All week long, you couldn't pick up a newspaper or turn on your television without hearing someone from the New York Jets talking trash about how they were going to beat the New England Patriots in an AFC Divisional Playoff matchup. For the most part, the Patriots stayed quiet as head coach Bill Belichick put the kibosh on any smack talk from his team.
Well the Jets backed up their trash talk on Sunday as they stunned the Patriots 28-21in front of a sold-out crowd at Gillette Stadium and nationally-televised audience.
For the Patriots, who rolled through the season at 14-2 and hadn't lost at home all year, the season is over. It's also the third straight loss for quarterback Tom Brady and Belichick in the playoffs.
The Jets get back to the AFC Championship for the second straight year and will face the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field next Sunday at 6:30 p.m. on CBS.
The Patriots won the opening coin toss and deferred until the second half giving the Jets the ball. After two plays the Jets got a first down but the Patriots stopped them on the next three plays to force a punt who would takeover on their own 16.
Things were looking good as the Patriots began to roll down the field as they went 30 yards on their first two plays. They continued to move the ball down the field and 1st and 10 at the Jets 28, Brady tried to throw a screen to Ben-Jarvus Green-Ellis but was intercepted by by Jets linebacker David Harris. He returned it 58 yards down the Pats 12 as Alge Crumpler made the tackle and saved a touchdown.
The Patriots defense helped Brady out though as they stopped two Jets running plays for a loss of eight yards. And after LaDainian Tomlinson was stopped on third down, Jets kicker Nick Folk missed the field goal wide left by a foot.
After forcing a three-and-out, the Patriots would drive down the field and get on the board first with a Shayne Graham 34 yard field goal. But that would be the last time the Patriots would hold the lead in the game.
The Jets would get on the board early in the second quarter when Mark Sanchez hit Tomlinson for a seven-yard square. The score would remain that way until late in the second quarter when the Jets got the ball back after a blotched fake punt by Patrick Chung at his own 38. Sanchez and the Jets made them pay for the mistake as it took them just four plays to get into the end zone as Sanchez found Braylan Edwards for a 15 yard touchdown pass.
Trailing 14-3, the Patriots were unable to score on their first two drives. The good thing for them was the Jets weren't able to either. On the Pats third drive, Brady would get them back to within in eight with a two yard touchdown pass to Crumpler and two point conversion by Sammy Morris.
But the Jets answered quickly as they went down the field in five plays culminated by a great diving catch by Santonio Holmes in the corner of the end zone. After that score, the Patriots held the ball for the next seven and a half minutes but walked away with nothing after Brady's pass to Deion Branch fell incomplete on 4th down.
The Patriots got the ball back with 3:29 remaining and kicked a field after the two-minute warming. They went for an offside kick but Antonio Cromartie returned it 25 yards to the Patriots 20. Two plays later, Shonn Greene found the end zone to make it 28-14. New England would go down the field in seven plays and score a touchdown on Brady's 13 yard pass to Branch.
They were unable to recover the ensuing onsides kick and that's how the game would end with the Jets celebrating on the field.
This was definitely not the result we were expecting. The Patriots, while looking good at times, really were unable to figure out the defensive schemes being thrown at them. Plus when they did have an answer, the defense was unable to make the big stop. And that's what ultimately hurt the Patriots in the end.
We all expected them to win the Super Bowl and now we'll be sitting here wondering what happened. Boston Red Sox spring training can't start soon enough.
Jets at Patriots Gamebook. This includes the box score, all the stats, play by play, drive charts and more.
Game Recap via team website.
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