By Brad Carroll
The New York Jets suffered one of the most frustrating losses of the Rex Ryan era Thursday night against the Patriots, dropping a 27-25 decision that easily could and should have been a victory. Take away two horrible plays by safety Antonio Allen and a shank punt by Ryan Quigley in the fourth quarter and the Jets likely win this game.
But that's the story of the 2014 Jets, a team just a few plays and players away from being a playoff contender. This Jets team has now lost six straight games to fall to 1-6 on the season. The postseason is now a pipe-dream, as the Jets would have to win 8 of their last nine games to have a chance. Knowing this Jets teams, there is a slim to none chance of that happening.
Here are the players worthy of Game Balls after the Jets loss, and those that were most responsible for the defeat, and are saddled with Game Falls. Read our Jets-Patriots game breakdown here.
Chris Ivory: Finally, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg came to the realization Ivory is the best player the Jets have on offense and used him as such. Ivory ran 23 times for 107 yards and a touchdown. He could have had 200 if the Jets kept on feeding him, but we'll just be happy Ivory got the big majority of carries Thursday. Ivory also had four catches for 18 yards. Ivory is a beast and everyone who follows the team knew it from Week 1. Too bad the coaches caught on too late.
Eric Decker: The Jets wide receiver took another big step in proving himself as a No. 1, something many so-called experts have questioned. Not many wide-outs have gone toe-to-toe with Darrelle Revis and won, but Decker did. He caught four passes for 65 yards, both team-highs for the Jets.
Geno Smith: He played his best game of the season Thursday, completing 20-of-34 passes for 226 yards and a touchdown. He led six scoring drives, four field goals and two touchdowns. Two of the field goal drives were hampered by holding penalties, by Oday Aboushi and Willie Colon, the former which wiped out a touchdown pass to Jeremy Kerley. Smith also rushed for 37 yards on seven carries. Smith also played turnover-free football. If Smith played like this every week, the Jets would be playoff contenders. But that's the problem with Smith, he's way too inconsistent to be a starting quarterback in the NFL.
Offensive Line: The two holding penalties were a big detriment to the offense in the early going, but overall, the Jets offensive line bounced back from a terrible day last week against Denver to have a big night against the Patriots. The Jets rushed for 218 yards and controlled the line of scrimmage against New England, even with Aboushi getting his first career start in place of Brian Winters. This time, the Jets were the aggressors at the point of attack and the result was a huge day running the football.
Mo Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson: The Jets have two of the best defensive player in the NFL on the defensive line, and they proved it again Thursday night. Wilkerson had two tackles, but hit Tom Brady three times and had a batted pass that nearly ended in an interception. Richardson had five tackles and a hit on Brady.
Antonio Allen: It can't be easy switching from safety to corner every week, but Allen is still getting paid a great amount of money to play defense in the NFL, so there are no excuses for his performance Thursday night. Allen got beat terribly on two touchdowns by Brady, one a 49-yard bomb to a wide-open Shane Vereen on the first possession of the game, and the second on a 19-yard pass to Danny Amendola on third and goal. On the first, Allen completely misread the coverage, moving up toward the underneath receiver instead of staying deep. He got burned, as Vereen ran right down the sideline uncovered for a touchdown. On the second, Allen got completely spun around by Amendola, allowing a back-breaking touchdown that put the Jets down eight. Allen also had a pass interference call against him late in the first half, allowing the Patriots to move 32 yards downfield in a hurry, setting up a field goal heading into halftime.
Ryan Quigley: He picked the worst possible time to shank a punt, hitting one for just 30 yards with the Jets trailing by one with under 11 minutes to go in the game. The horrible punt put the Patriots at the Jets 46. Seven plays later, Brady hit Amendola for a touchdown on third and 19.
Jace Amaro: For the second straight game, the rookie dropped a pass that was right in his hands. He had just three catches for 22 yards.
Quinton Coples: He barely played against the Patriots, which is a tremendous drop for the former first round draft pick. Coples had just one tackle and will probably be jettisoned after the season.
Kyle Wilson: The former first round draft pick couldn't even start over Philip Adams. He's that bad. Wilson also missed a tackle in the game, resulting in a big play for the Patriots.