The Patriots move to 10-2 and take control of the AFC East and the race for homefield advantage, while the Jets fall to 9-3. But as anyone who watched 15 seconds of this game, or even just glimpsed the final score, can tell you, this game meant much more than just movement in the standings. This was a complete embarrasment for the Jets. New England dominated in every way imaginable, exposing their archrivals as frauds. Too harsh? We were all writing the same things about the Pats back in January, when they were crushed by the Ravens in the playoffs. The Jets would be doing good to learn from the Patriots and how they have bounced back from that performance. But can they regain their confidence, with only four games left? We shall see.
For more analysis of what this game meant for the Patriots, Jets and the AFC playoff race in general, Don Banks will have a column published on the site later this evening.
I've seen more Tweets
I think the Jets just turned the ball over on downs right there, but to be honest, I've stopped paying real close attention. Did just get this email, from Anthony: "Thank you for your online summary of the game, I am currently in Sweden on business and a die hard Patriots fan. Thanks to SI, I am keeping up with the scoring at 5:23 am in the morning." How do you say "blowout" in Swedish?
I just did a quick Google search to see if I could find the worst loss in Jets history. I
Dan in Syracuse, an admitted Pats fan, checks in via email with a measured take: "I have to say that I think the Jets D is REALLY missing Jim Leonhard. They're confused and disorganized because they've got no field marshall. It's too bad, because I think the game should have and would have been a lot better with him playing."
Green-Ellis walks into the end zone, right into the heart of the Jets defense, from 5 yards out. Tirico throw it to commercial with the words N.Y. fans hate to hear: "Same Ol' Jets."
Three second-half drives for the Jets, three Mark Sanchez interceptions, this one to a wide-open James Sanders. And Tom Brady trots back out onto the field, along with the rest of the Patriots' first-string offense. There are no mercy rules in the NFL, especially in division games. I'd worry about someone on the Pats getting hurt, but you know, the Jets would have to tackle someone first...
Tom Brady just tossed his fourth touchdown pass of the night, to his fourth different receiver. This time, rookie Aaron Hernandez was the beneficiary. I won't mention how terrible the Jets defense looked on that 94-yard drive, on the heels of the 93-yard march it allowed last series.
Here's a fun stat: Through three quarters, Mark Sanchez has 117 passing yards. Danny Woodhead has 115 total yards. More good news for the J-E-T-S? The Patriots ended the quarter on the 1-yard line. Soon to be 38-3 in what Rex Ryan called "the marquee game of the year."
Another trip into the red zone, another turnover for the Jets. This time, Devin McCourty picked off Sanchez. Sayeth Don Banks: "The party is on at the Razor Blade. This could be a playoff atmosphere now, if only there were snow balls to throw from the stands, like the happy, old days in Foxboro. You're going to hear a lot about the Jets being frauds after this one. This was a first-class domination by the Patriots, and New York has absolutely no answers for New England's passing game. Jets aren't deserving of the elite label coming off this blowout."
Reader Joseph B. checks in via email: "Patriots know Jets every move. It's obvious. How do they do this? Something is wrong. Be honest dude, it's important if we are going to have a real NFL." I hope Joe isn't a Jets fan, because playing the cheating card while your team is getting its butt kicked is pretty low-class in my book.
To borrow from Jon Gruden, how about THIS score? Brady-to-Welker just worked their magic for a touchdown, and raise your hand if you had the Patriots leading by four scores halfway through the third quarter. "Turn out the lights..." says my co-worker Bill Trocchi, channeling the late "Dandy" Don Meredith.
A critical mistake for Mark Sanchez, who looked great driving the Jets into the red zone on the first drive of the second half. But it was all for naught, as Brandon Spikes picked off a pass at the goal line to halt the drive. The Jets needed to play a perfect second half to have a chance at the comeback. Nothing perfect about that, I'm afraid.
How can the Jets come back?
The halftime stats will surprise some in how even they are: The Jets have 10 first downs and the Pats have 11. Total yards is Pats 181, Jets 146. Both teams have converted just two third downs. But reading between the lines, the Pats have benefitted in particular from a bad punt and a long penalty, with both leading directly to touchdowns. The Jets, meanwhile, have moved the ball well at times, but haven't put together a complete drive yet. Time, obviously, is on the Pats side, and if they can continue to avoid mistakes, the Jets will have a hard time coming back.
One more stat that is usually a good indicator of success, or so say the statheads, is yards per pass attempt. Jets 3.4, Pats 8.1. Before you blame Mark Sanchez, though, don't forget that the Jets defense came into this game very highly regarded. New England's high YPA, I'd argue, is more a reflection on bad defense than New York's low YPA is a reflection of poor quarterbacking.
The Jets offense showed some signs of life on the final drive, but nothing to get real excited about. Back in a few with some first-half thoughts.
Do I hear another three-and-out for the Jets offense? I do. This is getting kinda boring. Good thing Jimmy Traina checks in with an important link: Video of Donald Trumps hair
Don Banks checks in from Foxboro, saying "Jets have yet to do anything to take any part of the crowd out of this game. The Patriots have kept the cold crowd into it and fired up from opening kickoff on." Almost on cue, the Jets force New England to punt and it quiets the crowd a little.
Santonio Holmes just caught a six-yard pass and got up jawing with the Patriots defense. Two plays later, the Jets punted. Yep, that about sums up the difference between these two teams so far tonight. New York lets its mouth do the talking, while New England allows its play to speak for itself. Truth hurts, Jets fans.
To borrow from Gruden, how about THIS score? Tom Brady hits Brandon Tate, who makes a great sideline grab in the end zone that Mike Tirico says Rex Ryan should have challenged. My take? Tate's wrist clearly hits in bounds, which equals two knees. Learn the rules, Tirico.
Who doesn't love Danny Woodhead? Certainly not this 5-foot-6 blogger. The ex-Jet just broke off a 35-yard jaunt to move the Patriots back into New York territory. Worst cut this year -- Jets cutting Woodhead, or Titans cutting LeGarrette Blount? Discuss amongst yourselves.
From Peter King, via Twitter: "And that's why Braylon makes the big bucks."
Stop me if you've heard this before -- Braylon Edwards just dropped a pass that was right in his hands. Browns fans, I see you nodding your heads vigorously. The miscue halts the drive, but Folk comes in and hits the 39-yard field goal. A small sign of life from the Jets, but they'll need the defense to respond too.
Heading into our 23rd commercial break of the night (unofficially), the Jets have themselves a little drive going. A steady dose of Shonn Greene, with a little LaDainian Tomlinson, mixed in has the Jets nearing the red zone for the first time tonight. Can they capitalize? Pretty much have to.
Maybe I should have blogged last night's Steelers-Ravens game instead. Best rivalry in the NFL? Thanks to the Jets, this one is turning into a laugher.
Big decision for the Pats -- go for it on 4th and 3 from the 25, or kick a FG into the wind? Belichick decides to go for it ... and it works. Deion Branch catches an under route, the Jets miss the tackle and he breaks it into the end zone. Everything is going the Pats' way. This sort of reminds me of the Pats' playoff game against the Ravens, except the complete opposite. New England can do no wrong; Jets can do no right.
Do the Jets really look ... nervous? From Mark Sanchez all jittery in the pocket, to the coaches getting plays called in late, it sure looks like it. Three and out for the Jets. (Oh, and throw in a solid shank from the punter just for good measure.)
What they are saying on Twitter: @DaveLozo says "The Jets have the Pats where they want them. They just have to wait for the Pats to pull Brady and it'll be another big, late-season win!" Funny guy.
Eric Smith's pass interference on Rob Gronkowski in the end zone set up the Pats 1st and goal from the 1. BenJarvus Green-Ellis pounds it in on his second try. This is a picture-perfect start for the Pats, who look way more prepared than the Jets in all facets. Question for my editor: Can we delete my prediction from the bottom of this page?
Great minds think alike, as Don Banks agrees with my take on Rex Ryan's poor decision-making: "Bad series for Rex Ryan. Let his bravado and emotion get the best of him with that challenge on the spot. You don't win a challenge on a spot in a pileup, only when the spot is out in the open. Then the decision to try that Folk 53 FG was pointless in this wind."
The Jets' first possession ends with an awful miss by Nick Folk from 53 yards. Not a good decision by Rex Ryan to kick there. Between that decision and the choice to challenge the spot, with one series down, it's Guy With 3 Super Bowl Rings winning the intellect battle over Guy With Big Mouth.
As Jon Gruden points out on the broadcast, the Jets' no-huddle is a good way for the Jets to try to exploit the young Pats defense. So far, though, New England is living up to the challenge.
I've lost count of commercial breaks at this point (three? Four? 16?) but the Jets challenged the spot on a 3rd-and-1 sneak by Mark Sanchez near midfield. Rex Ryan's challenge did not work, costing the team a timeout. The Jets decide to go for it anyway, and they get it.
Did I jinx the Pats? Their next three plays -- all incompletions, with the Jets getting good pressure on Tom Brady to force rushed throws. Shayne Graham hits a 41-yarder into the wind.
The Pats first five plays -- 8 yards, 12, 4, 7, 20. I'd say their first-drive gameplan is working out pretty well. Mid-series adjustment from the Jets? We'll see.
• OK, enough with the pregame hype. Lets get this thing kicked off. By the way, for those of you into this sort of thing, I'm blogging this from the living room of my apartment in Jersey City, N.J. 42-inch TV, on. Christmas tree, decorated. 2-month-old son, crying. Just like being in Foxboro.
• Mike Tirico, going sans overcoat or scarf in the open-windowed MNF booth. Bill Belichick, going with a huge puffer coat on the New England sideline. Who would have thought Tirico would be tougher than Belichick?
• Final weather report, from Banks: "27 degrees at game time, with 16 mph winds out of the west, gusting to 24 mph. Wind chill of 15 degrees." Glad I'm indoors.
• Don Banks, SI.com NFL senior writer, is at Gillette Stadium and checks in: "Just got back to my seat in the press box. Had to do an on-field TV hit with Comcast New England. It is freaking windy and freezing. Passing games are going to be really challenged tonight. Might favor Jets big time if it's a running game first type of night."
• Resident Jets fan and master of SI.com's Hot Clicks, Jimmy Traina, weighs in with his realist prediction: "The fact that the Jets have zero pass rush will do them in."
• Don Banks is back with a report on the media atmosphere in Foxboro: "It's a very heavy national media contingent. And I would say as close to a playoff atmosphere as you can generate in the regular season. The press box is so over-flowing tonight that they've shifted where us national guys usually sit to a different row and part of the box, because there's so many of us in attendance." And I can pass on that Patriots media relations chief Stacey James reports on Twitter that the Pats issued 725 media credentials for the game. That's a lot.
• Here are tonight's inactives, per ESPNBoston's Mike Reiss: Patriots: RB T. Clayton; DE/OLB E. Moore; OL M. LeVoir; OL R. Ohrnberger; WR T. Price; DL M. Pryor; DL M. Wright; CB J. Wilhite. And the Jets: OLB J. Westerman; OL V. Ducasse; TE M. Mulligan; TE J. Cumberland; WR L. Coles; DT M. Dixon; DL M. Kroul; K. Clemens (3/QB). No big surprises on either side.
• Does this news about the
• The inimitable Kerry J. Byrne chose Jets-Pats as
• The Jets took the earlier meeting against the Pats 28-14 at the New Meadowlands in Week 2. But, as Cris Collinsworth notes as he
• As far as predictions go, Mr. Monday Morning Quarterback himself, Peter King,