The Patriots and Jets are set to do battle at Gillette Stadium this weekend, and there are all types of story lines. It'll be the return of Darrelle Revis to Gillette since signing with New York, a first place spot in the AFC East is on the line, and it'll be the first time the Jets have played in Foxborough since Chris Jones ripped their hearts out by blocking what was a game-winning field goal attempt with no time left.
This was one of the final Patriots-Jets games that'd feature Rex Ryan as head coach of the Jets, and it didn't disappoint. The Patriots were 4-2 coming off a win against the Bills in Buffalo. The Jets were 1-5 and looked like they'd be an easy out. They had one of the best run defenses in the league last year, but near the bottom in pass defense. So on paper, this looked like it'd be an easy blow out for Brady and Co., but that was far from the case.
The Patriots came out firing, scoring a touchdown on the opening drive of the game when Brady connected with Shane Vereen deep for 49 yards. Vereen dove for the ball, came down with it and slid into the end zone for the score.
The Jets had answers for the Patriots, however. They scored field goals in three straight possessions in 10 plays or more and were able to keep the Patriots off the board by forcing them to go three-and-out two straight times. New England was getting gashed by running back Chris Ivory and seemed to have no answers for second-year quarterback Geno Smith, who seemingly moved the ball at will.
However, the Jets lead didn't last.
Towards the end of the second quarter, the teams traded scores, but the Patriots struck first. Brady worked the middle of the field to set the Patriots up in the red zone, where he'd hit Shane Vereen for another score, making it 14-9. On that drive, Brady seemingly used all his receivers. He hooked up with Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, as well as Brandon LaFell for a beautiful 27-yard strike.
The Jets inched closer by kicking a field goal as Ivory tortured them on the ground once again, making it 14-12. The Patriots had about a minute left to work with in order to get another score, and they'd do just that.
Brady took the team 53 yards to set up another Stephen Gostkowski field goal with no time left, making it 17-12 Pats at the break.
The Jets started the second half with the ball and wasted no time. Ivory converted on a 1-yard touchdown run to put the Jets back on top. A few plays prior, Smith fumbled the football and it was nearly recovered by Chandler Jones, but Smith was able to recover. 19-17 Jets.
By this point in the game, you could tell it was going to be a back-and-forth kind of game and whomever had the ball with a few minutes left was probably going to win. The back-and-forth continued, as the Patriots answered the Jets' touchdown drive with a field goal, putting them up 20-19.
The third quarter ended with that score, and the teams traded a combined five straight punts until New England broke threw. Brady, while on the run, found Danny Amendola in the left corner of the end zone to put the Patriots up 27-19. Amendola's catch was a thing of beauty and had a lot of people wondering how he was able to corral it.
The Jets had an answer five minutes later. Using a healthy dose of Chris Johnson and short passes, Smith brought the Jets to within two when he found tight end Jeff Cumberland in the end zone. Trying to tie the game, the Jets decided to go for two but failed. This gave the Patriots an opportunity to put the game away for good.
They ended up going three-and-out, but were able to kill about a minute and a half off the clock and had the Jets pinned at their own 12-yard line after a beautiful Ryan Allen punt.
So the Jets had a minute to drive down the field and kick a field goal to win. On any other day against that Patriots defense, that would have been nearly impossible to pull off. But on this night, it was entirely possible.
Once again, using safe, short passes, New York was able to get to the New England 40-yard line and set Nick Folk up for the game-winning field goal. It was a 58-yarder that Folk was absolutely capable of making.
But Chris Jones came to the rescue. Jones leaped up and was able to get a hand on the ball and effectively blocked the field goal as time expired to give the Patriots the win. They improved to 5-2 and the Jets fell to 1-6.
Jones, if you remember, was the same player who was penalized for pushing on another Patriots player on a Jets field goal attempt the previous season in New York. That penalty gave the Jets another chance to kick a field goal, and they converted, upending the Patriots in overtime.
There was no player who deserved redemption in that situation more than Jones, and he made the most of it. It was one of the uglier Patriots wins that season, but one that was a lot of fun to watch.
The final: Patriots 27, Jets 25.
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