In Week 2, the New England Patriots beat the New York Jets in the Meadowlands, 19-10. It was a hard-fought, field-position-is-everything, kind of game. The kind of game where the team playing safe, smart and fundamentally sound usually comes out on top. In a manner of speaking, it was not a Brett Favre kind of game.
Anatomy of a Play
The stats were virtually identical:
When two teams are that evenly matched, mistakes are magnified, and the Jets made two that arguably cost them the game.
The other was Favre's third-quarter interception. It was the game's only turnover, and it gave the Patriots a short field, leading directly to their only touchdown.
Favre's interception was classic Favre. On second-and-24, he could have thrown a checkdown for 10 yards to set up a manageable third down, or he could have taken a shot at picking up the first down in one big chunk. It's not hard to guess which option he chose.
The route combination was designed to high/low Meriweather, the safety. A high/low route combination means one receiver runs a short route and another runs a deep route, attacking a defender at different levels.
Again, it was second-and-24. If Favre took the safe play to Franks, the Jets likely would have picked up between 10-15 yards and given themselves a chance on third down. That would have been the smart play.
Favre chose to make the tougher throw to Baker, and the pass fluttered short, into the hands of Meriweather. That kind of mistake is bad in any game, but in a 6-3 game in which your defense is playing great? Huge mistake.
During the broadcast, Phil Simms took Favre off the hook by blaming left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson for getting pushed back into Favre. Favre couldn't step into the throw, because Ferguson was in his lap. True. But if Favre had thrown the ball to Franks, Ferguson's protection would not have come into question.
The two plays summarized the game and what might transpire again on Thursday night:
» If Favre is patient and takes what the defense gives him, he'll protect the ball, his defense, his offensive line and himself.