Sunday, November 22, 2009

Halftime analysis: Patriots 24, Jets 6

Leigh Bodden's two first-half interceptions -- he has as many catches as the Jets do -- are the big story early, but that's not it:

* Many prognosticators suggested that while New York cornerback Darrelle Revis could handle Randy Moss, the Jets had no one to deal with Wes Welker. They were right.

Welker has eight catches for 139 yards -- in the first half -- and has left cornerback Drew Coleman in his dust on more than a couple of occasions.

Early in the second quarter, Welker lined upon the right side of the Patriots' line next to Moss. When Moss came to a halt in his hitch route, Welker kept going -- and Coleman, Revis and Kerry Rhodes all converged on Moss. Welker waved frantically as he cruised into a wide-open seam, and Tom Brady hit him for a 43-yard gain. Laurence Maroney scored two plays later to give the Patriots a 21-0 lead.

* NFL Network's Rich Eisen tweeted midway through the second quarter, "Revis having brutal game for NYJ. In fact, the Jets may lead the league in talk not backed up."

At best, it's harsh. At worst, it's wrong. Revis actually is doing exactly what he needs to do -- and is a big part of the reason Welker has so many catches. The third-year cornerback broke up two of the first three passes thrown in the direction of Moss.

The first pass Moss caught, a four-yard touchdown pass from Brady, came on an almost instantaneous snap-and-throw that never gave Revis a chance to react. The longest pass Moss caught in the first half went for six yards.

Revis is doing his job on Moss.

* The Patriots suddenly look awfully thin on the offensive line. Second-string left tackle Sebastian Vollmer went to the sidelines with a head injury in the second quarter, and right tackle Nick Kaczur had to gut out the final play from scrimmage after Brady's helmet hit him in the knee. Rich Ohrnberger is the only reserve offensive lineman left, and one would presume Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins would move to tackle if Kaczur is unable to go in the second half.

On the bright side, third-string left tackle Mark LeVoir promptly decimated Jets cornerback Donald Strickland on a wide-receiver screen. On the dark side -- that is the opposite of bright side, right? -- linebacker Bart Scott cruised past LeVoir to hit Brady late in the second quarter, the hit that ended up injuring Kaczur.

* Linebacker Adalius Thomas had been all but forgotten by Patriots fans. Several talk-radio hosts have insisted that Thomas is a lock to be released after the season given how disappointed Patriots coaches seem to be with his play.

Today, though, might be Thomas' best game of the season.

The linebacker started the game in place of Tully Banta-Cain, who the Patriots seemed to be easing back into things after he missed most of the Indianapolis game as well as two of the taem's three practices this week. When Banta-Cain came back into the game, it was Pierre Woods who sat down and Thomas who stayed on the field.

He dropped Shonn Green for a gain of just a yard on the Jets' first play of the second quarter, and he followed that up by drilling Mark Sanchez just as he was throwing on the very next play.

On the Jets' next series, Thomas got into the backfield to force Thomas Jones back inside and into the waiting arms of Vince Wilfork. And when the Jets gave the Wildcat a try, inserting Brad Smith at quarterback to pitch to Green, Thomas combined with Wilfork for a four-yard loss.

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