Has Rex Ryan released any bombastic announcements as yet today? His Jets still going to win the Superbowl? (Is there a greater boy-who-cried-wolf in NFL history, ‘’We’re going to win the Superbowl!’’ – sure Rex, sure)
Some aspects of last night’s encounter between the Patriots and the Jets in the Meadowlands stood out.
Act like you have been here before
Commentator Chris Collinsworth made a very revealing comment about his view from the training grounds of both squads. Having visited both mid week, Chris noted that the Jets were running very up-tempo practices. There was a lot of high energy chest-thumping and a lot of focus on the Patriots. He noted on the flip side that at the Patriots training sessions, you couldn’t tell if they had won or lost the week before. It was just business as usual.
Communication is the name of the game
Did you see how active and communicative the Patriots ‘D’ was? Vince Wilfork was extremely vocal and led by example, as always. It seemed like everyone knew exactly where they had to be. A backfield of relatively no-name players played fantastic coverage all night, a direct result of super communication between team-mates.
Bully me? I’ll bully you!
The Jets love to ‘throw shapes’, they love their swagger, trash talking and posturing. More often than not, when push comes to shove, they melt into air. In the third quarter Brady misfired on a short ‘out’ to Aaron Hernandez. The Jets DB on the play (Wilson?) took a cheap shot at the big New England TE, right in front of the side judge. The reason no flag was thrown was that the Jets DB bounced right back off Hernandez, the latter turning to him, and shouting niceties at him, as the Jets DB quickly cowered back to his mates. The Patriots were bigger, meaner and stronger on the night, they just didn’t shout about it as much.
Brady the party planner
Brady was at his organizational best last night, constantly tweaking his troops into position to make the right plays. His fourth quarter no-huddle work was nothing short of sensational, however all night long he was constantly managing the game, motioning WRs into position, shouting out coverages to his offensive line. Brady must have been absolutely exhausted both mentally and physically after this one.
Lay off Sanchez
Say what you want about Jets QB Mark Sanchez, and no doubt plenty of people will, he did not come up with that decrepit game plan. The Jets are not a passing team. They know it, we know it, everybody knows it. However, they almost completely gave up on the run last night, slinging the ball around like a college spread offence. They did not look themselves. Blame Mark Sanchez if you like, however I point the finger at the Jets coaching staff, once more over-thinking themselves out of a big game.
The game hinged on two key fumbles. One that didn’t happen and one that did. How often do you see a QB go up against several defensive linemen and come out with the ball (and, physically intact)? The mis-snap between center and Brady early in the game at the Patriots line could have been devastating. Brady dove down and amazingly came out of the pile with the rock. Absolutely unbelievable play. Then, with the game completely balanced and at a point where it could have gone either way, the Patriots special teams came up with that massive fumble recovery off a Patriots punt. From that point on it was all Patriots.
Act like you have been here before II
Patriots defensive lineman Andre Carter was nothing short of sensational last night, with four thunderous solo sacks. Fascinatingly, on the last two, with the Jets driving and desperately trying to claw back into the game, Carter sacked Sanchez, stood up, and jogged back into position. Ray Lewis would still be celebrating those final two sacks. Carter led by example and put his team ahead of personal celebration. I wonder did the Jets learn anything from that?