The New York Jets and New England Patriots met on Thursday night for a sloppy affair marred with bad drops, poor wide receiver play, frustrated quarterbacks and a fight at the end. New England was favored, but couldn't fully secure the game until Aqib Talib picked off his second Geno Smith pass of the night with 56 seconds remaining to seal an ugly 13-10 victory.
Smith played well at times, but held onto the ball too long in critical moments and a trio of second-half turnovers was too much for the offense to bear. Late in the game, he started to force passes to receivers who weren't open, and the result was predictable. If you're looking at the long game, there were some bright spots. When Smith got in a rhythm he threw very well, but it took some time for him to warm up. He also reacted to pressure quite well. Young quarterbacks are often tripped up by even the perception of pressure, but Smith stood tall in the pocket and took hits rather than giving up on plays. The Jets' receivers did little to help Smith out, dropping numerous passes and failing to convert in key situations, but ultimately Smith has to take the blame for the crushing late-game turnovers.
It's rare to see Tom Brady flustered, but the normally-composed quarterback was seething as he watched rookie receiver Aaron Dobson drop three passes in the first half. Dobson opened the game with a 39-yard touchdown reception, but he became more of a liability than a benefit as the game went on. It was clear the Patriots were missing several of their key offensive weapons, and this could become a huge problem as the season progresses. New England needs Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski to return quickly. Luckily the defense stepped up, sacking Smith four times and getting three critical interceptions that stopped solid drives.
The frustration of a long and fruitless game boiled over in the final minute when a fight broke out on the sideline following an Aqib Talib interception. Veteran Jets offensive linemen Willie Colon and D'Brickashaw Ferguson were ejected as a result of the fight and it remains to be seen how the league will react.
Fantasy studs and duds
The lack of receiving ability destroyed Tom Brady's night from a fantasy perspective. He finished the night with just 185 yards passing and one touchdown.
Julian Edelman had a solid night in PPR leagues, as his 13 receptions and 78 yards made up for the lack of scoring.
Did they Cover?
The New England Patriots were 11-point favorites, according to OddsShark, so their three-point victory means they failed to cover the spread.
Sept. 22: New England Patriots vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sept. 22: New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills