All season long, the Patriots offense has shown the ability to put up at least 30 points up on the board against some of the best defenses the NFL has to offer. The Patriots have arguably the best weapons to make this offense go, all orchestrated by quarterback Tom Brady.
Brady rolled through the likes of the Ravens, Steelers, Chargers, Packers, Bears, and yes even a certain New York team once, putting up between 28 and 38 points against them. All of these teams ranked in the top 10 in the NFL in total defense.
Tonight, that certain New York team showed the Patriots that they were not going to be rolled over again. Of course I'm talking about the Jets, who limited Brady and the offense to 21 points in the Jets 28-21 win over New England. 21 points may seem like a lot, but it's like being shutout to the Patriots offense.
Not to mention, the Jets defense is now the proud owner of three of Brady's five total interceptions, as his 391 consecutive pass attempts without an interception came to end when David Harris came up with a poorly thrown ball by Brady, setting up the Jets inside their own 20 yard line.
The Jets combined for a total of five sacks on Tom Brady, and limiting his little foot soldiers (as Welker likes to put it) to under 100 yards receiving each. The Jets flat out dominated the Patriots on Sunday night, and here is how they did it:
The Jets Defense Applied A Lot Of Pressure On Brady
It seemed that most of the time, the Jets front seven were winning the battle against the Patriots offensive linemen. It seemed that all game long, that the right side of the Patriots offensive line, which included Dan Connolly and Sebastian Vollmer was outplayed by Shaun Ellis and Sione Pouha on the Jets defensive front.
Ellis was arguably the Jets most valuable player on defense, as he beat Connolly and Vollmer on the inside on several occasions and accounted for two of New York's five sacks against Brady. Ellis was also able to take advantage of an injured Dan Koppen, who accounted for one of Ellis' two sacks.
For the exception a few plays, the offensive line did a good job at giving Brady some time, however Brady was not able to get rid of it as his offensive protection collapsed, which made it hard for him all game. You can simply argue that it was all on Brady when given the necessary time to get rid of the ball.
The Jets also broke out their famous blitzes, as they sent outside linebackers Jason Taylor and Calvin Pace on numerous blitzes, as they accounted for two quarterback hits, a sack, and a forced fumble. Drew Coleman also came on a few corner blitzes for the Jets as well, as he got to Brady once.
In the Patriots Week 13 victory over the Jets, the Jets defense executed only three successful blitzes, which allowed Brady to have the necessary time to make decisions and the right throws. The Jets defense certainly dialed up the right plays at the right time on Sunday night.
Arguably Brady's favorite two targets, rookie tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez were virtually non-factors on Sunday night, as they combined for five receptions for 69 yards and no touchdowns.
Brady had been targeting Gronkowski a lot, especially in their last three games. Gronkowski combined for four touchdowns and New England's last four regular season. Hernandez, meanwhile was Brady favorite target when facing the Jets, as he combined for nine receptions for 162 yards and a touchdown against New York. Virtually both were a non-factor, which hurt the Patriots offense.
Hernandez had missed the last few games of the season with a hip injury, so it's quite possible that Hernandez wasn't fully healthy, which hindered his ability to get down the field for possible big play opportunities.
Gronkowski, meanwhile didn't have a horrible game, but was kept out of the endzone by the Jets safeties. However when the Patriots made it to the redzone, Gronkowski was blanketed in coverage, as Brady was able to find Alge Crumpler, the Patriots third tight end in the endzone.
Hernandez's big play ability is what killed the Jets defense throughout the season, as he was able to win the matchup against the Patriots safeties. Even with Brodney Pool having a lingering injury, he and Eric Smith were able to keep Hernandez from having the big games he's had in the past.
The Jets Cornerbacks Came Up With Big Plays When It Mattered
The Patriots receivers were not necessarily shut out, they were just shut out on key third down and fourth down plays the forced them to give the ball back to the Jets.
On a critical fourth down conversion that Tom Brady and company had to make late in the fourth quarter, Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie was able to battle Deion Branch just enough for him to not see the ball. This conversion was critical to any possible New England comeback, as the turnover on downs led to the Jets getting the ball, and taking off about two minutes off the clock.
There were also several occasions throughout the game where the Jets secondary would make good plays to break up Brady passes.
Darrelle Revis was really not as dominant as he was last week against the Colts, but he was able to hold Wes Welker out of the end zone. Revis was the corner that was responsible for Branch's late touchdown, but he played just enough in order to force Tom Brady to make tough throws.
The Jets stepped up their coverage late in the game, as there were several instances where every Patriots receiver was covered, and Brady would be forced to throw the ball away or into tight space.
The Jets defense certainly performed very well against the NFL's best quarterback and MVP-hopeful Tom Brady. The Jets took round one, the Patriots took round two, and when it all counted, the Jets were able to limit the productiveness of Brady, and deliver the knockout punch
We'll see you next year, Jets fans