Pats show rare loss of composure in grudge-match defeat to Jets
The New England Patriots have lost football games under
There they were in the sunshine at the Meadowlands, with
The Jets (2-0) did more than beat the Patriots 16-9 (
"They just outplayed us, they outcoached us," Belichick said. "They just performed better than we did over the 60 minutes, and I think that was pretty much the story of the game."
The day began with the news that Patriots receiver
But it was New England's unsteadiness amid the noise at the Meadowlands that especially stood out. Trailing 13-9 midway through the third quarter and facing a 3rd-and-9 on the Jets' 35, Brady and the Patriots committed back-to-back delay of game penalties that eventually killed a drive and forced them to punt.
Asked about the errors, Belichick said only, "We didn't get the play off in time."
In many ways, New England's struggles only continued its uneven play from the season-opening win against Buffalo, a narrow escape that surely revealed the Patriots' toughness but also exposed flaws.
While New England only gave up 16 points, its defense bent at all the wrong moments, allowing the Jets a quick-strike touchdown to open the third quarter. With so many departed defensive leaders, like
"It's hard to say," Patriots linebacker
The Patriots gave up 197 yards in the second half (surrendering only 57 in the first half) and had trouble putting consistent pressure on a rookie quarterback.
"They hit three plays," Belichick said. "The kickoff return, they hit
A larger question is this: After eight straight defeats at home at the hands of the Patriots, have the Jets supplanted New England as the best team in the division? It would be foolish to think a Week 2 loss in Brady's second game following knee surgery is decisive.
But if the Jets carry Sunday's performance deep into the fall and winter and eventually win the AFC East, they might look back and remember the day they knocked the Patriots around at home. And the Patriots might look back and remember the same thing.