Against Buffalo, which chose to run a prevent defense in the second half vs. the Patriots, letting Brady hang back and make reads, the Jets blitzed Brady first and asked questions later. There always seemed to be a defender free to bust through the offensive line and flush Brady from the pocket or knock him on his ass. Obviously, the offensive line had a hand in this - Brent called in his preview post for improvement from this unit, but they were clearly overwhelmed today.
Another difference? Venue. And, again, this comes back to opponent.
It's well known that the Jets and Patriots hate one another as franchises. There's been plenty of turnover on both teams since SpyGate, but the institutional animosity lingers. The fans, above all, have not left behind the bitterness of SpyGate - I'd venture to guess on both sides.
In this case, the Patriots didn't have fans there to play the 12th man--the Jets did. It makes me dry-heave like Bill Belichick between questions at his postgame press conference today to admit it, but the Jets' stadium noise (reportedly directly requested by Rex Ryan in a voicemail sent to fans pre-game) was at least a factor in the Patriots' eleven penalties, several of which were for delay of game.
Penalties reared their head on both sides of the ball, but this was one of the few statistical comparisons the Patriots won, at 11 for 89 yards to the Jets' 8 for 55. In particular, an offensive holding penalty on Benjamin Watson just as the Patriots reached a first down with 5 minutes to go in the game seemed to be the last straw; the Patriots would wind up punting and essentially conceding the game after that.
Thus, there were no offensive heroics to match last week's. The defense only looked good in comparison to last week's effort and this week's offensive disorganization. Without Jerod Mayo and Richard Seymour, it still seems to be a rudderless unit. It's obvious the Patriots are lucky to be 1-1 right now, and this week, they weren't able to get away with their mistakes.
Bill Belichick was trying to be a pill in his press conference when he kept saying, "we just didn't do a good enough job," but really, the execution throughout this game, particularly on offense, was so uniformly poor it's hard to call out one particular gaffe over another as the reason for the failure (with the possible exception of Watson's penalty in crunch time). These are just not the crisp, lockstep Patriots we've grown spoiled by in New England. It's obvious they're feeling the coaching and personnel turnover and can't seem to get on the same page.
That said, I'd much rather see this outcome in Week 2, as the Patriots are known for working to improve week to week, and they still have time to redeem themselves.
"I love Tom Brady," said the still-smitten Randy Moss, holding his head up in his postgame presser. "Keep watchin', man, he's gonna keep coming."