Adjusting chinstraps

Patriots in need of some tweaking after being belted

By Monique Walker
Globe Staff / September 22, 2009

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FOXBOROUGH - Despite all the ways the Patriots offense struggled against the Jets Sunday, with 1 minute 48 seconds left a tying touchdown seemed possible.

The touchdown-less journeys to the red zone didn’t matter. Anything seemed possible because the week before, Tom Brady orchestrated a drive in the final two minutes that helped the Patriots come back against the Bills, 25-24. And for many of the Patriots who have been on the winning side of such dramatic victories, they believed it could happen again.

“For the guys that have been here and seen it over the years, you kind of sit back and think that’s going to happen, but the reality is it’s not going to happen every time,’’ defensive lineman Ty Warren said. “It happened last week. It didn’t happen this week, so we can’t always rely on that. Everybody has got to pull their weight.’’

Brady can’t do it alone, and on Sunday he took responsibility for some of the broken plays and missed opportunities that resulted in the 16-9 loss to the Jets. Teammates weren’t far behind in pointing fingers at themselves for the first loss of the season.

“It was poor execution a lot of the time and we all have to do a better job,’’ said Brady. “I have to do a better job throwing the ball, being more accurate, making better reads. A lot of the things are correctable that were not so good.’’

Brady completed 23 of 47 passes for 216 yards against the Jets. Against Buffalo, he completed 39 of 53 passes for 378 yards and two touchdowns. While he has tossed 100 passes in two games, the running game has been used sparingly.

Against Buffalo, a second-half deficit left the Patriots fighting from behind and produced a running game that amassed 73 yards on 23 carries. Against the Jets, the Patriots rushed 20 times for 83 yards. Fred Taylor led the group with eight carries for 46 yards, followed by Laurence Maroney’s six carries for 23 yards.

The pass-run mix doesn’t mean much to Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who said the most important result is the score at the end of the game.

“I’d like to score more points,’’ Belichick said. “That’s what the offense is out there for - to score points. If that’s throwing the ball seven or eight times a game, if we score a lot of points, that’s good. If it’s running the ball 70 times a game and we score a lot of points, that’d be fine with me, too. If it’s some combination in the middle and we score a lot of points, that’d be good.

“But don’t turn the ball over. However we can put points up on the board when the offensive unit’s on the field, that’s what our goal is, whether those are runs, or passes or whatever they are. If points are scored, then we’re doing our job. If they’re not, then that’s not what good offense is.’’

In his weekly interview on WEEI, Brady said the Jets defense is challenging with its blitzes, but there was more the offense could have done.

“We controlled the first half,’’ Brady said. “We just didn’t get the ball into the end zone when we had the opportunity. At halftime it’s 9-3; if we get the ball into the end zone it’s a significantly different game. That’s a couple of weeks in a row that we’re failing to get the ball into the end zone, so that’s an issue we’re dealing with and that’s something we’ve got to correct.’’

The theme out of the Patriots locker room yesterday centered around improved execution, and that was echoed by the defense.

“At the end of the day 16 points beat us,’’ defensive lineman Vince Wilfork said. “I don’t care how you factor it in, we just didn’t get the job done, and defensively that’s something we want to do is stop the opponent from getting more than us. It didn’t happen. We fought, but we just didn’t have enough.

“They came out. They played well. They made the plays when they needed to make the plays. They made more plays than us. So learn from it and move on. That’s the only thing we can do.’’

Monique Walker can be reached at

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