I really did not want to write this article. I really hoped that the outcome this past Sunday would have been different and I would be writing a bragging, celebratory post boasting about New England's failures and dangling first place over their heads. Sadly, that eternal itch I can't scratch, Tom Brady, did it again. God, I hate him. While the Jets fell 29-26 in an overtime heart breaker to the Patriots, all was not lost. Yes, a win's a win and a loss is a loss. I'm not one for moral victories, they don't affect the standings so they don't count. However, Sunday's battle in Foxborough proved one thing to the world: these are not the same untouchable Patriots that we've come to expect throughout the Brady/Belichick era. Of course Pats fans like to think nothing's changed, but it has.
After the defense forced Brady into a quick 3 and out, the Jets offense took the field. A confident and surprisingly calm Mark Sanchez gathered and instructed his offensive in a way we haven't seen since the 2010 season. Sanchez connected with Jeremy Kerley twice for fifty yards as they drove down the field. At only 6:09 into the first quarter, Shonn Greene rushed into the endzone and put up the first points on the board for either team. It's those rare glimmers of greatness that keep Jets fans and staff in the constant love/hate struggle with the quarterback.
Before I was even done bragging to all of my friends up in Boston, (cons of going to UMass, too many Massholes,) Devin McCourty, born in the same hospital as yours truly (Nyack, NY represent,) returned the kick off to the house. Just like that the game was back to even again and we were barely halfway through the first quarter. From there it seemed like it'd be another one of those days. A touchdown, an ugly penalty on Sanchez resulting in a safety, potentially Sanchez's worst interception later, and the Jets found themselves down 16-7 with thirteen minutes remaining before halftime. Plenty of time. The Jets had deferred possession when they won the opening coin toss, brilliant plan. All the Jets needed was a quick score before the half and it would be a brand new game.
The Jets made their way down the field, but just couldn't pull out the seven point in the end and capped an impressive drive with a mediocre three points. After half was a different story. Sanchez came out completely re-energized going 16/20 for 190 yards and a touchdown. At the end of 60 minutes, it just was not enough for these two bitter rivals. Although my heart was just about to give out, to overtime we went. The Pats winning the toss was a dark sign. The Jets defense was on. Of course there were a few bogus calls and ugly penalties throughout the game, but what else is new, they're still the Jets. Brady drove down the field with the help of a garbage pass interference call on Kyle Wilson; the closest ref to the play watched and called an incomplete pass while the ref 20 yards away threw a flag? Give me a break. Anyway, somehow they were held to three points. Three points means that the Jets had the opportunity to match or beat that to continue or end the game on their own terms. Sanchez drove again to their own 40 yard line. That's when everything went dark. Sanchez was strip sacked on 2nd and 10 by defensive end Rob Ninkovich. That was it. The end.
It didn't matter that Sanchez had an impressive day completing 28 of 41 passes for 328 yards and two touchdowns. It didn't matter that even without Darelle Revis, Santonio Holmes, and Bilal Powell that the Jets had brought the once mighty Patriots to fight for their life in overtime. The Patriots beat us, pretty fairly and squarely too. Now it's all about Thanksgiving. If the same mediocre Pats that showed up to Foxborough on Sunday show up in the Meadowlands on Thanksgiving night in front of a relentless crowd of Jets, they're going down. That's a promise.