It didn’t matter how the Pats looked for the first three and a half quarters, because if they were down just a score, you knew they would win the game.
And when it was 17-16 Jets with five minutes left to play, there wasn’t a soul in MetLife Stadium, who believed the Jets would hang onto their slim lead.
Why? Because the Patriots have Tom Brady.
“It was a great win for our team,” Brady said. “We didn’t play as well as we wanted to, but we made plays when we needed to. It was a division game on the road. It’s always a tough team to play. I thought they played really well. I’m glad we made those plays at the end.”
Love him or hate him, you have to respect the future Hall of Fame quarterback. Today, after putting the Jets on their back with an eventual 22-17 win, Brady tied Peyton Manning for the most wins in NFL history with 200.
Put it to you this way, since Brady became the starting quarterback in New England in 2000, he averaged 12.5 wins a year. And that’s not counting the injuries, suspensions and the year he caddied for Drew Bledsoe.
The irony today was that Brady was very questionable this week. His left knee was barking and he sat out the two days of practice. With the division in hand, why didn’t coach Bill Belichick just play Jimmy Garoppolo?
Well, “our thoughts are to win the game,” the coach said.
And that statement may be the most crystal clear statement made about Brady. Garoppolo filled in admirably during Brady’s suspension, but frankly if you want to win, you start the guy who has taken home four Super Bowl rings.
Brady is the NFL personification of winning and now he has the record to prove it.
If Brady could stand, you just have to play him. His stats weren’t pretty (30/50 for 286 yards and two touchdowns), but they were good enough to win.
“That’s what it’s all about,” Belichick said. “That’s what a quarterback’s job is. It’s to win. He’s done a great job with that. I think today is a great example of not turning the ball over, some good situational plays that came up that don’t show up in the stat sheet, like the fourth-and-one offside, things like that.”
And frankly that’s the real difference between the Jets and the Pats. Brady is the one constant this century in New England, while the Jets have gone through quarterbacks like Carter has liver pills. When you have a winner behind center, everything else just seems to fall into place very easily.
“The quarterback’s job is to win,” Belichick said. “He’s won a lot. That’s good. I’m glad he’s our quarterback.”
A sentiment shared by the rest of Patriots Nation. While the Jets are still searching for answers and wondering if they will every find their own Tom Brady?