What We Learned: Patriots-Jets
New quarterback, same result for New England. The Pats punished the Jets with a familiar cocktail of special teams and defense, and any New England QB from
The Patriots didn't need the vertical threat against the Jets on Sunday. They certainly will need to add that dimension to their offense moving forward. Opposing defensive coordinators are going to tear this game tape apart and will try to take advantage if they feel Cassel can't stretch the field.
This was Cassel's first start since high school, so he very well could settle down in the pocket and start hitting longer passes. The Pats coaching staff has said he has the arm strength to make the throws he needs to in this offense, so perhaps Sunday's struggles downfield were more about comfort than his ability.
For a team that has won 21 straight regular-season games, the Patriots have a knack for acting like an underdog, and that's one of the reasons why they're so good. They can probably ride the post-Brady injury comments until December.
To be fair, Moss had only glowing things to say about Cassel after the game. Moss is such an emotional player, the Pats coaching staff may have to try a little harder to keep him mentally involved, if they continue to play so conservatively on offense.
"I got a little greedy," Favre said of the interception. "I could have dumped it in the flat ... I think if I had made the throw I wanted to, there's no guarantee it would have been caught, but it would have been a much better opportunity. I just underthrew him."
The one big positive was his ability to hold off a Patriots pass rush that usually tortures the Jets. Even though Favre was sacked twice, New England wasn't able to get the kind of consistent pressure it used to get on
Favre gets rid of the ball quicker and is very effective when he moves his feet. And the Jets' revamped offensive line did a much better job than a unit that looked overwhelmed against the Patriots last year. New York's QBs were sacked 53 times last year. Expect that number to come down dramatically with Favre under center.
Mangini has been criticized for being too conservative offensively this season. Expect to hear a lot more of that after Sunday's game. With first-and-goal from the 3-yard line in the first quarter, New York gave the ball to
"We had been running the ball very well and liked our opportunity there," Mangini said. "We thought that was our best chance at that point."
Favre has two games under his belt, so it's probably time for Mangini to take off the training wheels, especially in the red zone. Favre was at his best running a rhythm-passing game last year in Green Bay and will likely fare better with more attempts as the season continues.
• Sartorially, Cassel isn't in the same league as Brady. Cassel showed up at the postgame press conference with his collar sticking out of a suit that looked like it came from the bargain rack at Men's Wearhouse.
• Belichick never says anything, but he did look happy in that sneaky Belichick way after the game. Lots of people have wondered if Belichick could win without Brady. Not only did he do that, he made a coach he hates look bad in the process.