Just a week after suffering a miserable 19-6 loss on home turf against the winless Steelers, the unpredictable Jets pulled off a memorable victory which will live long in the memory.
It was Nick Folk who held his nerve to kick a game-winning field goal for the third time this season and give his side their first win against the Patriots in six games.
Yet the win was not without controversy – as Folk and the Jets were given a second chance after a missed attempt to win the game was scrubbed off due to a flag.
Patriots DT Chris Jones was called for unsportsmanlike conduct for pushing a team-mate through the Jets line before Folk pushed his 56 yarder wide left.
After being handed an automatic first down, the home side duly drove a further 14 yards before Folk took advantage of his second chance to spark jubilant scenes in the New Meadowlands.
Despite entering as firm underdogs, the Jets put in composed, classy display to outperform their rivals.
In the early exchanges the Jets showed their ability to move the ball on offense – with Geno Smith throwing a 12 yard touchdown to Jeremy Kerley on the opening drive.
Although they saw a poor Smith throw intercepted for a Patriots touchdown to leave them trailing by seven, the home side continued to move the chains and looked calm in possession.
An eight yard TD run from the impressive Smith gave his side the lead late in the third quarter – and although they were forced to overtime by two fourth-quarter Patriots field goals they still took victory.
Geno Smith ended the day with 233 yards having connected with 17 of 33, recording just the one interception and accounting for two TDs.
Yet perhaps the star man on offense was Chris Ivory as he carried for over 100 yards with a determined effort. Taking 34 carries, Ivory’s stamina and motor proved crucial in the closing stages and gave the Jets an extra dimension to their offense.
For the Patriots, it was a different story – with the return of Rob Gronkowski doing little to improve their offensive productivity.
Despite throwing just five yards less than his rookie counterpart, Brady connected with just 22 of 46 attempts with a disjointed showing.
He continues to struggle to build up any connection with his receivers having lost Wes Welker prior to the 2013 season.
Brady relied heavily on the returning Gronkowski yet was largely kept quiet by the Jets defense. The Patriots ended with just one third down conversion out of twelve attempts much to their dismay, whilst less than 300 total offensive yards proved a big issue with a disjointed showing.
Although solid on offense, it was on the other side of the ball that the Jets again starred.
The frightening defensive line of Mohammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and Damon Harrison continues to terrorize offensive lines as they unsettled Tom Brady and made the job of the secondary so much easier.
Harrison bagged his first career sack as he continues to be a revelation at nose tackle in 2013, whilst Wilkerson, Quinton Coples and Calvin Pace also dragged Brady down with powerful performance.
With Wilkerson, rookie Richardson, Pace and Coples excelling around the edges the Patriots run game was also snuffed out – particularly during what was a superb second half for the Jets.
Demario Davis continues to be a reliable figure at Middle Linebacker as he made nine tackles – plus some good coverage from the returning Dee Milliner, Kyle Wilson and Antonio Cromartie kept Brady’s options to a minimum.
Perhaps the biggest question mark surrounding the Jets defense has been their inability to generate turnovers – yet they claimed a pivotal pick-six from Antonio Allen early in the third quarter.
The Jets also forced a fumble in the first half, and although not recovered they showed much more bite and aggression whilst going after the ball.
After an enthralling game between two determined sides, the question now posed is what lies ahead for the Patriots and the Jets?
For the Jets it is a magnificent win which moves them to a healthy 4-3 – just one win behind the Patriots at the top of the AFC East.
Wins against the Falcons and now the Patriots show their ability to compete with – and beat – the best, displaying heart and character which will stand them in good stead throughout the rest of the season.
However, they now face a difficult task with a trip to Cincinnatti followed by a clash with the Saints over the next two weeks.
With Rex Ryan’s defense in full flow there is no doubt they are capable of continuing to rack up the W’s – but with Geno Smith still adapting to the NFL a lot of their fortunes rest on how the rookie QB performs.
On the other hand, the Patriots will be bitterly disappointed to have suffered a defeat in what they would have certainly seen as a winnable road game.
The lack of chemistry between Tom Brady and his receivers continues to be a worry, and although they lie 5-2 they appear a shadow of the Patriots teams of recent years.
Despite their struggles they remain in a strong position and should still make the play-offs – but a lot of work needs to be done if they are to reach the latter stages of the play-offs.
Fortunately for the Patriots they have time on their side – and back to back home games will give them a chance to regroup following a day to forget.