One of the surprising aspects of the Patriots’ loss to the Jets was New England’s lack of urgency while trailing during the fourth quarter. It was particularly baffling to see the Patriots mosey down the field while trailing by two scores in the fourth quarter.
But Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said on WEEI today that he had to throw underneath on the Patriots’ long drives in the fourth quarter because the underneath passes were all the Jets’ defense would allow.
“They had a lot of dime groupings out there with six defensive backs,” Brady said. “It’s hard to think we’re going to throw the ball all day with that grouping. I thought we said, alright, we’re going to take advantage of this matchup, still move the ball down the field, which we did, but when we got down to the 15-yard line we just sputtered.”
It’s certainly true that the Jets had an effective defensive game plan that included having 11 defensive backs active for the game. That made it tough for Brady to beat the Jets deep.
But the Patriots’ slow pace between plays can’t be attributed to the Jets’ dime packages. It’s inexcusable that the Patriots, trailing by 10 points, allowed 7 minutes and 45 seconds to run off the clock during their first possession of the fourth quarter. And it’s shocking that when the Patriots got the ball in Jets territory with 3:29 to play, their offense ran so slowly that they didn’t kick their field goal until after the two-minute warning.
That wasn’t about the Jets’ dime groupings. It was just poor clock management by New England.