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Jets grades

Sheldon Richardson #91 of the New York Jets

Sheldon Richardson #91 of the New York Jets reacts after Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots was sacked late in the first half at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014 in East Rutherford, N.J. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

OFFENSE

C-The unit just couldn't hold up its end, thanks to more red-zone issues. Geno Smith threw some beautiful passes, including a 20-yard touchdown to Jeff Cumberland to tie the score at 7, but couldn't protect the football when it counted. His third-quarter interception led to the go-ahead score by the Patriots, plus he took a 10-yard sack before Nick Folk missed a 52-yard field-goal attempt. Despite missing the second half with a rib injury, Percy Harvin led in receptions (four). Eric Decker had only two catches and Jace Amaro zero.

DEFENSE

B+Tom Brady's mediocre final stat line said it all: 23-for-35 for 182 yards, one touchdown, one interception, four sacks and a 76.1 QB rating. The Jets executed a nearly perfect game plan against the future Hall of Famer and confused Brady with overload blitzes and surprisingly tight coverage. Rob Gronkowski gave the Pats the early lead with a 3-yard TD reception but was held to six catches for 31 yards, and Rex Ryan's defense limited the Patriots' rushing attack to 85 yards on 24 carries. Sheldon Richardson (three tackles, a half-sack) and Marcus Williams (first career interception) shined, and David Harris, Demario Davis, Quinton Coples, Antonio Allen and Muhammad Wilkerson also combined on sacks.

SPECIAL TEAMS

C-Harvin's absence was noticeable in the return game. T.J. Graham averaged 13.0 yards on his two kickoff returns and Jeremy Kerley 11.7 on three punt returns. The Patriots' Danny Amendola had a 39-yard punt return and a 23-yard kickoff return.

COACHING

BGive Ryan credit, he had his defense ready to play. His defensive game plan kept Brady off balance and stymied the Patriots' offense early. Marty Mornhinweg continues to make confounding play calls. An example: Why have Bilal Powell run up the middle on third-and-8 from the Pats' 13 in the final minute of the first half? (Folk wound up kicking a field goal for a 10-7 Jets lead.)

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