It's Friday on a short week. We're likely all still recovering from our various Memorial Day activities, and another gorgeous weekend is staring us all right in the face. Nobody is getting any work done today, and that's just reality. So we may as well continue out countdown of the Most Memorable Patriots Moments of 2014. And with all of this hubbub surrounding another number 12, it seems fitting that we're currently sitting at the 12 spot right now.
The list so far:
20. wins a job - and our hearts - with a spectacular preseason.
19. officially arrives in a Week 6 contest against the .
18. The get embarrassed on national television with a 41-14 beatdown at the hands of the .
17. The Patriots sign .
16. Vince Wilfork and Jamie Collins help the Patriots lock up a 1st round bye against the New York Jets.
15. Chandler Jones blocks a Blair Walsh field goal attempt against the Minnesota Vikings to keep the momentum with the Patriots.
14. Rob Gronkowski officially returns to form as the Patriots destroy the Chicago Bears.
13. Darrelle Revis shuts down Calvin Johnson as the Patriots stomp the Lions.
Number 12 takes us back into the division for a nice little bit of payback for some absolute nonsense that happened last year.
12. Chris Jones finds redemption in the form of a last second blocked field goal against the New York Jets.
For better or worse, the bi-annual showdown between the Patriots and Jets has more or less once again become the rivalry game of old where skill, ability, records, and home field advantage goes right out the window in lieu of a hard-fought, ugly showdown usually decided by one or two crucial plays. Save for a certain Thanksgiving Day game that will forever go down in history, every single Pats/Jets game since 2012 has come down to a field goal or less. And when the Jets came to Foxboro on October 17th for the first showdown of 2014, nobody had any reason to think that game would be any different.
The game couldn't have started much better for New England; a touchback, a 24 yard pass to Brandon LaFell, and then a 49 yard Tommy B to Shane Vereen bomb on a blown coverage where Vereen made a spectacular diving catch for the score. Less than two minutes into the game, the Pats were up 7-0.
Geno Smith, however, for reasons unknown, decided that he was going to go ahead and have himself a game that day, He took the Jets 76 yards on 12 plays, taking seven minutes off the clock, and only had to settle for a field goal because an offensive holding penalty nullified a Jeremy Kerley touchdown. New England went three and out on their next possession, and then Geno took the offense 46 yards on another 10 plays to set up another field goal. The Patriots ran eight plays in the first quarter to the Jets 22. Other than that Vereen pass, it was all New York so far.
Another New England punt to start the second, and back the Jets came. The ground game chewed up yards, but 12 plays later, once again the D stiffened up and it was time for another Nick Folk FG. Despite absolutely dominating the time of possession, the Jets simply couldn't punch it in. New England, however, finally got their act together offensively, as Tommy B was able to put an 80 yard drive together that saw Vereen in the end zone for the second time that day. Of course, the Jets once again answered with a field goal, and New England then put up 3 of their own to close out the half. 17-12 after two, which many people thought wasn't totally reflective of who the better team was that day.
New York received the 2nd half kickoff, and not wanting to break the streak of double digit play drives, Geno went 80 yards in 11 plays with Chris Ivory finally putting the Jets in the end zone to give New York their first lead of the day. The Patriots, needing a strong answering drive, looked to Vereen and Edelman to move the ball from the New England 29 all the way to the Jets 18 before the offense stalled and Gostkowski put the Pats back on top. The teams traded punts on their next two possessions (New York's first of the day) and the Patriots entered the fourth quarter up by one.
Very little offense was generated as the game wound down; neither team could get anything going, and both defenses stiffened up. Brady finally hit paydirt on a 3rd and goal pass to Danny Amendola from the 19 to put New England up by eight with less than eight minutes to go, but the way the game was going, nobody had any idea if that would be enough to ice it.
As it turns out, 12 plays, 86 yards, and five minutes spelled another Jets touchdown, this one to Jeff Cumberland to put the Jets a two point conversion away from tying it. The attempt failed, leaving the Patriots clinging to a two point lead with just over two minutes to go. The Jets had one timeout left, as well as the two minute warning, but other than that they couldn't stop the clock. A single first down would seal the game.
A Vereen run for no gain. Time out, Jets. A Vereen run for a loss of three. Two minute warning. A Jonas Gray run for four yards. Punt. Jets ball at the 12 with 1:25 to play and no timeouts.
An eight yard pass to Chris Jonson. An 11 yard pass to Johnson again. 11 more yards to David Nelson. 13 yards to Kerley. A short pass to Ivory. An incomplete pass intended for Kerley, and the Jets found themselves on the New England 40 with five seconds to play. Nick Folk came on to make a 58 yard attempt to win the game. A long kick, but certainly doable; Folk has one of the stronger legs in the game, he's extremely accurate, and he had put everything right down the middle for the entirety of the matchup. The Patriots brought their field goal blocking unit onto the field, and the game was about to be decided.
Flash back to Week 7 of 2013. It's once again Pats/Jets, this time in New York, and Rob Gronkowski makes his season debut after being held out the first six weeks to ensure he was 100% healthy. In what was once again a back-and forth game decided by a last-minute field goal, we were all introduced to an interesting NFL rule:
Team B players not at the line of scrimmage at the snap cannot push players at the line of scrimmage into the offensive formation.
Courtesy of that rule, Chris Jones found himself as somewhat of a goat that week, as he became the only player in league history to be called for that penalty and turned a missed attempt into 15 yards, a 1st down, and a gimme kick to give the Jets a win.
Back to 2014. Folk is once again on the field, with the chance to win it, and the Patriots are once again lined up for the block. Just before the snap, the entire line bunches inward to focus pressure on the middle of the formation. At the snap, the Patriots crash the line and get a good first step. As he has so many times in the past, Vince Wilfork pushed hard into the middle as Chris Jones stunted over and through to his left. Jones didn't get the push the Wilfork did, but the big man's penetration gave him a wide, clear lane in which to put his hands up. He jumped just as Folk made contact with the ball, and got his full left hand on it to knock it wide and well short. Game over.
It's always great to get a win on a Thursday night coming off a short week. It's especially great when that win is your third straight and comes against a division rival. And that it ended on a blocked field goal that allowed the man who cost the Patriots a win last year to get some redemption and make a huge play is a great cap on it all. This was definitely one of those games that kept you on the edge of your seat the entire time, and when Folk lined up for that final FG attempt, you just knew he was going to make it. When Chris Jones made that block, it was just excitement and relief all around, as well as a nice mini bye-week that allowed us all to relax and recover.
Full game highlights here.
See the final play here.