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Team Grades: Jets Make Statement With Win Over Patriots, Capitalize On Belichick's Bizarre OT Decision

By Abraham Gutierrez 

There’s no question that the game between the New England Patriots and the New York Jets had the feeling of a playoff contest, as neither team was willing to back down with high stakes on the line. However, the one thing that everyone will be talking about for weeks was the Patriots’ bizarre decision to kickoff after winning the coin toss in the extra session.

The result is something that Patriots fans will not soon forget as the Jets received, marched down the field, and scored the game-winning touchdown without ever allowing Tom Brady and the offense to touch the football in a 26-20 victory.

“I thought there was a big miscommunication there, and then, it was our ball, I was like ‘what the hell?’” said Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall when asked for his reaction to the Pats decision to kickoff rather than receive in overtime. “After the game, Josh McDaniels came up to me – old ball coach in Denver – and I was like ‘what were you guys thinking?’ and he explained to me the situation a little bit, I didn’t believe him.”

Thus, the Jets extended their win streak to five games and improved their record to 10-5 on the season, while the Pats were dealt a devastating blow in their hopes of securing home-field advantage all the way to the Super Bowl, dropping to 12-3.

Naturally, after the game, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was asked to explain what had exactly transpired during the coin toss.

“Cause we thought that was the best thing to do,” said the longtime Pats coach when asked about his decision to defer rather than receive. “There was no confusion. I just answered that same question… there was no confusion…”

Offense: A+

Offensively, the Jets come out and established the tone early, rushing the football with purpose and taking a healthy amount of shots downfield. In the end, Gang Green’s offense outperformed the mighty Patriots in seemingly every statistical category.

The Jets finished the game with 24 first downs and 428 yards of total offense, out of which, 143 came on the ground and 285 through the air. This unit also converted on 5-for-13 on third down situations, and dominated the time of possession battle by chewing up 34 minutes and four seconds of gametime.

Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick continued his terrific play, connecting on 63 percent of his passes, going 26-for-41 for 296 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions for a quarterback rating of 109.4.

At the receiving end of most of his passes was another guy having a sensational year, as Brandon Marshall once again led all receivers with eight grabs for 115 yards and two scores. Despite having a quiet night, Fitzpatrick's second-favorite option, Eric Decker, was also on the receiving end of one of his touchdown passes, closing out the day with three receptions for 47 yards and a TD.

Finally, it would be criminal to talk about the Jets offense without mentioning the effort of their three-man combination coming out of the backfield. Instrumental in winning the time of possession battle was Bilal Powell (7 rushes, 56 yards), Chris Ivory (11 rushes, 38 yards) and Stevan Ridley (7 rushes, 36 yards).

Defense: A+

On the defensive side of the football, it’s safe to say that the Jets once again proved to be among the league’s best, especially going up against the team that many consider will be repeat Super Bowl champs this year.

Even going up against the great Tom Brady, the Jets defense held the Patriots to 16 first downs and a whopping 184 yards of total offense (63 rushing yards, 221 passing yards). This unit also allowed New England to control the ball for only 28 minutes and 33 seconds and was extra special on third down situations, surrendering just one conversion in 10 tries.

Special Teams: A+

Kicker Randy Bullock couldn’t have been better, closing out the evening with eight points scored on a pair of extra-points and two made field goals, including a long of 49 yards. Punter Ryan Quigley was also on his game, averaging 48 yards per boot.

Coaching: A+

There’s no question that the gameplan for this game was as close to perfect as it gets, on both sides of the football. Not only did the Jets come out and play with a sense of urgency, but the fact that they were able to close out the game – which they didn’t do in their first meeting of the season – shows a clear sign of growth and maturity.

Much like it’s been said all year, the job that Todd Bowles has done with this squad is nothing short of considerations for 2015 NFL Coach of the Year honors.

“It was a good win, like I said, three of the last four weeks we’ve been fighting and winning these types of games, so to win one against a quality team like that at our place it helps out,” Bowles said in his post-game press conference. “We knew we has to win a ballgame, regardless of who we were playing or which over team we were playing, we just had to win a ballgame, it just happened to be the Patriots.”

Abe Gutierrez's (Twitter: @GutierrezAbe) passion led him to ditch law school journey in order to launch his own publishing company. His expertise make him a valued addition to, and the CBS-Sports family. Some of his work can be found on CBS-Miami (Dolphins), CBS-LosAngeles (Chargers), CBS-BayArea (Raiders), CBS-NewYork (NY Jets), CBS-TampaBay (Buccaneers),, and other online publications.

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