Tom Brady told CBS before the game, "Physically, I’ve never felt better." And he showed it with a pair of third-down-conversion completions to move the Pats back toward the red zone at the top of the quarter.
The first came when he unloaded just before Dewayne Robertson hit him up the middle, hitting Randy Moss on the right sideline for a tiptoe catch in front of David Barrett. The second came on third-and-1, when Brady has been so deadly over the years against the Jets. Instead he dropped into the shotgun, the blitz again was picked up and he hit TE Benjamin Watson in front of Kerry Rhodes. First-and-10 at the Green & White 25.
But the Jets defense stiffens — Rhodes swats away a pass from Tom Brady pass to Kyle Brady, a Jets first-rounder a decade ago, then Eric Barton crashes through to help hem in Laurence Maroney for no gain, then T.Brady has lots of time vs. a three-man nickel rush but no receivers open and throws it away.
Then comes Drew Coleman with a special teams play. No, it wasn’t a block as we talked about in Saturday’s Radar, but it was just as good. The field goal snap hit holder Matt Cassel in the hands, Stephen Gostkowski never got to kick it, and Coleman wrapped up Cassel to give the Jets the ball.
And then the offense awakens. Chad Pennington hits Jerricho Cotchery on a step-up dart over the middle for 10, then Laveranues Coles downfield off play action for 17, then Coles for 10 more. A first-down jailbreak sack doesn’t hurt when Pennington flips to Leon Washington for a dancing 16-yard gain, then a rush up to the line and no Patriots timeouts causes encroachment and first-and-10 at the Pats’ 11.
On third down, the Jets break through with some alignment trickery. Pennington hits Coles, who goes into the pattern from the halfback spot, beating LB Rosevelt Colvin in coverage at the end to catch Pennington’s rainbow for the 7-yard TD. On the drive, Chad is 6-for-6 for 68 yards. Nugent’s PAT and with 4:15 to go in the first half it’s …
Jets 7, Patriots 7
But New England comes right back into Jets territory, the big play a 33-yarder to Randy Moss after he beats Justin Miller’s jam attempt at the line, taking it to the Jets 28 at the two-minute warning.
Then after the stoppage, it’s Brady to Moss again, beating an all-out blitz by hitting Moss over Barrett, 6 inches smaller, for 22 to the 6. This game isn’t supposed to be this easy for someone who missed most of the preseason, but so far Moss is what the Patriots wanted when they made the predraft trade with the Raiders.
Then the Patriots strike when TE Benjamin Watson misses jams by guys who don’t do a lot of jamming, Bryan Thomas and Jonathan Vilma, then gets to the back of the end zone for Brady’s pinpoint pass past Vilma and the TD call. The game’s replay crew calls for a review, but ref Jeff Triplette announces the ruling stands and it’s …
Patriots 14, Jets 7
… setting up one of those "situations" that head coach Eric Mangini loves to set up at the end of practices, a two-minute drill, actually after Leon Washington, back for the kickoff in place of Justin Miller, takes it to the 1:02 with one timeout left.
Except that D’Brickashaw Ferguson gets nailed for penalties on back-to-back plays, a hold and a false start. So Washington gets two draw plays and the Patriots, with no timeouts, can’t stop the clock.
If you’re a football fan, an exciting first half. If you’re a Jets fan, a troubling one with the line struggling in giving up three sacks of Pennington and the defense yielding 224 yards and 5-for-7 on third down conversions.
Tags: Chad Pennington, Dewayne Robertson, Drew Coleman, Laveranues Coles, Stephen Gostkowski, Tom Brady
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