Patriots Demolish Jets
'Perfect Game' Remains Elusive
Eighteen more just like that, please.
A casual fan watching the New England pummel the New York Jets, 38-14, might think Patriots head coach Bill Belichick finally experienced the elusive "perfect game."
Tom Brady completed 22 of 28 passes for 297 yards and 3 touchdowns. He had a league-best 146.6 passer rating (excepting LaDanian Tomlinson who threw only one pass).
Five different players scored touchdowns, including Ellis Hobbs who returned the opening kickoff of the second half for an NFL record 108 yards. The Patriots committed no turnovers.
Newcomer Randy Moss, who didn't play a down in preseason, caught a team-high 9 receptions for 183 yards and a spectacular 51-yard touchdown, the likes of which Patriots fans have never seen -- maybe ever.
Sunday's game was Moss's third career-best single-game performance. For Brady, it's the most passing yards he's ever completed to one receiver in a single game.
Laurence Maroney and Sammy Morris combined for 126 yards and averaged 4.1 yards per carry.
The defense gave up just 60 yards rushing. They sacked Jets quarterbacks five times (Kellen Clemens once).
New England Patriots running back Sammy Morris powers through New York Jets
AP photo courtesy: boston.com
New England dominated a division opponent on the road -- in all three phases of the game.
But Belichick himself refuted the "perfect game" concept in his postgame press conference.
"Certainly some things could have been better," Belichick said. "It's one game, it doesn't really mean much. There is a long way to go. We haven't clinched anything. ... A lot of corrections we need to make from today. We need to move on and get better."
He said more good things than bad, and rightly so. The Patriots did play very well.
But there were imperfections. There was the botched hold by Matt Cassel on the Patriots field goal attempt. There was Welker's drop of a wide open 3rd-down conversion.
There were penalties: The illegal touch by Willie Andrews on punt coverage (explained today as "a player" going out of bounds and being the first to touch the ball). There was Junior Seau getting caught for encroachment on 3rd-and-1 early in the second quarter. There was offside on an undisclosed player flagged for offside with the Jets 1st-and-goal at the 2. And Ben Watson was called for offside in the last 2 minutes of the game.
There was Asante Samuel giving up a touchdown on a Chad Pennington pass to Laveranues Coles on the same exact play run the snap previous.
All in all, it's nice to have these fixable problems.
Patriots kick returner Ellis Hobbs checks over his
Reuters photo courtesy: boston.com
New England got off to an acceptable start. The defense gave up a couple first downs before stopping the Jets just past midfield.
Brady and company then wasted no time marching 91 yards on 12 plays in just 5: 39. Maroney ran the Patriots first three snaps for 21 yards, taking on 7 more after a 9-yard Brady completion to Welker. Three more plays of 10-plus yards, a 2-yard run and an incomplete pass, and Brady hit Welker on a play everyone in the stadium could see before it happened (and that's without videotaped signal stealing) for the season-opening drive touchdown.
The defense solidified, disallowing New York another first down until nearly midway through the second quarter. When the Jets scored with 4:20 left in the half, it looked like it might be a game.
But New England struck back immediately, streaking 73 yards on 9 plays in just 3:08, Brady threading a pass to Ben Watson in traffic in the back of the end zone. Brady scrambled for a 1st down on 3rd-and-2 and hit Moss for 33 during the drive.
It got ugly (for the Jets) quickly in the second half. Hobbs returned the half-opening kickoff for 6, and the Patriots D barely let New York past the 50 again. It was only five plays when Moss showed what he can do when he has a great quarterback throwing to him, and Brady showed what he can do when he has a great receiver catching passes.
Pennington came back from what appeared to be a season-threatening injury to lead New York to another touchdown, but the outcome was academic by then. New England added a Stephen Gostkowski field goal and a Heath Evans 1-yard plunge to make the Patriots 7-0 against the Jets in New Jersey in the Brady Era.
New York had little opportunity to do much then, anyway. New England chewed up 12 and a half minutes of the final quarter.
Notes: According to the guys who have access to the Elias Sports Bureau, Moss' 183 yards were the most by a Patriots receiver since Oct. 3, 1999 when Terry Glenn set the franchise record with 214. While with Minnesota, Moss posted totals of 190 yards (at Green Bay, Oct. 5, 1998) and 204 (at Chicago, Nov. 14, 1999). Moss has played 139 regular-season games.
Brady's 51-yard connection with Moss was the 150th passing touchdown of Brady's career.
Who was the Week 1 player of the game?
This poll is closed
Mike Vrabel (6 solo tackles, 1 assist, 2.5 sacks, forced fumble)
Randy Moss (9 catches, 183 yds, 51-yd TD)
Ellis Hobbs (108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown)
Jarvis Green (5 solo tackles, 1 assist, 2.0 sacks)
Tom Brady (22 of 28, 297 yds, 3 TD)