It started rather benignly, with a scoreless first quarter, as the New York Jets hosted the New England Patriots on Thanksgiving night at MetLife Stadium.But things went off the rails for the Jets after that and the Patriots took thewin, 49-19.
At the end of the first quarter, which was the first time the Patriotshaven’t had a first quarter score all season and during which K SteveGostkowski missed a 39-yard field goal (his sixth miss of the year),Patriots S Steve Gregory picked off a pass by QB Mark Sanchez intendedfor RB Bilal Powell. On the next drive, at the top of the secondquarter, WR Wes Welker scored off a pass from QB Tom Brady.
At that point, it all fell apart for the Jets (4-7) and the Patriots (8-3) profited.
First, Gregory recovered a fumble by Jets RB Shonn Greene, whichlaunched bizarrely in the air. On the next play, Patriots QB Tom Brady (18-28, 323yards, 3 touchdowns) threw an 83-yard touchdown pass to RB ShaneVereen . On the ensuing Jets offensive drive, Sanchez, after a badsnap, inexplicably ran into the backside of RG Brandon Moore andfumbled. Sanchez, who was 26-36 for 301 yards with a touchdown andan interception, called running into Moore a “mental error” and badluck. “I was thinking a different play in my head,” he said, adding that hewas trying to get down but slid into Moore.
Once again, it was Gregory on the fumble recovery, and this time hetook it in 23 yards for a touchdown.
That made for three Patriots touchdowns in 52 seconds.
“I’ve never seen it beforepersonally,” Vereen said. “But that’s whathappens when you play hard.”
Gregory said: “It was a good one for me today. Some ofthat stuff is just the ball popping out and being in the right placeat the right time, so you know it was a team effort.”
Just when it looked like things couldn’t get worse for the Jets, RBJoe McKnight fumbled on the next kick return. Patriots RB JulianEdelman recovered and ran the ball in for yet another touchdown.
And, it wasn’t over yet, after a five-minute break, the Patriots wereat it again with a 56-yard touchdown pass from Brady to Edelman. Fivetouchdowns in the second quarter — which helped New England easily overcome the loss of TE Rob Gronkowski, who missed the game with a broken arm and will be out at least a month.
“That (second quarter) was a nightmare, to say the least,” coach Rex Ryansaid. “Thirty-five points in a quarter? That’s almost impossible todo.”
The Jets finally got on the board at the end of the secondquarter with a 23-yard field goal by Nick Folk. They got two more points on a safety in the third quarter, and a touchdown on the next offensive series on a 4-yard run by Powell.
Brady was never under much pressure — he wasn’t sacked the entire game — and the Patriots defense sacked Sanchez twice.
Although the crowd was screaming for backup QB Tim Tebow, he remainedon the sideline for the entire game. He didn’t even perform his usualrole as personal protector on the punt team. After the game, he saidthat the rib injury that has been listed on the injury report isactually two cracked ribs suffered in the game against Seattle. Ryandidn’t want to put him in unless it was an absolute emergency.
The last time the Jets had a loss like this to the Patriots wasDecember 6, 2010; the final score was 45-3. Small consolation for the Jets that this was a smaller deficit.
Where do the Jets go from here? Ryan said, “We’re about aswounded as you can possibly can be, but we’re not dead.”
For Patriots coach Bill Belichick, it was somewhat of a different experience –this game marked his 200th win.
“It’s been a privilege and a greatopportunity to coach the players that won those games,” he said. “I never made ablock, didn’t make a tackle, didn’t throw a pass, didn’t kick a ball,the players won them.”
And against the Jets, it was a convincing win.
When the game turned: S Steve Gregory intercepting Jets QB MarkSanchez in the middle of the first quarter. It ultimately sent thePatriots to their first score and they never looked back.
Highlight moments: The Patriots’ four touchdowns within six minutesin the second quarter.
Patriots S Steve Gregory– 1 INT, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumblerecoveries, 1 touchdown
Patriots QB Tom Brady– 18-28, 323 yards, 3 touchdowns
Patriots RB Shane Vereen– 2 receptions for 91 yards and 1touchdowns, 10 rushes for 42 yards
What the Patriots said about the win:
Bill Belichick: “The preparation we had this week was really outstanding by the players. They were very attentive in the meetings, in walk-throughs, films. The walk-through we had this morning was one of the best sessions we’ve had all year. They really put a lot into it, and I think it showed out there today.”
What they said about Belichick’s 200th win:
Tom Brady:”There’s no other coach I’d ever want to play for than him; he’s so consistent. As players we really appreciate him. He’s tough and he’s disciplined, but that’s what we need. … He has high expectations in practice every day, and I think that’s what you look for in a coach — someone who gets the best out of all the players that he coaches, and he certainly does that.”
Numbers you should know: The Jets turned the ball over five times, thePatriots just once.
Injury update: Jets — WR Clyde Gates left with a head injury. DLMuhammad Wilkerson left with a neck injury but returned. WR ChazSchilens suffered a head injury at the end of the game. QB Tim Tebowdidn’t play because of fractured ribs he suffered against the Seahawks and that may have been aggravated against the Rams.Patriots — RB Julian Edelman leftwith a head injury.
Going forward: Jets — The Jets (2-3 in the AFC East) havemore than a week to prepare for their Week 13 game against the Cardinals (4-6), but any real playoff hopes they had are all but gone. The Patriots (4-0 in the AFC East) head to Miami (4-6) in Week 13 before returninghome to host the Texans, who they may end up facing in the playoffs.
Stay dialed in on the New York Jets by following correspondent Lisa Zimmerman on Twitter @CBSJets and @LisaZimmerman.
Nick Underhill covers the Patriots for MassLive.com. Follow him on Twitter @CBSPats or @nick_underhill.
Rx Ryan praised Tebow’s ability to get on the field after the game, and credit where credit is due, we guess.
“I wouldn’t play my son if it was that kind of situation, but to Tim’s credit he wanted to be there for his team,” Ryan said.
Here’s the issue: Greg McElroy was inactive and Tebow was the backup … but if Tebow wasn’t going to play — and he didn’t — what would the Jets do if Mark Sanchez got hurt.
Oh wait. He did.
Terrible performance 2day PERIOD, but 4 anybody that cheered when @mark_sanchez was down(pat or Jet fan)U R ridiculous & aren’t real fans!!!
— Dustin Keller (@DUSTINKELLER81) November 23, 2012
Cheering Sanchez’ injury is absolutely wrong. But it makes no sense that Tebow would be active if he couldn’t play and it puts the Jets in a bad spot, quarterback-wise.
“I was ready to go if they needed me,” Tebow said. “It was not ideal but I just wanted to be there for my teammates and do whatever I can to help.”
If Sanchez had gone down Ryan’s team wouldn’t have had any real backup, other than an injured Tebow.
But perhaps that’s just the Jets season in a microcosm.
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