For the second consecutive game, the Patriots built up a huge lead on Thursday night and kept playing their starters well after it was out of reach. But while Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was injured on the extra point that gave the Patriots their final score in a 59-24 win over the Colts on Sunday, there were no significant injuries for the Patriots on Thursday. And so not many people are talking about Patriots coach Bill Belichick leaving his key players in the game.
But someone did ask Jets coach Rex Ryan about it today. And Ryan said he has no problem with the Patriots keeping quarterback Tom Brady in the game, and throwing passes, well after it was out of reach. What Ryan does have a problem with is the fact that his team allowed it to get out of reach in the first place.
“It’s our job to stop them. That’s what they do. It’s our job to stop them,” Ryan said.
Brady’s last pass, an eight-yard completion to Wes Welker, came midway through the fourth quarter, with the Patriots leading 49-12. It’s odd that Belichick would risk an injury to Brady in that situation, instead of giving some experience to backup quarterback Ryan Mallett. But that’s the way Belichick does things, and Ryan is right: If the Jets don’t like it, then the Jets need to find a way to stop it.
And Ryan is confident that the Jets will find a way to stop it, eventually. Although the Jets have now been swept by the Patriots this season and will almost certainly not catch them in the standings, Ryan said he doesn’t believe there’s a huge gap between the two teams.
“No, please. I’d never say that, ever. No way,” Ryan said. “We got beat by them at their place in overtime. We had some things happen for a stretch in that game that nobody can predict. When you turn the ball over five times, what do you expect the score to look like? That’s it. When you have a couple of blown coverages against a great football team the way the game came out, that was reflected on the scoreboard. To say that this team is that much better than us, I don’t believe that. They’re a good football team, there’s no question. They’re an excellent football team, but to say we’ll never catch them, that’s ridiculous. There’s no chance, absolutely no percent of a chance that I believe that in my heart, no way. I’ll never concede that.”
The Patriots could run up the score over the Jets to 100-0, and Ryan wouldn’t lose his confidence.