Tom Brady hit Randy Moss with a 34-yard TD strike late in the second quarter. Moss beat Jets CB Darrelle Revis downfield and impressively brought in the pass with one hand. The Pats went up 14-7 with the highlight-reel play.
But those were the last points the Patriots would score. Jets QB Mark Sanchez got into rhythm in the second half and picked on the Patriots' young secondary en route to a 28-14 Jets victory. Brady threw two interceptions in the second half and was strip-sacked the only other time New England reached the red zone.
The PFW Spin
Brady looked fantastic on the Pats' first drive of the game. Unfortunately for New England, that drive stalled and culminated with a missed field goal. Brady hit four different receivers on the drive. But after hitting Moss for the big TD pass at the end of the second quarter, Brady lost his consistency and became too Moss-happy with Jets All-Pro CB Darrelle Revis out of the game because of a hamstring injury.
Moss had two catches but was targeted 10 times in the game, with zero catches on four targets in the second half. Let's take a look at how Brady's reliance on Moss instead of his other weapons in the second half cost the Patriots:
On their first drive of the third quarter, the Pats were driving as Brady hit RB Kevin Faulk, WR Wes Welker and TE Aaron Hernandez all for seven-yard completions. Then he forced a downfield pass on 3rd-and-13 to Moss, who was covered by Antonio Cromartie. Brady overthrew Moss and it landed in Cromartie's hands. The pick led to a Jets field goal.
Two possessions later, after a seven-yard run by Faulk to start the drive with New England now trailing 21-14, Brady threw to Moss down the right sideline into double coverage. Cromartie was all over Moss and the deflected ball ended up in the hands of Jets FS Brodney Pool for another pick.
Luckily for Brady, the Jets could not take advantage and he got the ball back. On the next possession, after a first down, Brady tried to hit Moss deep down the right sideline on a 3rd-and-7 play. The ball fell incomplete, the Patriots punted and the Jets scored on their next possession to take a two-TD lead.
When the Patriots finally got the offense moving, it was too little, too late, and it didn't involve Moss. Brady got the ball inside the Jets' 16-yard line thanks to completions to RB Sammy Morris, WR Brandon Tate and Hernandez plus a pass-interference penalty. A strip-sack by old Brady nemesis Jason Taylor ended the drive.
Welker had just two catches for five yards in the second half. Hernandez provided a great target for Brady, leading the Patriots with six catches for 101 yards, but he had just two receptions in the second half, too. Brady's determination to get it to Moss with Revis out of the game cost the Patriots opportunities to score. They gained just 80 yards in the second half after piling up 211 yards in the first half.
Luckily for Brady and the Pats, they can heal their wounds with a home game against the lowly Bills in Week Three.