|Trags Take… Jets assume control||11.14.08 at 12:49 am ET|
We said here, in previewing Thursday night’s tilt, that this would be one of the most compelling games of the season. Matt Cassel and Brett Favre helped make us look good with that call. It will go down as a classic game, decided only when Jay Feely, filling in for the injured Mike Nugent, drilled a 34-yard field goal with 7:10 remaining in overtime to lift the Jets over the Patriots, 34-31.
Here were some of the key points of the classic contest at Gillette.
1. Matt Cassel is a stud. No player in the history of the NFL since the 1970 merger had ever thrown for 400 yards and rushed for 60 in the same game… before Cassel did it Thursday night. His ability to lead the team to the game-tying TD in a minute with no timeouts was right out of No. 12′s handbook. Brilliant game… almost as brilliant as his pass to Randy Moss with one second left.
2. The Jets attacked a Patriots front seven that was missing Adalius Thomas (left forearm) and Ty Warren (groin). Thomas could be gone for the the year and the Patriots won’t take any chances with Warren. Pierre Woods played well in spurts and had a sack of Favre on the opening drive of overtime but the Jets showed their resilience and ability to exploit the Pats defense over the rest of a drive that resulted in the game-winning field goal.
3. Brett Favre was masterful. For all the deserved accolades for Cassel, we had the privilege to watch a future Hall of Fame quarterback show us all why he’s on his way to Canton. The overtime drive was perfect in its execution under pressure. Facing 3rd and 15 at his 15, Favre found Dustin Keller in the seam of the zone for 14 yards. By the time Brandon Meriweather got there, Keller bowled him over for two more yards and a first down.
4. The Jets defense may not be all that. They gave up 511 total yards to the Patriots, the most for New England since 597 against the Jets on Sept. 9, 1979.
5. The Patriots learned that their offense is now capable of scoring and coming from behind. They have a formidable challenge in the next two weeks… at Miami on Nov. 23 and home to Pittsburgh on Nov. 30. Their playoff future could hinge on those two games.
New York Jets Head coach Eric Mangini: “I’m doing great. Obviously, coming into this environment we knew it was going to be tough. We didn’t know how the game was going to unfold, but we talked about that all week, the fact that we were going to have to play a complete game and a complimentary game, all three phases. It ebbed and flowed and it went back and forth. We were up and they came back. We pushed back through and at different points in the game it was ebbing and flowing. That is something we anticipated. It’s a great feeling for us, and everybody understands this game was extremely important and it is important because it allows us to make the next game that much more important.”
Brett Favre: “They had all the momentum. They had every reason to win it. We could have easily folded so there’s a lot of things in this game that happened. And based on the history, I’m sure most people would have been betting against us but we found a way to win the game. It ranks right up there near the top. Being in the moment, it’s easy to say it may be at the top.”
New England Head coach Bill Belichick: “I would say it was a tough loss. I thought out players fought hard. We made a lot of plays, the Jets made a lot of plays. In the end they made a couple more than we did. Give them credit. We’re close, just not quite good enough tonight. We dug ourselves a hole and we made some plays to get back in there. We missed some good opportunities in the third quarter to really close the gap. But that is the way it goes.”
Matt Cassel: “I think anytime you can come back from a 24-6 deficit, it’s a building block and something every team should be proud of. Obviously, we never want to lose, but it’s definitely something we can take away and hopefully not have to use down the road, but we might have to use down the road. To show that kind of fight and tenacity, I thought that was great for the team. I hope I’ve earned the confidence of these guys on the team throughout the course of the year. It’s the flip of the coin. It’s very frustrating because you want to be out there and you want to have the ball in your hands and you want to have the opportunity to win the game. Unfortunately, we didn’t have that opportunity.”
The following items courtesy the excellent staff in Patriots media relations:
PATRIOTS HAVE MOST TOTAL NET YARDS IN A GAME SINCE 1979
The Patriots gained 511 total net yards against the Jets (386 passing, 125 rushing), marking the franchise’s highest offensive output since gaining a franchise-record 597 total net yards on Sept. 9, 1979 against the Jets. New England’s 511 total net yards stand as the fourth-highest single-game total in team history. Last season, the Patriots’ season high was 510 total net yards at Buffalo on Nov. 18, 2007.
CASSEL IS FIRST PLAYER SINCE 1970 AFL-NFL MERGER TO TOTAL AT LEAST 400 PASSING YARDS AND AT LEAST 60 RUSHING YARDS IN A GAME
Matt Cassel threw for 400 yards and ran for 62 yards, becoming the first player since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to have 400 or more passing yards and 60 or more rushing yards in a game. Only one other time since 1970 has a player had at least 400 passing yards and at least 50 rushing yards in a game. Steve Young of the San Francisco 49ers had 449 passing yards and 50 rushing yards against Buffalo on Sept. 13, 1992. Young and the 49ers lost that game, 34-31 – the exact same score by which Cassel and the Patriots fell to the Jets. Cassel was also the first player in Patriots history to have 300 or more passing yards and 50 or more rushing yards.
CASSEL HAS MOST RUSHING YARDS FOR A PATRIOTS QUARTERBACK IN 30 YEARS
Matt Cassel had 62 rushing yards on eight carries tonight to lead the Patriots in rushing. His 62 rushing yards are the most by a Patriots quarterback in a game in more than 30 years, dating back to Sept. 24, 1978, when Steve Grogan had 65 rushing yards on six carries in a 21-14 win over the Oakland Raiders. Cassel’s 62 rushing yards are the most in a game by any Patriots quarterback other than Grogan, and the 62-yard performance stands as the sixth-highest single-game total for a quarterback in Patriots history. Grogan holds the franchise record for rushing yards by a quarterback with a 103-yard performance (on seven carries) against the New York Jets on Oct. 18, 1976.
CASSEL PASSES FOR 400 YARDS
Matt Cassel totaled a career-high 400 yards on 30-for-51 passing, recording the ninth 400-yard passing game in Patriots history and the first since Tom Brady had 410 passing yards on Sept. 22, 2002, in an overtime win over Kansas City. Cassel joins Drew Bledsoe (4 times), Tom Brady (1), Tony Eason (1), Steve Grogan (1) and Tom Ramsey (1) as the only quarterbacks in Patriots history to exceed 400 passing yards in a game.
CASSEL SETS CAREER HIGHS
Matt Cassel set single-game career highs for passing yards (400), passing attempts (51), pass completions (30) and rushing yards (62). He also tied his career best with three touchdown passes. Cassel’s 51 attempts were the most for a Patriots player since Tom Brady attempted 54 passes against Philadelphia on Nov. 25, 2007. His 30 completions were the most by a New England player since Brady had 32 completions against the New York Giants on Dec. 29, 2007.
Matt Cassel led clutch two-minute drills at the end of each half, as the Patriots scored key touchdowns with 15 seconds left in the first half and one second left in the second half.
• The first-half two-minute drill covered 68 yards in 10 plays over 1:29, ending in a 19-yard touchdown pass to Jabar Gaffney that cut the Jets lead to 24-13 with 15 seconds left in the first half. The Patriots got the ball, down 24-6, on their own 32-yard line with 1:44 left in the first half. Cassel completed 4-of-8 passes for 47 yards on the drive and ran twice for 21 yards (including a career-long 19-yard scamper).
• The second-half two-minute drill covered 62 yards in eight plays over 1:03, ending in a 16-yard touchdown pass to Randy Moss in the side of the end zone. The extra point following that touchdown tied the score at 31 and sent the game into overtime. Cassel completed 6-of-8 passes on the drive for 67 yards (the two incompletions were spikes to stop the clock).
OVERTIME STREAK SNAPPED
Prior to tonight, the Patriots had won an NFL-record eight straight overtime games (including playoffs). The streak dated back to 2000. The last time the Patriots lost an overtime game was on Nov. 5, 2000, when the Buffalo Bills won 16-13 at Foxboro Stadium. Before falling to the Jets tonight, the Patriots’ last overtime game was on Nov. 23, 2003, at Houston, and New England claimed a 23-20 win. The overtime game against the Jets was the third in Gillette Stadium history, with the others being a 41-38 win over Kansas City on Sept. 22, 2002, and a 27-24 win over Miami on Dec. 29, 2002.
MAYO TOTALS 20 TACKLES, MOST FOR A PATRIOT SINCE 1994
Jerod Mayo was credited with 20 tackles (16 solo) against the Jets by press box statisticians. According to Stats LLC, it was the highest tackle total credited to a Patriot by press box statisticians since STATS LLC’s records begin in 1994. Mayo’s total of 20 tackles tops Roman Phifer’s 19 tackles (13 solo) on Oct. 12, 2003 against the New York Giants as the most by a Patriot over that span. Tackles are an unofficial NFL statistic.
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