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Ryan’s Jets have always made it tough on Patriots

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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — New York Jets coach Rex Ryan didn’t knock New England’s Bill Belichick or Tom Brady off the top of the AFC East. He’ll have to be content with merely coming closer than any other divisional rival.

With the Jets’ 17-16 loss to the Patriots on Sunday, Ryan fell to 4-9 against the Patriots. Those four wins are more than either Buffalo or Miami has mustered since Ryan’s first season in 2009 — which was also the year in which New England won the first of its six straight division titles.

Of the nine losses Ryan has suffered against the Patriots, four have been by eight points or less. The Bills and Dolphins have combined for just six such defeats since 2009.

The loss Sunday was the closest one Ryan has absorbed to the Patriots. And given that it was almost certainly his last chance to beat the Patriots as the coach of the Jets, the defeat left him equal parts defiant and wistful.

“I don’t know if it’s really possible to control Brady,” Ryan said. “If not, we’re the team that always gives him the biggest challenge, whether he admits it or not.”

He didn’t — not really, anyway.

“Slim margins — it always comes down to the last play,” Brady said about facing the Jets. “I just wish we would play better for 60 minutes. We haven’t figured out a way to play against these guys as well as we possibly can.”

Even the hyper-competitive Brady had to acknowledge that a lot of the inability to rout the Jets is rooted in Ryan’s defensive wizardry. Brady is averaging 7.6 yards per pass attempt in the regular season since 2009 — but has matched or exceeded that figure just four times in 12 contests against the Ryan-led Jets. Three of his four lowest yards-per-attempt efforts since 2009 have been compiled against the Jets.

In addition, Brady is completing an average of 64.1 percent of his passes since 2009. His completion percentage has been lower than 64.1 percent in five of the 12 games against Ryan’s Jets, including three of the last four.

“It’s a smart defense, really quality players on the defensive line, on the linebacker level,” Brady said. “They’ve played together a long time. They get pressure on you. They kind of get you off-balance early and then you’re thinking about things all day. It keeps you out of rhythm.”

“We just didn’t score enough points, or a lot of points.”


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