Throughout the season, NewYorkJets.com reporters Eric Allen, Ethan Greenberg and Randy Lange will each give their predictions to a series of questions regarding this year's Jets.
Today's question: Which two moments stand out in the Jets' regular-season games vs. Tom brady since 2001?
EA: I was on the Jets' sideline at Foxboro Stadium on Sept. 23, 2001. Less than two weeks removed from 9/11 in an emotionally charged environment, the Jets and the Patriots met in the New England countryside. Curtis Martin (106 rush yards and a 1 TD) and the Jets defense carried the day, but pro football changed with five minutes remaining. Drew Bledsoe scrambled while being chased by Shaun Ellis up the Patriots sideline before the 6-5 quarterback was crushed by Mo Lewis. After another Bledsoe-led series (people forget about that), Tom Brady came in and moved the Pats in the two-minute offense, getting them to the NYJ 29 before four straight incompletions. Bill Belichick, who was 6-10 in his first season in New England, was off to an 0-2 start but he had found his QB. For me, a PR assistant with the Jets in his first year, I left the stadium thinking that was one of the most violent hits I'd ever witnessed and didn't think twice about NFL history. Brady, the most decorated player in league history, owns a 26-7 mark against the Green & White. The two regular-season moments/games that stand out most to me are the Jets' 30-17 triumph over the defending Super Bowl champion Pats at Gillette Stadium on Dec. 22, 2002. I was in the press box for that affair as Chad Pennington (23-33-285-3TD) outdueled Brady (19-37-133-1TD-1INT) and the Jets would go on to win an improbable division crown (You Play to Win the Game) while the Pats would miss the postseason. And while the Brett Favre-led Jets' 34-31 OT decision over the Brady-less Pats in 2008 was exciting, I'll take the Jets' 16-9 win over the New England on Sept. 20, 2009. The crowd was frenetic and disruptive all afternoon at the Meadowlands and Brady completed just 49% of his throws for 216 yards and was intercepted by Darrelle Revis. The Jets made a statement and the crowd played a huge role as the Green & White ended an eight-game home losing streak to their longtime nemesis. They had stood up to the bully.
EG: The two that stand out for me were games that I attended as a fan. The first one was Week 2 in 2009 when the Jets won, 16-9. It was the first time new Jets HC Rex Ryan went up against the Patriots after saying he wasn't going to kiss Pats HC Bill Belichick's rings. Rookie HC, rookie QB in Mark Sanchez, no problem. MetLife Stadium was rocking that day as the Jets' defense held Tom Brady to 216 yards while completing 48.9% of his passes. The defense also held Brady out of the end zone and Darrelle Revis picked him off. It was a dogfight that the Green & White came out on top and was a defining win early on for Ryan, Sanchez & Co. The other game was Week 16 in 2015 when WR Eric Decker caught the game-winning score in overtime. Coming off the heels of a win over the Cowboys in a Saturday primetime game the week earlier, the Jets were in the driver's seat for most of the game. The Patriots converted a fourth-and-1 and fourth-and-9, both passes caught by TE Rob Gronkowski, before tying the game, 20-20, with 1:55 remaining. WR Quincy Enunwa came inches away from putting the Jets in field-goal range on third down on the ensuing drive, but couldn't corral Ryan Fitzpatrick's pass. The Patriots won the toss, elected to kick and Enunwa made them pay with a 48-yard catch-and-run that put the Jets on the New England 30-yard line. Three plays later, Decker gave the Jets the win and the sound at MetLife was deafening.
RL: That first meeting in Foxborough in 2001 was memorable for a couple of reasons, but Brady really hit home for me in his first start vs. the Jets later in '01. The Jets were 7-3 and wanted a big home win over the Patriots and their upstart QB to keep them moving toward the playoffs (which they eventually reached). They led, 13-0, at the half and by 16-7 midway through the in the third. Then Brady flawlessly led an 80-yard TD drive and a 67-yard FG drive to the 17-16 comeback win and Jets fans had to wonder what was ahead in this long-time rivalry. The other memorable RS moment for me was the 2015 Ryan Fitzpatrick-to-Eric Decker "Meadowlands Leap" game. Up until that drive to start and end OT, it looked like Brady was going to do it to the Jets again, leading a comeback from 17-3 down to a 20-20 tie just after the two-minute warning. It was difficult but the Green & White showed again, as they did in the 2010 playoffs, that driving a stake into the vampire's heart could be done. Now can they do it one more time in Brady's reincarnation as the Bucs' Super Bowl-winning, NFL-leading signal-caller? We'll know soon enough.