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Antonio Cromartie: My feelings for Tom Brady ‘haven’t changed’

01.16.11 at 11:49 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Antonio Cromartie stood at the podium in a plain white t-shirt. He was triumphant but reserved in his comments. There were no “I told you so’s” coming out of out his mouth after his Jets eliminated the Patriots, 28-21, before a stunned Gillette Stadium crowd. For once, he just let his actions speak on the field.

And did they ever. He shadowed Deion Branch for most of the game, making a key 4th down stop on 4th and 13 at the Jets 34 as Tom Brady looked for Branch on the left sideline. Branch was targeted 10 times but caught just five balls for 59 yards and nothing deep.

“Our whole thing was just going out and doing the things that we needed to do,” Cromartie said in a very calm, relaxed tone. “I think we had success this game and got Brady all frustrated. [We] got him moving outside the pocket. We felt like once he moved outside the pocket that he wasn’€™t as accurate as a passer. We just did the things that we needed to do, and we went out and scored points. We caused turnovers and things like that, and that’€™s what you have to do.”

What Cromartie and the Jets caused Sunday was chaos, sacking Brady five times, knocking into him several other times and picking him off for the first time since mid-October.

Brady completed 29-of-45 passes for 299 yards but was hardly comfortable all game. As a matter of fact, it was the collective effort of Cromartie and Darrelle Revis on Branch and Wes Welker that gave Brady no open receivers for most of the afternoon.

Before the last game, the Jets were hit by the loss of safety Jim Leonhard. Cromartie said that hurt them then but not on Sunday.

“We were flat,” Cromartie said. “That week there are really no excuses, but when you lose a guy like Jim Leonhard during an important weekend like that, it takes a toll on guys because the communication wasn’€™t there [and] we had to put guys in to fill his spot. And coming into this weekend, we had guys to the point that we could go out and communicate. We have five weeks with those guys, and we’€™re all playing on a very high level. We had a great game plan. Coach Rex [Ryan] and his staff put a great game plan together.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: antonio cromartie, Bart Scott, Ben Roethlisberger, New England Patriots

Scott: Brady was ‘fidgeting’ in pocket

01.16.11 at 9:23 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Jets linebacker Bart Scott met with the media following his team’s 28-21 win over the Patriots. Scott was asked when he knew that the Jets were in the head of Tom Brady on Sunday.

“When he started looking for the rush when there was no rush,” said Scott. “When he thought after a certain amount of time, he was fidgeting. I give Ben Roethlisberger a lot of credit, he’s man enough to stay in the pocket, look in the barrel of the gun and take the hit. Most quarterbacks don’t like getting hit. When they get hit, they turn into a totally different person.”

Scott had lectured the media earlier in the week about the difference between the regular season and the playoffs, and he hammered that point again Sunday night in the locker room.

“We were given virtually no chance, but we knew that his [Brady] TD/INT ratio was high in the last four, five playoff games,” said Scott. “Some of the guys that came in last year were part of an ass-kicking by the Baltimore Ravens. We knew that we could perform and not be over-hyped. We can handle the emotion.

“They aren’t a vertical offense. We didn’t fear any of them deep, we knew they couldn’t get deep. We knew that they are small guys. People talk about how that’s a disadvantage to us, how about being a big, physical defense being an advantage for us? Those guys started wearing down on defense and offense.”

Scott was asked if this win meant that Rex Ryan could now be looked at as an equal of Bill Belichick’s as a coach.

“Why not better? Belichick is one Mo Lewis hit from being fired,” Scott said. “[Brady] don’t come in we might be talking about him on the unemployment line.”

Read More: Bart Scott, Jets, Patriots, Tom Brady

Deion Branch rips ‘classless’ Jets for postgame celebration

01.16.11 at 8:53 pm ET
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FOXBORO ‘€” Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch ripped some of the Jets for what he called ‘€œclassless’€ postgame celebrations in the wake of the Sunday’€™s divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium.

Branch would not single out any individuals, but several Jets players were seen giving the finger to fans on the way off the field after the 28-21 win by New York.

‘€œThere was a lot of classless play on the football field after the game. But you have to expect that from some of the guys over there,’€ Branch said. ‘€œSome of the guys ‘€¦ that was the only thing that was embarrassing. I think right now, there’€™s just a lot of frustration.

‘€œI’€™m a champion. I’€™ll always congratulate the guys upon victory. They beat us today. They beat us when it mattered. So the ones with class, I shook their hands. The other ones, I didn’€™t. They don’€™t deserve my nor my teammates congratulations for them to act like that. You can tell they’€™re not used to being in this position for guys to act that way ‘€” for some of the guys. You can tell some of the guys who have been in this position before, they act differently than the ones who haven’€™t been there. But I don’€™t have any excuses. They beat us. That’€™s all right.’€

Read More: Deion Branch, Patriots, playoffs,

Bill Belichick: ‘Bad mistake’ on fake punt

01.16.11 at 8:29 pm ET
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Trailing 7-3 late in the first half of their divisional round playoff game with the Jets, the Patriots called for a fake punt from their own 37-yard line. The snap went to the up-man, Pat Chung, who bobbled the snap and was stopped for no gain. The Jets took over with one minute, six seconds on the clock and proceeded to score a touchdown just before halftime to make it 14-3.

“We just made a bad mistake on the play,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. Asked if he meant the play-call or the execution Belichick said, “I’m not going into it.”

The seven points were crucial in the Patriots’ 28-21 loss, but it was far from the only big play that didn’t go their way. “We just didn’t play well,” Belichick said. “Didn’t coach well. Didn’t do anything well.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, pat chung,

Snap Judgments: Jets 28, Patriots 21

01.16.11 at 7:44 pm ET
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The season came to a shocking end for the Patriots on Sunday, as the New York Jets took care of the walking the walk part, getting three TD passes from Mark Sanchez and a constant pass rush on a flustered Tom Brady to pull off a 28-21 upset and advance to the AFC championship game for the second straight season.

WHAT WENT WRONG:

Mark Sanchez Gets It Done: Sure, he had some shaky throws early, but give Sanchez credit: He was — by far — the best quarterback on the field Sunday. His final numbers (16-of-25 for 194 yards and a passer rating of 127.3) were terrific, and now Sanchez has four playoff victories in his first two seasons (all on the road). two throws really stand out — a third-and-six pass to Braylon Edwards for 37 yards to set up the Jets’ first touchdown and the corner TD toss to Santonio Holmes. Sanchez has always been an easy target but this was an absolute statement game.

Fake Punt: Why, Bill, why? Why try a fake punt at your own 38-yard line with a minute left in the first half? In a 7-3 game? Throw in the fact that the Pats got the ball to start the second half and it’s hard not to call it a panic move by Belichick. Even if the Patrick Chung didn’t drop the direct snap I’m not sure he’s picking up the four yards needed. The Jets took advantage of the short field to score a late TD and take a 14-3 lead into the locker room. One of a couple of head-scratchers from Belichick, who wasted a challenge on a Holmes catch at midfield in the first half and then allowed the offense to take a … lot … of … time to move the ball down double-digits late in the fourth quarter.

Tom Brady Never Gets Comfortable: Give Rex Ryan credit — he refused to let Brady have time to carve the Jets again. Pressure came all game long, and it rattled Brady, who struggled to find a comfort zone. Open receivers were overthrown (the INT was intended for an open BenJarvus Green-Ellis), wide-open players were missed and Brady took a couple of terrible sacks that were no fault of the offensive line. A flat-out stinker for Brady, who has two straight awful home playoff performances on his resume. He finished the game 29-of-45 for 299 yards, with two touchdowns, a pick and five sacks.

WHAT WENT RIGHT:

Vince Wilfork: Very active performance from Wilfork, who made a big second-down tackle for a loss on LaDainain Tomlinson on the series following the Harris INT, which led to the missed 30-yard field goal by Nick Folk. He also beat Nick Mangold to force pressure on Sanchez on an incomplete pass to Santonio Holmes in the second quarter and had another tackle for a loss on Shonn Greene.

Alge Crumpler Hustle: Harris would have had a TD on his INT return were it not for Crumpler, who managed to run the linebacker down and make a tackle at the NE 12-yard line. Turned out to be a points-saver, as the defense stepped up and Nick Folk missed a 30-yard field goal. It was part of an up-and-down day for Crumpler, who caught a 28-yard pass in the first quarter and a two-yard TD in the third quarter but dropped a pass in the end zone in the first quarter and was beat by Calvin Pace on a third-quarter sack and forced fumble of Brady.

Halftime analysis: Jets 14, Patriots 3

01.16.11 at 6:03 pm ET
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FOXBORO ‘€” Two quarters are in the books here at Gillette Stadium, and the Jets hold a 14-3 lead.

It’€™s been a slow start for Tom Brady and the Patriots, as the New England has looked uneven throughout the first two quarters. Brady is 9-for-16 for 96 yards and an interception. Meanwhile, Mark Sanchez (10-for-16 for 101 yards) has also looked wobbly at times, but has thrown two touchdown passes, the second coming with 33 seconds left in the second quarter to Braylon Edwards after the Patriots appeared to botch a fake punt in their own end that concluded the first-half scoring.

It took a little while for both teams to settle down, as both teams missed big chances early. On New England’€™s first series, Brady threw his first pick since Oct. 17, as New York’€™s David Harris made a nice play and took the ball all the way back to the New England 12-yard line. (Alge Crumpler made a great touchdown-saving tackle.) It was Brady’€™s first interception in 340 pass attempts. The Jets were forced to settle for a 30-yard field goal attempt, one that sailed wide left. Meanwhile, the Patriots were able to steer the ball into the New York red zone, but a drop by Crumpler of a catchable ball in the end zone meant the Patriots had to settle for a 34-yard field goal from Shayne Graham that made it 3-0 with 1:12 left in the first quarter.

The Jets were able to take the league when they put together a nice drive early in the second quarter when they had a five-play, 49-yard drive that took 1:56 and ended with a seven-yard pass from Sanchez to LaDainian Tomlinson to make it 7-3 with 10:24 left in the second quarter. (Linebacker Gary Guyton, who was in coverage against Tomlinson on that play, got caught up in traffic and was taken out of the play, freeing up Tomlinson.) The drive was highlighted by a 37-yard pass play from Sanchez to Braylon Edwards where Edwards beat Darius Butler down the sideline.

Even though it was Harris who made the big play on the interception, defensive end Shaun Ellis sparked the New York defense early with a pair of impressive first-quarter sacks. Drew Coleman added a nine-yard sack early in the second quarter, as the Jets continued to do a good job defending the Patriots in the passing game.

The Patriots special teams has been bad. One of the reasons the score is what it is after two quarters is because the Jets are winning the battle of field position. Opponents began only seven drives inside the Patriots’€™ 50-yard line during season. The Jets did it twice in the first 1½ quarters. In addition, a botched snap on a punt attempt (that might have been a fake) gave the ball to the Jets deep in New England territory at the end of the first half. New York turned that into a 15-yard touchdown pass from Sanchez to Edwards with 33 seconds left in the first half to make it 14-3.

Read More: halftime analysis, Jets, Patriots,

Inactive analysis for Patriots

01.16.11 at 3:41 pm ET
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FOXBORO ‘€” The Patriots have just announced that the following players are inactive for Sunday’s playoff game against the Jets: running backs Fred Taylor and Thomas Clayton; offensive linemen Rich Ohrnberger and Mark LeVoir; wide receiver Taylor Price; defensive lineman Myron Pryor, defensive back Tony Carter and outside linebacker Marques Murrell.

No great surprises on the list ‘€” the biggest news is probably Taylor. The Patriots will be going with just three backs in BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Sammy Morris and Danny Woodhead. In addition, every one of the players who were questionable over the course of the week, a group that includes tight end Aaron Hernandez, linebacker Jermaine Cunningham and wide receiver Deion Branch, are all active and ready to go.

No surprise that Pryor isn’t able to go ‘€” a back injury has limited him over the second half of the season. But it continues to leave the Patriots thin along the defensive line. In his place, Kyle Love, Eric Moore and Brandon Deaderick become more vital to New England’s depth up front.

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