Monday, October 10, 2011

Pats' Ground Game Grounds Jets

If you were to compare the Patriots' offense to cuisine, you could say that it's normally like gourmet Filet Mignon served in a classy restaurant. On Sunday, the Pats' offense was more like hamburgers and sausages served at a greasy diner. The Patriots actually ran the ball more than they passed it (35 compared to 33). And they ran the ball well.

The Jets might have been expecting a pass-heavy game, but what they got was a heaping helping of BenJarvus Green-Ellis. He ran for 136 and 2 TDs. He averaged 5 per carry, and if he wasn't able to get the job done, then the Pats' gameplan simply wouldn't have worked.

Before I gush on and on about a nice win against our arch-rival, let's think about a few things: Were the Jets even close to being on the same level as the Patriots? Nope

Did the Patriots clearly outplay the Jets and did the Patriots seem to have a superior gameplan? Yes and yes.

So why was this a 6 point game halfway through the 4th? Why was it a 3 point game at halftime?

The Patriots were undoubtedly the better team Sunday, which is good. The Jets are 2-3, with an offense that's not rushing the ball well and a QB that can't be counted on (even by his head coach). But mistakes allowed the Jets to hang in there.

Aaron Hernandez not being able to hang on to a touchdown pass. He's got some ball control issues. I wouldn't go so far as to say that it's a problem, but there have been too many times when he'll be downed, then the ball will pop loose. And on a team that never ever fumbles, stuff like that stands out.

The Patriots were an instant replay review from another Red Zone turnover. The refs got the call right, but Branch was still very close to catching a ball then fumbling it.

Then there's the big kickoff return. That's usually a Patriots' strength, but the timing of that return was like life support to a dying patient. The Jets were on the ropes, that return gave them new life.

I'm not trying to be a downer. The Patriots are 4-1, they're tied for first in the AFC East. They're clearly better than the Dolphins and Jets at the moment, and they now have a running game to go along with that vaunted passing attack. This team's biggest problems are their own mistakes. That's fixable. And to end on a positive note, if these problems do get fixed, they'll be very, very dangerous.

Patriots host the Cowboys next Sunday at 4:15.

Photo Credit:
AP Photo

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