2009 Week 2 - Jets vs Patriots Photos
It wasn't easy, it wasn't always pretty but all things considered late this afternoon, it feels real good.
The Jets overcame a jittery first quarter and a 9-3 halftime deficit to defeat the Patriots, 16-9, today.
Say it loud and say it proud a few more times, Jets fans, just to savor the moment. The Jets certainly are.
"I just thought we were the better team today," head coach Rex Ryan said after seeing his attacking defense, his just-enough offense and his timely special teams combine for the first win over the Patriots at the Meadowlands since 2000. "That's all we said the whole time. We believe we are the better team today. We went out and showed it."
The win was especially satisfying, since it came in the Green & White's home opener and in the first home regular-season games for Ryan as the Jets' head coach and Mark Sanchez as their starting quarterback before a wildly roaring, full-throated Meadowlands crowd.
The win also lifted them to 2-0 and into sole possession of first place in the AFC East.
Those storylines are big enough in their own right, but the top story line is that the Patriots' hold on the Jets' home is over. The visitors came in with an eight-game winning streak over the Jets in North Jersey. Tom Brady as their quarterback engineered seven of those wins.
Both those streaks are over, thanks to some relentless play by the Jets' defense. Led by Bart Scott, also playing in his first Jets home game, the Jets' rush didn't sack Brady but definitely rattled his pocket enough to force him into an off-day: 23-for-47 for 216 yards, no TDs and an interception.
"This meant a lot, man," said wideout Jerricho Cotchery, who led the Jets with 87 yards on four receptions, including a huge 45-yard catch-and-run. "Today's a special day. It's something you have to carry with you year after year. The fans rose to the occasion today and we wanted to make sure we did our job. It was a collective effort."
It was the first time the Jets had beaten Brady at their place ever. And it was only the second time since 2006 that Brady completed less than 50 percent of his passes. The only other time? In December 2007, at Baltimore, against Ryan's Ravens defense.
Sanchez, after a scuffling first half, got the offense rolling out of the second half gate with a three-play, 56-yard march out of the second half gate. Dustin Keller's 9-yard touchdown grab from the rookie in the back of the end zone gave the Jets a significant 13-9 lead 1:03 into the third quarter — it was their first lead of any kind at home against the Pats since 2001, a drought that covered 457:32 of clock time.
"It took until the second half," Sanchez said of his and the offense's economical 14-for-22, 163-yard passing game, "but what an amazing team win."
A seeming second TD pass, to Chansi Stuckey, was taken away when referee John Parry reversed the call on the field after a New England challenge, saying Stuckey never had two feet down inbounds on the side of the east end zone. But after a 10-play drive, Jay Feely's second field goal gave the Jets a 13-9 lead.
Sanchez and the offense then mounted a 13-play, 63-yard series that stalled at the Pats 22, bringing on Feely for his third field goal of the game — and his 18th consecutive success as a Jet — from 39 yards to make it 16-9 with 9:48 to go.
The Meadowlands full house, responding nicely to Ryan's challenge to make the environment loud and uncomfortable for Brady and the visitors' offense. At one point late in the third quarter, on third-and-9 from the Jets 35, the Patriots' normally unflappable QB was called for back-to-back delay-of-game penalties, setting up a punt instead of a fourth Stephen Gostkowski field goal.
"This place," said Jets radio play-by-play man Bob Wischusen, "is an insane asylum."
"We're giving a game ball to our fans," said Ryan, who saw the vast majority of the 78,312 in attendance accept his challenge to make the Meadowlands uncomfortable for the Patriots offense. "It will go up in our trophy case. I thought they were the difference."
"They did a heck of a job," said Leon Washington, who responded with another big combined-yardage game, 203 yards, including a 43-yard return with the second-half kickoff to get the Jets' TD drive started on the right foot. "I appreciate that. Wow!"
"It was loud," said DE Shaun Ellis. "I actually felt the ground vibrate. That was a big boost."
Ellis was a storyline all his own — "Big Katt" is the only player on the roster who before today knew what it felt like to beat the Pats at home, back in his rookie season of 2000, and he returned to action after sitting out last week's season opener due to an NFL suspension.
He had his moments of pressuring Brady and slowing the Patriots' ground game. So did Bart Scott. Darrelle Revis (second-quarter interception) again led the coverage on Randy Moss, held to four catches for 24 yards. Kerry Rhodes led the hosts with eight tackles and added a PD, one of six by the Jets' banged-up but no-quit secondary.
"We had to unload the bench," Ryan said. "We had 10 DBs up for this game. We had to use every one of them. I thought they did an outstanding job."
No PD was as sweet as Dwight Lowery's second of the game. Lowery, playing at CB for Lito Sheppard, who injured his right quad on a leaping end zone PD against Joey Galloway, broke up Brady's fourth-and-10 pass over the middle for Galloway with 1:02 remaining. That was the final brick in the wall against the Patriots. There would be no "Tom Terrific" comeback today as there was on Monday night against Buffalo.
A few more amazing streaks came to an end on this momentous day:
* New England was held to only three Stephen Gostkowski field goals in the first half. Thus the Patriots went 0-for-3 in red zone touchdowns, ending a 16-game streak against the Jets of the Pats scoring at least one red zone TD.
* The Jets put together a two-game win streak without giving up a defensive touchdown for the first time since 1993. As for giving up no touchdowns on defense and one total in the first two games of a season, this is the first time the Green & White have ever done that in franchise history.
* The defense posted two three-and-out series in the Patriots' 11 drives today. In Brady's previous four games against the Jets, dating to 2006 and covering 38 series, the Pats were held to only one three-and-out.
* The Jets opened 2-0 for the ninth time ever. But needless to say, that's nothing to get excited about yet. Only the 1968 Super Bowl team and the 2004 team that lost at Pittsburgh in the AFC Divisional Round made it to the playoffs after such a start.
"It's the second game of the season," said guard Brandon Moore, who's been involved in trying to end the Pats' hold on the Jets at home since 2004. "We've got a long way to go. ... But today, this was a great win. It feels real good."
The Patriots played without Wes Welker, who was deactivated this morning after spending the entire week as limited in practice with a knee injury from the Bills game. Rookie WR Julian Edelman played the slot in place of Welker and led the visitors with eight catches for 98 yards. ... Ellis, T Damien Woody, LB/ST Larry Izzo and QB Kevin O'Connell were the game captains today. The last three are all former Patriots.
The biggest stat for the crowd: four delay-of-game penalties and one illegal formation against the Patriots. ... The Jets wore their white jerseys and white pants, the first time since last season's Week 3 Monday night loss at San Diego. They had lost six in a row in double whites.