Game. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
The Patriots straight up lost the game. The Jets took advantage of every mistake the Patriots made and didn't make any of their own. The Patriots couldn't protect Tom Brady early on and when they could, the Jets had terrific coverage on the receivers. The Jets ran the ball when it counted and the Patriots couldn't produce on their own. Brady couldn't connect with Rob Gronkowski or Aaron Hernandez and Alge Crumpler dropped a would-be touchdown early on. Brady threw his first interception in a long time and the offense never clicked. Wes Welker was benched for his comments during the week. The Patriots played too slowly during the fourth quarter to finish a comeback as the Jets slowed down the whole game.
The Jets defense destroyed the Patriots offense.
The Jets offense took advantage of the young Patriots defense.
The Jets offense took advantage of the terrific field position their special teams unit gave them.
The Patriots were outplayed. They weren't ready for this game. They strayed away from what made them successful (the tight ends) and tried to challenge Darrelle Revis. The offense seemed so simple at times as the unique offensive sets that took Revis out of the game in Week 13 never happened. The Patriots never got into a groove as the Jets defense stopped everything that the Patriots could throw.
For a second season in a row, the Patriots go one-and-done in the playoffs. However, this young squad has a bright future and gives us all a reason to be excited next season. Devin McCourty, apart from one touchdown by Braylon Edwards, played excellently, although Pat Chung was consistently exploited as the nickelback. Injuries along the defensive line and outside linebacking core definitely hurt the Patriots as the game wore on and the Jets began to run at will. On offense, Brady just didn't seem to be on the same page as all of his receivers as they would turn to the opposite shoulder that he would throw towards and that they would drop easy throws.
Congratulations to the New York Jets for being the better team on Sunday.
On to the off-season.
Look for the Patriots address: offensive line, defensive line and the outside linebacker position.