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Post Game Thoughts: Jets 30 Patriots 27

The Jets pull off their biggest win since the 2010 season with an overtime thriller against the hated Patriots

Offense

I thought Geno Smith was pretty much brilliant on the day. He came out firing on the first drive of the game and played terrific for the first 3 quarters of the game with the exception of the bad interception. Smith got caught on that play being indecisive and then went to a play that was completely blown up by that point in time. What was important, though, was that he bounced back from that throw. As a fan I know I was down and if you listened to the stadium so was everyone else. He didn't let that get to him. He didn't let a few drops bring him down. He went back out and answered. His TD run was a great play. He saw that Patriots LB Donta Hightower was lost in his responsibilities and took off knowing one good move was getting him in the end zone. That wasn't his only good run either as he had a tremendous first down conversion where he was smart enough to stretch out to get a first down. Again I thought towards the end of the game he was tiring out but he still made a throw that probably should have ended the game but was dropped.

Jeremy Kerley really was great on the day. He finished with 8 receptions for 97 yards plus a score. These were all critical catches and he abused Kyle Arrington early to the point where it seemed Arrington was pulled. Kerley is one of the better slot receivers in the NFL. He doesn't get enough credit but he is everything you want in a possession receiver on third down. David Nelson played well and had a really great catch on a ball he came back on and jumped over a falling defensive back plus the only reception in overtime. I thought it was an up and down game for Jeff Cumberland. Watching him play these past few games I feel safe saying he is more talented than Kellen Winslow at this point and works better in the offense, but he is tremendously inconsistent. He had a drop in the end zone and another on a critical play. On another play he took the wrong angle and didn't get a first down that was there for him. Stephen Hill only had one reception and was called for PI on another throw. I thought the call was fair because the defender was already setting up his spot. Hill needs to learn to use his size to avoid that and still make a play on the ball.

I'm not sure why the Jets did not use Bilal Powell on the day. He had been on the injury report so maybe he aggravated an injury, but otherwise maybe there was some strategy towards it to confuse the Patriots defense. The Jets used Chris Ivory as a horse today. I wouldn't say he was incredibly effective, but he carried the team on their final drive as the Jets moved away from the pass. They needed him and he did enough to at least get them close to a field goal.

The offensive line played better out of the half than before it. D'Brickashaw Ferguson allowed two sacks though the second was a situation where Smith held the ball somewhat long. Ferguson did recover a fumble for the offense which was good. Brian Winters got thrown back a few times. Im not really sure if he is better than Vlad Ducasse or if he is just playing because they know Ducasse is gone after the year. I still think the group would have been better off keeping Stephen Peterman for the season. By no means would I call this a great job by the Jets line but it stabilized and played very well in the crucial 3rd quarter.

Defense

This really was a tale of two halves when it came to this group. The defense was underwhelming to say the least in the first half. They allowed the Patriots to drive right down on them on the first drive of the game in what may have been their worst drive of the season. They were getting manhandled up front, getting no pressure at all on Tom Brady and not really stopping the run. They were having all kinds of problems with the snap count getting called for offsides far too often. It looked like it was going to be a very long afternoon.

But somewhere the defense woke up after the first half and swarmed Brady the rest of the game. It really began with Quinton Coples first impact play of the year where he swiped the ball from Brady on a sack. Though Brady recovered the ball he never looked the same after that and the whole line played like monsters. Next thing you know Wilkerson has a sack and is constantly collapsing the pocket. "Snacks" got in on the action. Sheldon Richardson was in the backfield. Calvin Pace is in the backfield. It's like it was contagious and they were taking turns picking on Brady.

Of course if there is one player that deserved the gameball for today it was S Antonio Allen. He made so many big plays and was the difference maker on the field. The Jets were getting beaten up by TE Rob Gronkowski early but Allen batted away two big passes headed his way and also had the critical pick 6 interception that turned the game around. It was a career defining game where he outshined everyone else in the secondary. If Allen is not out there the Jets lose the game probably by 10 points. He was that important.

The secondary played better than it had the last few games other than just Allen and they didn't give up the huge plays that had the past few weeks. Some of that was Brady not getting into his throws. Brady absolutely can not drive the ball down the field the way he used to and with the pressure the Jets were generating it was even worse. There were also a few drops as the crowd noise and energy of the game I think got to some of the younger Patriot receivers. But the important thing is that the Patriots rarely converted on third down and it was a major difference in the game.

Special Teams

Nick Folk hit another game winner and newly signed Josh Cribbs had one really nice punt return. Maybe having Cribbs takes some pressure of Kerley on offense as well. P Ryan Quigley did a good job on his final punt of the game but was poor other than that and I still don't understand why he is on the team. Julian Edelman was abusing the Jets on returns.

Coaching

I have no idea what Rex Ryan said at halftime but the fire that the team came out with in the second half was unreal. Ryan probably does a better job than anyone in the NFL in derailing the Patriot offense on a consistent basis and that was what he seemed to get done this week. There were some Rex staples in the offense including the Wildcat and leaning on the run as he wanted to control the clock, which they did.

I don't know if it will get much discussion but the decision to run almost exclusively at the end of the game I thought was brilliant. We've seem Smith struggle at times late and he looked a bit exhausted after that 3rd quarter adrenaline wore off. He wasn't going to let the rookie lose the game and had enough faith in his line to pull it off. He needed some help from the officials but it did work.

The penalties were still an issue and the Jets got caught burning a timeout when they were just not ready for a Patriots formation on 4th down on a play designed to get the Jets to waste a timeout, which they did. I was a bit surprised at his decision to go for the long FG at the end of the game as a FG the other way loses the game, but I guess he was playing for the win and felt punting at best was going to be a tie. I don't think he felt passing for a first down was an option at that point so 4th and 6 was not going to be anything more than a punt or FG attempt.

Overall

What's too bad is that I have a feeling the talk coming out of the game will be focused on the controversial penalty that gave the Jets a first down instead of the Jets dominating performance in the second half. The Jets looked every bit as good as New England on the day and the Jets controlled the tempo and set the pace of the game. You can't ignore the role that penalty had in the outcome but it is not as if New England outplayed the Jets and the Jets fluked their way into a win. Great job by the home fans today as well. They raised their level and the Patriots players were affected by it, specifically some receivers.

The win itself was gigantic for the Jets. I mentioned during the game on Twitter (and got many unhappy tweets for doing so) how this same scenario unfolded last season in the same week. In that game the Jets beat up the Patriots and had the game won but found a way to lose it in overtime. It was a game where the Jets would have taken over first place with a win. Instead they fell to 3-4 and the season spiraled out of control. When you put your all into these games it is hard to recover if you lose and I think a loss here would have destroyed the Jets season.

From a playoff perspective it's a game the Jets needed to have. They had already lost once to New England and a loss here would have dropped the team an effective 4 games behind New England due to the head to head sweep. They would have had almost no chance. Now they are just one game behind with an even record giving them all the opportunity in the world to make up ground in a tiebreaker. It also doesn't hurt to see the Dolphins losing their third game in a row making it a real logjam in the division.

This was the Jets first real quality win of the season, beating a good opponent for the first time. It was a totally different effort than the no-show against the Steelers last week. Now they have to use this as a springboard rather than the highlight of the season. With games against the Bengals and Saints leading into the bye it's a very tough schedule. If they can get one of the next two games to get to the bye at 5-4 you never know what can happen. They just need to find that intensity level from the second half and carry it over to next week so they can upset the Bengals.

Go Jets!

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