We’re just minutes away from kickoff here at Giants Stadium, as the Jets look to take down Tom Brady and the New England Patriots at home for the first time since 2000. I’ll be blogging the action live throughout the game, from score updates to updates on how the key matchups are playing out. So be sure to check back throughout the day for all your inside information.
12:50 PM: Heading into kickoff, I’m interested to see how a fired up Jets team handles their emotions in the early going. There is a such thing as being too fired up for a game – your emotions can take over, causing you to become reckless and stray from the game plan. This is an important game for this team, but they need to stay within themselves emotionally and stay disciplined against a team of the Patriots’ caliber.
12:55 PM: In typical Rex Ryan fashion, it’s the defense who is introduced for player introductions. The crowd has clearly taken the pleas from Coach Ryan to be loud today to heart – it might be week one, but the Gang Green faithful is in midseason form.
1:00 PM: The Jets have won the toss and have deferred – looks like they want to set the tone in the opening series on the defensive side of the ball. Got to like the confidence of the group that wants to “embarass” Tom Brady and the Patriots offense. On the humorous side, quarterback Kevin O’Connell, released by the Pats earlier in the preseason and signed by the Jets, was picked as a team captain for today’s game.
1:05 PM: The defense holds on a third and seven on their own 37 yard line. The Pats’ offensive line had done a nice job protecting Brady during the series, warding off several Jets blitzes. But Bart Scott sprung free on the third down play, disrupting the throw and knocking Brady to the ground, forcing a punt.
1:09 PM: It’s time to see how Mark Sanchez reacts to a Bill Belicheck defense, as the offense takes the field for their first series of the day. I’ve been in the stands for big football games before, but I’ve never heard a crowd this loud this early in a game – every defensive play, the roar was more deafening then the one before.
1:11 PM: The Pats greet Sanchez with a hit on the Jets first offensive play from scrimmage, forcing a fumble and a 17-yard loss. They’re going to be coming after him all day long, so if the Jets want to move the ball, the offensive line is going to have to do a better job protecting, and #6 must get the ball out quickly.
1:19 PM: The D holds, forcing a three-and-out. The Pats looked very out of synch in that series, completing only one pass. Jets defenders are getting into the backfield regularly, forcing quick throws from Brady. The offense is going to need to move the ball if the Jets are going to have a shot – it’s only a matter of time before the Pats capitalize if they get the ball at midfield every possession.
1:23 PM: Leon Washington coughs up the ball on first down, but Rex Ryan has thrown the red flag and challenged the call. The Jets have lost the challenge, and the Pats take over on the Jets 18. If this team is going to pull off the upset, misques like this can’t happen. Giving Brady and the offense a free trip to the Red Zone is a recipe for disaster.
1:30 PM: The Jets defense holds, as holding penalties move the Pats out of the Red Zone. Steven Gostkowski nails a 45-yard field goal, giving the Pats an early 3-0 lead.
Something to keep an eye on: The Pats have been going to a no-huddle offense at times, making it tough for the Jets to get the right personnel on the field. Whether or not this will prove effective remains to be seen, but it’s an interesting wrinkle to watch as the game progresses.
1:36 PM: If the Jets are to have any shot in this game, they’re going to have to start converting on third downs. The offense is already 0-2 on third down conversions. The unit is struggling to find it’s rhythm early on, but with the defense playing this well, they might not need much to put the team in position to win.
1:40 PM: I know it’s Randy Moss out there, but honestly, is there ever a good time to challenge Darrelle Revis on the outside? The Jets corner just made a ridiculous interception on a long pass down the sideline to Moss, halting a Pats drive. I think it’s safe to say this guy is one of the elite corners in the game, and is on the verge of entering “we don’t throw to his side of the field” territory.
1:45 PM: At the end of the first quarter, it’s Pats 3, Jets 0. The Jets offense stalled yet again on third down, making it 0-3 for the afternoon on third downs. The offense looks totally out of rhythm, and they’re going to have to start putting together sustained drives in order to give the defense a blow on the sidelines. The longer the defense is out on the field, the more worn down they become, and that’s when Brady and the Pats offense can go to work.
1:52 PM: On this trip to the Red Zone, the Pats have begun moving wide receiver Randy Moss around in hopes of creating mismatches; he’s lined up both in the slot and on the outside on back-to-back plays. It doesn’t help on this series, as Brady misses a golden opportunity for six, over-throwing Edelman on third down. Gostkowski strokes a 25-yard field goal, giving the Pats a 6-0 cushion.
The Jets are fortunate to be only down six at this point. Their offense has been nonexistent, and the defense has played bend-but-don’t break football. The offense has to put something substantial together to give the D a rest.
If you’re scoring at home, the Jets have knocked Tom Brady to the ground three times so far today, halfway to validating Kerry Rhodes’ claim that the group would be hitting him more than six times in today’s contest.
2:00 PM: You might be wondering who this Edelman guy that’s become the focal point of the Pats’ offense today is. A rookie wideout from Kent State, the 6’0″ Edelman has taken on the roll of Wes Welker’s understudy, and so far has done an outstanding job. He’s caught three balls for 47 yards so far, including a 29-yarder.
2:05 PM: A ten-play, 52-yard scoring drive is exactly what this offense needed. With Thomas Jones running the rock, Gang Green moved down the field and into the Pats’ Red Zone before stalling out. Jay Feely connects on a 33-yard field goal, cutting the Pats’ lead in half and leaving the score at 6-3.
Pats safety Brandon Meriweather has left the game with an ankle injury, and his return is questionable. This is a significant blow for the Pats defense – Meriweather is an up-and-coming safety who is a big part of what New England does on defense. Keep an eye on how the Pats pass defense does with him out of the lineup.
2:12: PM: Cornerback Lito Sheppard has left the game with a quad injury. His return is questionable – look for the Pats to start exploiting his absense with more looks to wide receiver Joey Galloway.
2:23 PM: Brady leads the Pats on a 14-play, 79 yard drive taking 5:42 off the clock. The drive ends with another trip to the Red Zone for New England, with the Jets defense holding in the half’s final seconds. Gostkowski connected on his third field goal of the day, a 25-yarder that gives the Pats a 9-3 lead heading into the half.
The defense is getting less and less pressure on Tom Brady, which is not a good sign for the second half. He’s starting to settle in and get comfortable in the pocket – he’s surveying the field and picking apart the defense much better than in the early going.
At the half, the score is Pats 9, Jets 3.
2:39 PM: We’re set to go for the second half, with the Jets receiving the kickoff. If Gang Green wants to win this game, they’re going to need more than a 3-5 for 15 yards performance out of their quarterback.
2:40 PM: And right on cue, Sanchez delivers a strike to Jerricho Cotchery for a 45 yard gain, bring the ball to the Pats’ ten yard line.
What’s getting lost in the shuffle is the impact Leon Washington is having on this game. He’s had two outstanding returns so far today, his latest coming on the opening kickoff of the second half, which put the Jets nearly at midfield to open the series. He hasn’t been much of a factor in the running game as of yet, but the guy can do so many different things, it’s almost impossible to not have any impact on a game.
2:43 PM: Sanchez caps a three-play, 56-yard drive with a beautiful floater to tight end Dustin Keller, who tucked both feet inbounds as he fell out the back of the endzone for the game’s first touchdown. Feely added the extra point, putting the Jets in front 10-9.
This is the kind of drive we’ve been waiting for all day from the Jets offense. If they can start moving the ball and exploiting the loss of Meriweather in the secondary, we could see New York pull away.
2:47 PM: The Pats are unable to move the ball, with their patented screen play to the slot receiver getting blown up by cornerback Donald Strickland.
The Jets once again have great field position after the punt team got into the backfield for the second time today, forcing the second shanked punt of the afternoon for New England.
It’s time to see whether or not this team has developed the killer instinct all good clubs possess. This drive could put the Jets up eight points in the third quarter, and help put the Patriots on the ropes.
2:57 PM: We’re awaiting ruling on a potentially huge play in the game. After driving the ball to the Pats’ six yard-line, Sanchez moved to his right on a designed rollout, and lofted a ball to Chansi Stuckey along the sidelines in the end zone. Stuckey made an unbelievable catch, and appeared to get both feet in bounds for the score.
Belicheck has challenged the play, and the ruling on the field has been overturned, setting up a third and goal.
3:01 PM: A golden opportunity goes by the boards for the Jets. After making a great audible call at the line, Sanchez overthrows a wide open Stuckey in the back of the end zone, missing an easy six points. Feely comes on and caps the 11-play, 49-yard drive with a 24-yard field goal, widening the gap to 13-9 Jets.
If you’re going to beat a team like the Patriots, you need to make every trip to the Red Zone count, and can’t let opportunities, especially easy ones, go to waste. Hopefully taking three instead of six won’t hurt Gang Green as the game wears on.
3:09 PM: The Jets faithful have used an injury timeout to let Tom Brady know just how they feel about him. “Bra-dy Sucks!” chants rained down on the QB from the stands as Donald Strickland was helped off the field with an injury.
3:13 PM: Back-to-back Delay of Game penalties for the Pats. The crowd noise is getting to Brady and the Pats offense – that’s three Delay of Game penalties thus far. The violations move the Pats out of field goal range, setting up another opportunity for Sanchez and the Jets offense to put the Pats on the ropes.
3:21 PM: Huge play for Sanchez on third and 13 from his own 12. Avoiding the rush, he found Leon Washington over the middle for a 13-yard gain, moving the chains and giving Gang Green just their second third down conversion of the day. Most importantly, it moved the club out of the shadows of their own goal posts, shifting field position.
3:23 PM: At the end of three, it’s Jets 13, Pats 9. The Jets are moving the ball as the fourth quarter begins, and a score here could put the Pats behind the eight ball late in the game.
3:32 PM: A 14-play, 63 yards drive chews up 8:21 of clock, resulting in a 40-yard Jay Feely field goal that puts the Jets up 16-9. With under ten minutes remaining, it’s time for a defense that’s been rock-solid all day long to make a stand.
3:42 PM: A huge stand on 3rd and 1 for the Jets. Bart Scott and David Harris broke through the line to stuff Pats running back Fred Taylor, forcing a punt. The fourth delay of game penalty of the game follows, pushing the Pats back another five yards. A nice return by Jim Leonhard puts the Jets at their own 45.
They’ve got a chance to put the game away, let’s see if they can capitalize.
3:48 PM: A conservative approach on the offensive series results in another third down conversion opportunity not converted for the Jets, as Sanchez missed tight end Dustin Keller on an out route.
They’ve given Tom Brady five minutes of clock to orchestrate a game-tying drive. Hopefully it doesn’t come back to haunt them.
3:53 PM: The defense holds, pressure Brady on nearly every play from scrimmage on the drive. With 3:49 to play, the Pats will punt again.
With perhaps one more possession left for the Pats offense, Randy Moss has just four catches for 24 yards. This is the second consecutive premier receiver Darrelle Revis has shut down, begging the question, is there a better corner in the league right now?
3:56 PM: You could feel the rafters shake as Leon Washington broke the first play of the drive for a 19-yard scamper. The crowd is starting to feel it with 2:41 to go.
3:59 PM: A potentially disastrous play results in a huge sack for New England, with Ty Warren applying the pressure. We’re at the Two Minute Warning, with the Pats about to get the ball back with no timeouts.
4:07 PM: Ballgame. Brady’s fourth and ten pass is broken up by cornberback Dwight Lowery, securing a 16-9 victory. Mark Sanchez takes a knee to run the clock out, as the Jets move to 2-0 on the season.
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