By Bruce Allen, Patriots Daily Staff
Last year, the Patriots had plenty of problems. Perhaps the biggest was their performance in the second half of games while out on the road. Many changes were made this offseason to try and address that issue, with stronger leadership, more offensive weapons, a faster defense, and Bill Belichick getting more involved in the defense.
Yesterday showed there is still a long ways to go before this problem can be deemed fixed.
The Patriots looked OK in the first half. The defense was fairly stout, they got some pressure on Mark Sanchez, and were decent against the run. On offense, they moved the ball pretty much with ease, and were able to protect Tom Brady.
As the first half wound down, the offense electrified Patriots fans with a pair of quick strike passes. First Brady hit Aaron Hernandez for a long gain, with the rookie tight end dodging defenders and getting huge yardage after the catch. Then Brady went straight down the middle to the end zone, where Randy Moss caught the ball with one hand (never putting a second hand on the ball) two steps ahead of Darrelle Revis, who, at the very instant that the ball landed in Moss’ hand, grabbed his hamstring and started limping. He was seen getting treatment on the sidelines, and then left for the Jets locker room, not to be seen again.
Patriots fans (at least the ones I was with) were going nuts at this point. Moss had finally gotten off “Revis island” and Revis, while Revis is legitimately injured, the timing of the injury certainly was bad, as it looked like he was building his ready-made excuse for finally getting beaten by Moss for a long TD.
Little did we know that this would be the high point of the afternoon for the Patriots. This gave them a 14-7 lead, but the Jets marched right back and kicked a last second field goal to close to 14-10 going into the half.
The second half was a nightmare. The Jets completely dominated in all aspects of the game, picking off Tom Brady, getting the running game going behind a suddenly resurgent LaDainian Tomlinson and finding Braylon Edwards and Dustin Keller in the passing game. The Patriots defense stopped getting pressure on Sanchez, and were penalized with personal fouls and pass interference calls that kept Jets drives moving.
All in all, this was a very discouraging afternoon for followers of the team, yet we certainly need to keep in mind that this is week two, there are a lot of young and inexperienced parts on this team that are going to take their lumps in the early going. The problem yesterday was that it wasn’t the rookies that let them down. Cunningham, McCourty, Hernandez and company actually looked pretty good for the most part. It was Tom Brady and the offense that had the most problems. You gotta think that is going to get better.