QUICKEST WAY TO MAKE YOURSELF A FAN FAVORITE
Aaron Dobson went from being a question mark to an exclamation point right quick. The second-round draft pick has been nursing a hamstring injury and was inactive last week for New England's first game of the regular season. But in Week 2, with Danny Amendola, Shane Vereen, Zach Sudfeld, Brandon Bolden, and Rob Gronowski all sidelined, the receiver returned. First play of his NFL career? a 39-yard touchdown pass. Patriots fans are loving you tonight, kiddo.
SWEETEST KICK SAVE NOT SEEN IN HOCKEY
Aqib Talib -- who knew? Jets quarterback Geno Smith made a beautiful throw to Stephen Hill, but Talib (who first had to deal with linebacker Brandon Spikes getting in his way) stayed on target. Hill almost made the grab, it's just that Talib somehow managed to… kick… the ball out his hands. Cornerback Devin McCourty was there to recover, and scampered back 44 yards. Interesting move. But it worked. Somehow.
TOUGHEST CALL (BUT A GOOD CALL)
Smith threw yet another gorgeous, gorgeous ball in the first quarter, this time, to a streaking Santonio Holmes. While Holmes was making the 27-yard catch, Smith was being violently pressed into a Patriots sandwich. Chandler Jones made a great move on the inside of Vlad Ducasse to get to Smith. Jones came high and the QB got absolutely rocked between him and Steve Beauharnais, who was behind. Penalty: Roughing the passer. Jets would have gotten the yards on that third-down play anyway, but it was a bummer for Jones.
LUCKIEST BREAK FOR THE PATRIOTS
Seven plays after Jones' penalty, Smith was working on another third down. Starting at New England's 9-yard line, the rookie QB went on the run before finding receiver Clyde Gates in the end zone. Touchdow…. Maybe not. With the way linebacker Jerod Mayo wrapped Gates up, it appeared the pass may not have been complete after all. There would need to be indisputable evidence to overturn the touchdown, of course. Verdict after review? No touchdown. Indisputably? No way. Patriots got away with one there.
One would think that not having a player back to return the punt that is being kicked in your direction would be a bad thing. Or a thing that could be costly to your team. Surely, it would be a super weird thing. But New York's second quarter SNAFU -- I'll say again, the Jets did not have a returner back to receive New England's punt -- was saved. By the Patriots. For some reason, Marquice Cole handled said punt at the 20 when it surely would have come down inside the 10. Perhaps boneheaded plays beget boneheaded plays.
MOST PERFECT ENCAPSULATION OF THIS FOOTBALL GAME'S FIRST HALF
New England scored a touchdown to go ahead 19-3 with 24 seconds left in the first half. But, upon review, the stunner of a 25-yard catch rookie Kenbrell Thompkins laid out for was ruled an incomplete pass. First-and-10 turned into second-and-10. The next pass went incomplete. On third down, Brady went on the run but gained nothing. At least the Patriots had Stephen Gostkowski for the 43-yard field goal. Right? Wrong. The kick was flat and flew wide, wide left. Thank heavens for halftime.
SUREST WAY TO REMOVE YOURSELF FROM FAN FAVORITISM
Remember when Aaron Dobson was New England's next best receiver? It was fun while it lasted. In the third quarter, Brady tried Dobson, deep left, to convert on third-and-7. Incomplete. Dobson got his hands on the pass, but couldn't bring it in. Since his first target-reception-touchdown, Dobson was thrown to six other times and caught just one more ball for eight yards.
CLEANEST BIT OF FOOTBALL IN THREE QUARTERS
The Jets executed a solid drive that, oddly enough, started with a sack of Smith. Patriots D-tackle Tommy Kelly took the QB down for a loss of 3 yards on first-and-10. But New York bounced back. Smith led his team to on a nine play, 58-yard touchdown drive that was capped by a perfect 3-yard strike to running back Bilal Powell in the left flat. It was nice, so nice, to see some well-executed offense.
MOST LIKELY TO BE IN THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME
New York was on New England's 27-yard line and Smith was looking for the go-ahead score on third down. The rookie had kept his composure all night; the Patriots should have been nervous. Smith got rattled by pressure, however, and threw a questionable ball to Gates, who was well covered by Kyle Arrington. The pass was broken up. Talib was there to make the pick. Patriots ball.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: PATRIOTS
Honestly? Ryan Allen. With six minutes left to play in the game, the undrafted rookie punted for the 11th time. ELEVENTH. That number hasn't been hit by one team since the Giants did it in Super Bowl XXXV. But seriously, Allen did an excellent job. Not only did he rack up the yards -- 514 total, which tied New England's franchise record -- but his boots were on point.