EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 23, 2009

Two-minute Drill

by Hector longo

Big Shows

1. Brady/Welker — Wes Welker's best day ever as a Patriot, and there's been some great ones. He finishes with 15 catches for 192 yards. The man took a pounding. He's sure to feel this one over the next couple days. Sorry, Randy Moss didn't hold up his leg of the triumvirate as he was virtually erased by Darrelle Revis.

2. Leigh Bodden — The Pats corner can thank Mark Sanchez for putting him here as he basically had the ball thrown to him whether he was covering anyone or not. Still, three picks are three picks, tying a Pats' record set by Asante Samuel in 2006.

3. Vince Wilfork/Ty Warren - When it was still a football game and not a walkover, these two owned the line of scrimmage. The Jets managed just 63 rushing yards on 21 carries in three quarters, during which Wilfork and Warren combined for six solo tackles.

No Shows

1. Moss — Humbled in the hyped showdown with Revis, he made five catches for 34 yards.

2. Jonathan Wilhite - Didn't come close to handling Jerricho Cotchery (3 catches, 84 yards, 1 TD).

3. Jerod Mayo - Until all you Kool-Aid sippers wake up, I will continue to state the facts. Mayo finished with five solo tackles on runs which the Jets gained 2, 7, 11, 1 and 4 yards (an average of 5 yards per rush). No interceptions, fumbles, pressures or sacks.

4. Ben Watson - I know he played, because the box score said so, but he wasn't even targeted for a pass. Isaiah Stanback was thrown to a couple times. Watson couldn't draw an attempt.

Grading the Groups

Offense

Line (B) — New England rolled up 410 yards on 78 plays. The front carved out enough room to run and did a decent job protecting Brady. All in all, a solid day considering Dan Connolly started in place of injured Stephen Neal and Mark LeVoir was forced into duty when Sebastian Vollmer left for some time with an injury.

Receivers (B+) — A perfect score of 100 for Welker and a 68 for Moss averages out to an 84. Toss in a couple extra points for any contribution you get from the likes of Julian Edelman (3 catches, 26 yards) and Stanback (1-5) and you get an 87.

Backs (C-) — Laurence Maroney (22 carries, 77 yards) will tell you that if you get 3.5 yards on every carry, it will move the chains. Reality says a good running game nets 4.0 yards or better per carry in the NFL. He gets points for trying and loses some for his second fumble in two weeks. He's just not that good.

Quarterback (A-) — Brady played like the brilliant kid who cruises through high school without lifting a pencil. His fourth straight 300-yard week was spent looking to force the ball into a blanketed Moss, then checking down to Welker, who was open all game.

Coaching (B+) - It wasn't a bounce-back game for the team, but it was for Bill Belichick. He did his job, forcing his troops to turn the page. It helps the Jets were pitiful, turning the ball over five times, but the Pats did enough to make this one easy.

One win from a title?

Not a giant title, just the AFC East Division. Nonetheless, a title is a title. Regardless of what happens a week from tonight in New Orleans, win in Miami on Dec. 6, and the division is pretty much New England's.

The Pats are 7-3. Miami is 5-5 and the Jets are 4-6.

On the bigger playoff front, New England's quest for the No. 2 seed in the AFC got some unexpected help yesterday when the Raiders KO'd Cincinnati in overtime.

The AFC South-leading Colts (10-0) and West-leading Chargers (7-3) stand in the Pats' way.

San Diego's remaining opponents own a 24-35 record, while the Pats, with four road games, will face teams that are currently 33-25.

Not so special

Tough day for the Pats in special teams where Chris Hanson had a punt blocked for a touchdown, Stephen Gostkowski blocked a chippy 40-yard field goal wide right and the Jets returned five kicks for a 29.6 yard average.

"That's a key factor, and from watching the film, I'm sure coach is going to have some corrections," said Kevin Faulk.

In addition to the block, Hanson netted an unacceptable 29.3 yards on the five punts that got away cleanly.

'The San-chise?'

For all the pundits looking to proclaim the Jets as geniuses for moving up in the April Draft to select Mark Sanchez at No. 5 overall, the rookie now has 16 interceptions with only 10 TDs and a completion percentage of 52.1.

"I just tell him to pick his head up and keep playing football because he is obviously very talented and can help this football team win," said fullback Tony Richardson, who obviously wasn't watching his QB play a nice little game of catch with Leigh Bodden.

Where's Welker?

The Jets certainly had no clue as Tom Brady targeted Welker 17 times, connecting on 15 of those for 192 yards.

"I knew there were probably going to be a lot of balls coming my way," said Welker. "I think I expect the ball to come my way every time I'm on the field. That's my mentality every time I step out there."

Clearly, New York wasn't expecting what Welker was, losing him early and often.

"We knew he was very good at changing directions, going in and out of breaks," said New York cornerback Drew Coleman. "We knew that he was going to get his grabs and he very seldom misses."