The Patriots built a 14-10 lead, complete with a highlight-reel touchdown, and were in control for a key victory over their divisional rival. And then the second half happened.
The Jets blanked the Pats in the third and fourth quarters, outscoring them 18-0 in the second frame. Pats Pulpit has more on New England's "especially lackluster performance":
Tom Brady was inaccurate, he kept missing throws left and right (literally). He also stopped spreading the ball around. It seemed that every time he dropped back to pass, he would try to force a pass to Randy Moss, who was always double covered. It was painful to watch and led to two interception. The Patriots also abandoned the run in the 2nd half. Fred Taylor and BenJarvus Green-Ellis were ineffective. The only yards the Patriots were able to manage on the ground came on Kevin Faulk draw plays. Once the Patriots finally got things rolling and began to spread the ball around, the Patriots were down 28-14 with five minutes left. With the Patriots approaching the end zone, Matt Light (who had a good day overall), was absolutely burned by Jason Taylor, who hit Brady and forced a fumble that was recovered by Bryan Thomas of the Jets, essentially ending the game.
And that's just scratching the surface, really. Richard Hill's analysis goes further, and points out how the playcalling is "awful" (on both sides of the ball), the terrible game from second-year back Darius Butler and the general ineffectiveness of Tom Brady.
Brady needs to stop playing stupid. He's going 2007 and airing out the ball, except he doesn't have the 2007 accuracy. I'm going to keep harping on Brady. I said leading up to the game that I'd rather see Brady not throw the ball over 25 yards, as long as he was accurate on passes that were 15 yards down the field. He's fantastic on mid-range throws, but (I know he got a touchdown to Moss, but that was mostly Moss) he can't drop the ball in the hands of his receivers on big throws.
Though, it wasn't all bad for the Patriots.
If I took any positives from this game, it would probably be the play of three rookies, one team veteran and one newcomer veteran: Aaron Hernandez, Brandon Spikes, Gerard Warren, Tully Banta-Cain and Jermaine Cunningham. Aaron Hernandez came up huge as a receiver/tight end. He has good hands, is deceptively fast, and is very elusive after the catch. Gerard Warren had two sacks in the game, and really looks like a solid pickup. Tully Banta-Cain made a couple of nice plays against the run and had one sack, although he probably should have had two. Rookie linebackers Jermaine Cunningham and Brandon Spikes also played well. Spikes looked solid against the run and Cunningham got a couple of quarterback hurries (one of which led to a sack by Gerard Warren) and also had a couple of nice plays against the run.