Two elements of Sunday’s 28-14 victory over the Patriots linger on.
One is the way the Jets achieved the win. The first 17 minutes in particular and most of the first half in general was no walk in the park. But first the Jets offense and then the defense dug in their heels, said “enough” and proceeded to take the game back from the Pats.
Only a few Jets after the game said this one tasted all the sweeter because it was the Patriots. Most stayed with the theme that this was important only because it was a game in the division.
And that was Rex Ryan’s take at this afternoon’s news conference as well, although he paid tribute again to New England and Tom Brady as a worthy opponent.
“We played a great football team,” the head coach said. “And Brady, this was an amazing stat somebody said, that this is the first game in his career against the Jets that he threw two interceptions in a game. That’s amazing because he’s played the Jets a bunch. That was pretty impressive by our defense and tells you the kind of quarterback Brady is.”
That stat is correct. TB had never thrown more than one pick in any of his previous 17 games vs. the Green & White. Then he threw two in a four-pass span of the second half. Stated another way, Brady threw seven INTs in his first 554 passes against the Jets, then two in his last 11 passes.
Further, the Jason Taylor strip sack was only the third fumble Brady has lost against the Jets and the first since 2006. And the three takeaways are the first by the Jets against New England since 1996.
All of which is further evidence that even though each game with the Pats remains a struggle — “The fact that we won by 14 doesn’t say how close that game was,” said Rex — the New England hex at the Meadowlands has been broken. Not that the Jets don’t need to be eternally vigilant, but after eight home losses in a row to their rivals, they needed to end that drought, and in the last two years under Ryan they’ve done that.
Which brings me to Element No. 2. Last year as we know, the Jets opened their AFC East schedule with the 16-9 win over the Patriots, yet they finished 2-4 in the division. This year they’ve stated one of their interlocking goals is to get a home playoff game or two. The best way to do that is to win the division, and the worst way to win a division title is to go 2-4 in division games — no division titlist since the 2002 realignment has gone 2-4 in its division, and only three teams have gone 3-3.
“The way we do our math, and it’s not every-day math, is that I always look at these division games as that they count as a game and a half,” Ryan said. “And we kind of look this way at the game at Miami, that it either puts us up by a half game or puts us down by 2½ games. This is a big game, no doubt about it. We need a win against them.”
And that mantra will be repeated next week as Rex and the Jets prepare for their trip to Buffalo. This will be an early test of the Jets’ resolve to win the East. If that resolve is as strong as the spine they showed in taking Sunday’s game back from the Patriots, they’ll be OK.
Ryan went through his injury list. Nick Gallo will have a story on Revis’ hammy up on newyorkjets.com soon, but the short version is that Revis thinks he might have to miss a game or two and the coach wasn’t sure, although he stated, “We’ve got to be smart here. We’ll do what’s in the best interests of our team.” As for the injuries to Jason Taylor (elbow) and Nick Mangold (shoulder), “I feel pretty good about” those situations.
Ryan’s great take on LaDainian Tomlinson’s fourth-and-inches leap to put the final nail in the Patriots’ coffin with 2:44 to play: “I’ve seen LT do it to me a couple of times. That’s hard to stop. He can take it over the top or go down below. He’s just a super short-yardage back. What’s he got, 150 touchdowns? He can find a way to get that yard. Very few guys can take it underneath with their feet on the ground, over the top, or bounce it. He can do all those things.”
Rex declared “there’s no bigger fan of Braylon than I am” but said he withheld a gameball from Edwards because of the wideout’s penalty for taunting CB Darius Butler after his 10-yard TD catch in the second quarter. “Two weeks in a row we’re kicking off from our 15. When you get a safety, that’s usually a nine-point play and you’re kicking off from your 20. I appreciate how passionate he is and all that kind of stuff, but you don’t want to be selfish. That’s something that needed to be addressed and we did address it.”
The Jets’ turnover margin is now at plus-5, second in the NFL behind Pittsburgh’s plus-6 and the first time the Jets have been as high as plus-5 since Week 3 of the 2006 season.
Another measure of how the Jets took back Sunday’s game: They started with a 1:02 first-quarter time of possession — their second-worst TOP in any quarter in the last 25 seasons. Then they put together 31:30 possession time the rest of the way, their most in the final three quarters of a game since the 2002 playoff rout of Indianapolis (33:09).
Inside Sione, Brodney
“Inside the Jets” broadcasts live tonight from the Grasshopper in Morristown at 7 p.m. Bob Wischusen hosts and this week’s player guests are DT Sione Pouha and S Brodney Pool. Come down and show your support, but if you can’t make it, you can listen live on 1050 ESPN New York and on 1050espnnewyork.com.
Tags: Braylon Edwards, Brodney Pool, New England Patriots, Rex Ryan, Sione Pouha, Tom Brady
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