The Jets were worried all week about the pace of the Patriots offense, but it didn’t prove to be much of a problem for them in the first half.
The Jets defense played well in the first 30 minutes at Foxborough, but blunders on special teams and offense leave them on the wrong side of a 16-10 score at the half. The Jets forced a punt on the first New England possession and then Shonn Greene scored a touchdown to cap an efficient 11-play drive and give the Jets a 7-0 lead. It lasted a matter of seconds.
Devin McCourty took the ensuing kickoff 104 yards to tie the score and the Jets put themselves in bad field position with a penalty on their own kickoff return. They punted and the Patriots took advantage of the short field to open up a 14-7 lead on a perfectly executed throw to Rob Gronkowski in the end zone. The Jets shot themselves in the foot once again when Mark Sanchez couldn’t give Greene a clean handoff in side their own 15-yard line and the ball skittered into the end zone. Sanchez kicked it over the end line for a safety and later threw an interception at the Patriots’ goal line when he underthrew Stephen Hill by several yards on a deep ball.
Despite all those errors, the Patriots couldn’t open up a bigger lead because their offense has not been crisp at all. The passing game has been a beat off, especially on throws from Tom Brady to Brandon Lloyd, and the Jets have actually outgained them through two quarters. The Jets defense has bent a little, but they’ve done a good job of keeping the Patriots from hitting anything that threatens to break the game open and letting the Patriots’ own mistakes stall their drives.
If the Jets defense can keep it up, the Jets offense should have more chances to grab the lead. As usual, making it happen will be the hard part for the unit.