The New England Patriots had a 21-10 halftime lead, and it was looking like a familiar fate awaited the Jets: a blow-out loss against Tom Terrific and the New England Patriots. However, in a fleeting moment, Jets defensive back, Antonio Allen, changed everything. On 2nd-and-16 from the Patriots 14 yard line, Allen stepped in front of a Brady pass intended for Rob Gronkowski and returned it 23-yards for a touchdown, cutting the Patriots lead to 4 points, and turning momentum back in the Jets favor.
“It was huge,” QB Geno Smith said, “to put points on the board, to cut the deficit to four. The defense came out that second half and played a phenomenal game. My hat goes off to them because they really sparked us.”
The Jets defense followed a rough first half with a dominant second, and held Tom Brady at bay, as the Jets defeated the New England Patriots 30-27 in overtime — their first win in their last six attempts.
Chants of “GENO, GENO, GENO” could be heard circling around a rabid MetLife Stadium after Smith’s darting 8-yard touchdown run in the 3rd quarter gave the Jets a 24-21 lead — a clear signal from the Jets fanbase that they approve Smith as their quarterback.
Aside from an early interception, that was returned for a touchdown by the Patriots’ Logan Ryan, Smith was excellent. The rookie completed 17-of-33 passes for 233 yards, and a touchdown. Smith used both his arm, and his legs, to outsmart the Patriots defense. He ran for a decisive first down late in the first quarter on 3rd-and-14, and then juked his way into the endzone for the go-ahead score.
“I was thinking, ‘Should I dive? Should I cut back?’?” Smith said on his first down run in the third quarter. “The guy made a pretty good hit, but I didn’t go down.
“I’m never going to crumble, No matter what happens,” Smith said. “You know, that’s just not in me.”
Keeping Tom Brady off the field is a key component to winning against the Patriots, and the Jets did so by controlling the clock. The Jets had a time of possession of 46:13 (to the Patriots 23:40). The advantage in the time of possession was attributed to the Jets running game. In his first major action of the season, Chris Ivory helped the Jets to 177 total yards rushing, with 104 yards on 34 carries.
As they did in their first meeting this season, the Jets held Tom Brady to under 50% completion percentage. Rex Ryan continued his trend of confusing the future hall-of-famer — Brady has had a total QB Rating of 27.3 in two games against the Jets in 2013, according to ESPN Stats & Info. Not even the return of his hulking tight end, Rob Gronkowski, who Brady targeted a career-high 17 times, could help the Patriots. Safety Antonio Allen relatively shut him down: Allen intercepted a pass intended for Gronkowski on the second play of the third quarter for a touchdown, and batted down multiple passes directed at the tight end.
“You’ve just got to be physical with him at the line of scrimmage,” Allen said, “just play with your feet, make sure your eyes are in the right spot and just play. He’s a big physical guy. I knew he’d be getting a lot of balls so I knew I’d have an opportunity to make a couple big plays.”
For all the Jets heroics, they also benefited from lady luck. Jets kicker, Nick Folk, missed a 56-yard field goal in overtime, which would have given the Jets the victory. However, thanks to a little known, brand new rule which penalizes players from pushing teammates into the offensive formation the Jets were given another chance. The Patriots were penalized 15-yards, and an automatic first down for unsportsmanlike conduct, which gave Folk a second chance. He didn’t disappoint. Hitting a 46-yard game-winning field goal, which sent MetLife stadium into euphoria.
“I was fairly happy about it, thus my reaction,” Ryan said with a smile about the enforced penalty that gave the Jets another chance.” But I was like, “You know what? It’s about time we got a break.” That’s really what I was thinking. It just worked out.
The penalty, which was added into the rulebook this year by the NFLPA to improve player safety, even dumbfounded the most genius of football minds, Bill Belichick.
“You can’t push in the second level,” Belichick said. “I didn’t think we did that.”
After the win, the Jets (4-3) now sit one game out of first place in the AFC East, and will face the AFC North leading Cincinnati Bengals (5-2) next week in Cincinnati.