By: Steve Balestrieri
The New England Patriots dominated the New York Jets and made the Thanksgiving Night game a laugher before halftime, racing out to a 35-0 lead, enroute to a 49-19 thrashing.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Patriots exploded for 35 points in the second quarter as the Jets made mistake after mistake and the Patriots capitalized on them. In a game that was billed for their playoff lives, the Jets played as if their season was already over.
After a short TD pass from Brady to Welker to put the Patriots up 7-0, the wheels came off the Jets. On fourth and 1 from inside Patriots territory, Shonn Greene was stopped and fumbled and was recovered by Steve Gregory.
Tom Brady then hit for a big scoring play, an 83 yard swing pass to Shane Vereen who blew past Bart Scott with ease and cruised untouched into the end zone. Then on a mixup in the Jets running game, Sanchez turned to hand it off to no one and tried to run it back up the middle.
Vince Wilfork shoved a Jets OL backwards into Sanchez jarring the ball loose. Gregory picked it up and raced 32 yards for a touchdown and stunned the crowd into silence. But to add insult to injury, on the ensuing kickoff Joe McKnight was drilled by Devin McCourty and the ball popped straight into the air and right in the arms of Julian Edelman who waltzed in the end zone and in less than a minute, this game was over at 28-0.
Tom Brady continues to roll: Brady was surgical, 18-28 for 323 yards and 3 TDs with a QB rating of 139.4 averaging over 11 yards per throw. Brady, with a banged up receiving corps and missing Rob Gronkowski absolutely torched the Jets over the middle of the field and according to ESPN Boston completed 11-14 for 282 yards and 2 TDs over the middle.
While he missed some passes deep that he’d like to have back, the Patriots signal caller was again focused and sharp and beat the Jets in every way possible. For the season, he’s now passed for 3299 yards with 24 TDs and 3 INTs with a QB rating of 105.3.
Julian Edelman turned in another big performance before being knocked senseless on a hard but clean hit by LaRon Landry in the second half. He’s finally putting it all together and is becoming a force on offense and on special teams. Scoring the special teams touchdown, a long 56 yard touchdown and two punt returns for 32 yards.
Front Seven Have Big game: Brandon Spikes and Vince Wilfork were immense in the middle of the Patriots defense. Wilfork, taking on double teams all game, was disruptive and blowing up plays in the backfield. Spikes was all over the field, causing the fumble on the Greene fourth and 1 play as well as saving a touchdown on a QB draw by Sanchez, laying him out at the 1-yard line with a huge hit. The Jets had a first and goal at the Patriots 3-yard line and failed to score.
Steve Gregory steps up: Gregory also had a big game, with 2 fumble recoveries, a touchdown and a big interception early in the game. On the play, Kyle Arrington was shading coverage to the outside, Jeremy Kerley cut his route to the inside right into where Gregory was coming free. Sanchez bit and passed the ball, never seeing Gregory zipping across the field to intercept the pass and end a Jets drive.
The secondary play is definitely coming together, while Sanchez passed for 301 yards, those numbers are very misleading, most of them (201) coming in the second half when the game was out of reach.
The offensive line was down Logan Mankins and Sebastian Vollmer but never missed a beat as Brady wasn’t sacked, passed for over 300 yards and rushed for 152 more.
With the win the Patriots improve to 8-3 and more importantly sweep the Jets and drop them to 4-7 in the division. Bill Belichick likes the team to peak after Thanksgiving and that’s exactly what they’re doing. Winners of five in a row, they now have 10 days off to prepare for Miami. While the team went 8-0 in the second half of 2010 and 2011, the team is now 3-0 but with some tough games upcoming in the next few weeks