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First Half, 5 Turnovers Stop Jets at NE, 31-14


2009 Week 11 Jets at Patriots Photos

The first half was a tough one for the Jets and their fans to take. Things got a little better late in that half and early in the second half, but it was not enough to overcome the bitter disappointment of their 31-14 loss to Tom Brady, Wes Welker, Leigh Bodden and the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium today.

There were two big issues in the postgame interviews. One was where did the great week of practice go as the Jets prepared to try to beat the Patriots and move within a game of the AFC East lead?

"We got outplayed, no question about it," said head coach Rex Ryan, whose team has slipped to 4-6, three games behind the Patriots in the AFC East with six games to go. "Our confidence is still there. But you've got to understand that when you come out of the tunnel to play the game, you've got to be ticked off. The last two games, we let a team dictate the tempo to us instead of us dictating the tempo to them. I think we believe we're a decent football team, but we clearly weren't the better team today."

"We started out slow in the first half. They took advantage of it," said cornerback Darrelle Revis, who had three pass defenses and another good game in holding Randy Moss to five catches for 34 yards, only to see Welker flying down other parts of the field for 192 yards on 15 receptions. "Brady was moving the offense very fast. They took advantage of our slowness."

The other issue was Mark Sanchez, who had his second five-turnover game of his young career (four interceptions, three by Bodden, and a strip sack) in completing eight of 21 passes for 136 yards.

"The first two interceptions were great reads but poor throws," Sanchez assessed. "The last two I was trying to create, to do too much. ... You can't do that against a great defense like this. Hats off to them for doing what they know and playing smart."

His teammates remain supportive and Ryan said Sanchez will stay under center.

"I don't think he's going to get any better sitting on the sidelines," the coach said. "He made a lot of mistakes today. A lot of other guys made a lot of mistakes. He's got to learn from them."

The shame of it for the Jets was that their late-first-half/early-second-half awakening put them 10 points from 9:45 to go in the third quarter through to the Patriots' final TD, on Laurence Maroney's 1-yard run with 5:06 to play. So for more than a full quarter of clock time, the Green & White were within two scores of possibly executing the biggest comeback in franchise history. But they never made a serious run to turn the deficit into one score.

The Jets offense contributed the first touchdown of the game to the Pats, when Sanchez's first interception was returned 53 yards by Bodden nine minutes in.. The defense, similar to its Jacksonville script, allowed Brady, Welker — who had eight catches for 139 yards at halftime — and the Pats offense to gain 272 first-half yards in opening the rest of their 24-0 lead.

"We knew Welker was very good at changing directions going in and out of breaks," said CB Drew Coleman. "We knew he was going to get his grabs and he very seldom misses. We came out in the second half and knew we had to change up and just get after him."

True enough, Welker was "limited" to seven catches for 53 yards in the second half and the defense forced three punts to begin the second half, and suddenly the Jets had just a little hope. But Sanchez's fourth pick, by safety Brandon Meriweather, set up the Maroney TD with 5:06 to play. And his fifth giveaway, which occurred when LB Tully Banta-Cain beat D'Brickashaw Ferguson and swatted the ball out of the rookie's hand, with DE Derrick Burgess recovering, came after Sanchez and Thomas Jones (103 rushing yards) had moved the visitors to the NE-24 with 3½ minutes left. End of threat.

In the first half, the Jets' small bounceback began when they held the Patriots to a Stephen Gostkowski 26-yard field goal for the 24-0 lead. But then came another defensive three-and-out, and on Chris Hanson's punt, Eric Smith blew in on an overload to snuff the kick and Brad Smith picked it up and took it the final 4 yards for the Jets' first TD.

The Pats then moved 46 yards to the Jets 22 in the final minute. But Brady took some hard shots on the drive as he often emptied out his backfield, and Gostkowski suffered a rare miss from 40 yards — snapping a streak of 19 consecutive successful field goal attempts vs. the Jets.

The Jets could have only hoped that the late first-half successes would bode well for a monster second-half comeback. They didn't, and now the Green & White face an uphill battle.

"At the end of the day, each individual has just got to go out there and do their job," tackle Damien Woody said. "I feel like we had a great week of practice. We've got to translate that to the game. What happened going from that to the game? Something's wrong, and that's what we've got to evaluate, to see what's going on."

"We are a desperate football team now," said LB Bart Scott. "Our backs are against the wall. There is no magic remedy. The only way out of a hole is to dig your way out."

Shovels await today.

Game Notes

DE Shaun Ellis had two sacks of Brady, giving him 66.0 for his career, third-most in franchise history. ... Jones had his fifth 100-yard game this season and his 14th as a Jet. ... The Jets' blocked punt had a familiar ring to it. The last time they had a blocked punt, David Bowens did the honors and took the ball himself 26 yards for a TD in 2007. The venue that day? Gillette Stadium. The punter? Chris Hanson.

Brady's fifth consecutive 300-yard game also was the first given up by the Jets defense since Jay Cutler and Denver on Nov. 30, 2008. ... Welker's 15 receptions were the most by a Jets opponent since at least 1982 (TE Ozzie Newsome had 14 catches for Cleveland in 1984) and Welker's 193 yards were the most by an opponent since Mark Duper had 217 yards on eight catches at Miami in 1985.

Two Jets were shaken up. Dwight Lowery injured an ankle at the end of his return of the second-half kickoff, and Donald Strickland left with a head injury. ... Jim Leonhard's contribution was almost overlooked. Six days after undergoing surgery on his thumb, he started as usual at safety and had nine tackles, second-most in the game behind David Harris' 14 tackles.

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