk making a tough, clutch catch in traffic.
There you have it. My most negative Patriots review of the season. I was pissed about the Broncos loss, but they’re a very good team who has always given New England problems. I was upset about the Philadelphia loss, but at least I could hang my hat on the defensive performance in that game. This game was atrocious, and that’s honestly how I feel. I’m not worried about anything- I know the offense will turn around at least a little bit when Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, and hopefully Sebastian Vollmer are back out there. I know the secondary won’t be as vulnerable with Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung returning. And though they’ve played New England tough twice, I’m not nervous about the Jets being in the playoffs because I know it’ll be in Gillette if it even happens. I just hate losing to the Jets.
Picture courtesy of gazette net.com