Thursday, November 22, 2012

Jets roasted in Thanksgiving debacle

EAST RUTHERFORD — The Jets must have eaten too much turkey Thursday afternoon, because they all slept through their Thanksgiving night matchup against the New England Patriots.
Without the services of All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski but aided by five Jets turnovers, the Patriots were able to break a succession of big plays en route to an easy 49-19 victory. In what might be the stat of the season, New England scored 35 points in the second quarter despite possessing the ball for just two minutes and 30 seconds.
“Obviously, that was a nightmare of a game,” coach Rex Ryan said after the game. “With the combination of turning the ball over five times and blowing coverages, we just got beat.”
In the first quarter, the Jets were able to march into New England territory, but like he has too often this season, quarterback Mark Sanchez made a mental error that cost his team points. Sanchez failed to see Patriots cornerback (and Staten Island native) Steve Gregory lurking on a crossing route, and Gregory came up with the interception.
“He made a great play,” Sanchez said of Gregory’s pick. “I was thinking one thing, and they did another.”
On the very first play of the second quarter, with the Patriots on the Jets 3-yard line, Brady found an open Wes Welker on a flat route to his right for a touchdown. After the play, Kyle Wilson was visibly upset at Ellis Lankster, punching air.
Gregory recovered a Shonn Greene fumble on the next possession, and Brady promptly hit Shane Vereen in the flat, who then broke the play 83 yards for another New England score.
“I can’t explain it, having that many turnovers the way we had them,” tight end Dustin Keller said.
If that wasn’t enough misery, the Jets then made one of the uglier plays you’ll ever see an NFL team make. Sanchez took the snap and turned to hand the ball off to Greene, but Greene had already zoomed by. Play broken, he then tried to scramble but slid into his own offensive lineman, knocking the ball loose. It was scooped up by—who else?—Gregory, who took it for yet another Patriots touchdown.
“I was thinking a different play in my mind, so mental error there,” Sanchez said.
Next kickoff? Joe McKnight fumble, recovered and returned for a touchdown by New England’s Julian Edelman.
Edelman then caught a 56-yard touchdown bomb, completing the 35-point barrage. A 30-yard Nick Folk field goal sent a mock cheer through MetLife Stadium just before the half.
The tryptophan, however, appeared to be wearing off by the start of the second half. After failing to convert a fourth-and-1 on the Patriots goal line, the Jets were able to record a safety on a Stephan Ridley chop block.
Bilal Powell found then found the end zone on a four-yard power run up the middle, completing a four-play, 71-yard drive.
Predictably, however, those fleeting signs of life proved too little and too late. The Patriok took up nearly the next eight minutes with a methodical drive that culminated in a 1-yard Brady sneak, putting the game out of reach and emptying the stadium.
“I honestly don’t know,” said corner Antonio Cromartie, when asked why the defense continued to struggle. “I wish I could answer that for you.”
Jets receiver Chaz Schillens fumbled on the next drive, leading to a Ridley score.
Sanchez found tight end Dustin Keller in the back of the end zone with just over two minutes to play, but the score only served to make the box score look better. The game had already been decided.
Sanchez finished the game 26 of 36 for 301 yards, with a touchdown, an interception and a fumble, while Greene had 71 yards on 14 carries. Brady had 323 yards and three touchdowns on 18 of 28 passing and the touchdown run.
The Jets are now 4-8, good for last place in the AFC East.
“We’re about as wounded as we can be right now, but we’re not dead,” Ryan said.


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