Best and worst: Jets 26, Patriots 20
WORST sight to see
The Patriots are playing football, which means the Patriots are getting injured. And they wasted no time in doing so on Sunday when, on the very first drive of the game, offensive lineman Sebastian Vollmer went down with a lower left leg injury. Vollmer had his leg rolled up on in the pile after a Joey Iosefa run for no gain. It's obviously a huge blow to a Patriots offense already suffering from injuries.
WORST look on offense
When Tom Brady lines up out wide, everybody stops what they're doing. Brady is not, after all, the best option at wide receiver, even if the Pats are extra thin this week with both Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola out. But it turns out Brady was just a decoy, because there was no plan to throw the ball his way --- or any way. On third-and-1, the Pats ended up snapping the ball to Brandon Bolden for a little Wildcat offense. Unfortunately, it didn't work out. (Shocking, since the Wildcat has so much long-standing success in the league . . . ) Bolden got back to the line of scrimmage and forced Bill Belichick into a big decision on whether or not to go for it. He went for it. This time, the Patriots had success as Brady dumped one off to James White that he turned into a 13-yard gain.
BEST way to keep it interesting
The drive finished with Stephen Gostkowski kicking a 35-yard field goal, but in this case it was how the Patriots got to that. Their 12-play drive included a jet sweep, a flea flicker (that they didn't convert), a reverse handoff, and the previously-mentioned Wildcat run. You can't exactly say that these plays have been very effective, but they've got to at least be keeping the Jets guessing out there. I know the rest of us are guessing . . .
BEST former Patriots wide receiver
Kenbrell Thompkins was once a New England Patriots wide receiver. The Patriots could use him on a day like today, too. But unfortunately for them, he's on the other side. And the Jets have made a point to go to him, targeting Leonard Johnson in the process. Thompkins had three catches for 30 yards in the first half, but two of those catches went for first downs on a drive that ended in a Jets touchdown.
WORST way to end the half
Talk. About. Being. Flat. I want you to read this paragraph in complete monotone, because that's how the Patriots are playing right now. They're lacking in just about every aspect of the game and Ryan Fitzpatrick connected with Brandon Marshall in the end zone with 1:57 left in the first half to give the Jets a 10-3 lead. That seemed like enough time for the Patriots to at least try to work a two-minute offense, right? Wrong. Instead, the Patriots did some weird kind of running out of the clock in shotgun formation, as Brady completed all three passes. They didn't use their timeouts, either. Let's just pretend this first half of football never happened.
AHHHHHHHHHH! Of course Darrelle Revis would pick off Tom Brady. That's just how this game has been going for New England. But this one is on Brady and Gronk. There was some serious miscommunication going on between the two as Brady fired in Gronk's direction. Gronk was running towards the middle of the field, and Brady fired it well behind him and into the arms of Revis. Had the Patriots just signed Revis in the offseason, that wouldn't have happened. Kidding, kidding.
WORST third down defense
It's 3rd-and-11 at the Patriots 33-yard line, as the Jets look to make the Patriots pay for that interception. Fitzpatrick drops back and fires one into the end zone to Marshall, yet again. The Jets now take a commanding 17-3 lead as Marshall is having his way against a depleted Patriots secondary today. Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung, you are missed.
BEST way to revitalize the team
The Patriots once again settled for a field goal, still unable to put together a complete touchdown drive in this game. But it was actually the Pats defense that found the end zone first. With the Jets receiving ball on the ensuing drive, Fitzpatrick was sacked on third-and-5 from the Jets' 25-yard line and coughed up the football. Jamie Collins picked it up at the 14-yard line and barreled his way into the end zone, stiff-arming a defender out of his way in the process. And just like that, the Patriots have life, down 17-13.
The Patriots are desperately trying to tie up this game in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. On 4th-and-1 from the Jets 44-yard line, Brady hit Gronkowski for eight yards to extend the drive. After a failed 3rd-and-9, Brady turned to his most reliable option once again, this time finding Gronk deep down the middle for 26 yards. That set up a first-and-goal as the two-minute warning hit.
BEST Pass-catching running back in the NFL?
I said it last week, I'll say it again. Is Jimmy White the GOAT??? Maybe not yet, but the dude did just catch another touchdown pass. To be honest, anybody with functioning arms could have scored a touchdown there. Not sure what the Jets were thinking on that one - just leave White open and maybe Brady won't see him? It was too easy. Pretty ridiculous that the Patriots tied this game up when it feels the Jets have been dominating since the opening kickoff.
WORST coin toss ever
Whaaaaaaaaaat? WHAAAAAAAAAT?????? The Patriots won the toss in overtime and elected to kick. You read that right. Perhaps the Patriots really did want to kick, but Matthew Slater went about it in the wrong way by choosing to kick instead of choosing which side he wanted to defend. That meant the Patriots were not only defending to start, but that the Jets were throwing with the wind at their backs. Not ideal. Disastrous, actually. Huge blunder on the Patriots part it appears.
WORST way to end the game, or was it? . . .
It took just five plays for the Jets to go 80 yards and win the game. They got a big 48-yard gain on a Fitzpatrick pass to Quincy Enunwa and then another 20-yard pass to Marshall. That set up a six-yard touchdown pass to Eric Decker for the win. It means the Jets put themselves into position for a playoff berth. It ALSO means the Steelers are out. Many thought the Steelers would pose the greatest threat to the Patriots in the playoffs -- if they made the playoffs. But with the Steelers losing and the Jets winning, the Steelers now need help to just get to the postseason. Hmmmmmmmmm . . .