Maybe we've forgotten that the beginning of the Patriots' dynasty did not at all resemble the brash, overconfident, devil-may-care Patriots that ran up scores league-wide last year. Really, they looked a lot like the team that beat the Jets today.
That's not to say that these Patriots are legitimate Super Bowl threats; circumstances and contexts change all the time. But it's a reminder that the Patriots don't have to set records on offense to be good (no matter what I've previously said); you can make up for an inexperienced quarterback with the right pieces elsewhere. So the Patriots certainly can continue to win, if they do remains to be seen.
But they won today. They did it by running the ball with a lot of different legs, relying on defense, and capitalizing on mistakes. Matt Cassel, in his first start since 1970, was certainly reliable yet unspectacular. The first half wasn't exactly the prettiest football you've ever seen, but the Pats did enough to walk into the locker room with a 6-3 lead. And though the second half wasn't much better-looking, Brett Favre showed why you have to curb your enthusiasm when he hits on a desperation hail mary throw in the end zone, because he'll follow that up a week later with a poor, poor decision that leads to an interception (this one by Brandon Merriweather), an interception that essentially loses the game.
Favre's interception led to the Patriots' best drive of the game, resulting in a Sammy Morris touchdown, and the rejuvenated Pats immediately followed by forcing a three-and-out and kicking a field goal. Though the Jets countered with a touchdown of their own, it wasn't enough.
Truthfully, there was no excuse for the Jets to lose this game. Favre was acquired to make a difference, and he simply didn't do that, especially against a team with a makeshift secondary. While the Jets' defense did a good job for the most part of making the Patriots chip for yards and settle for field goals, the offense should have been able to perform better against an aging, humanized defense, and whether it's fair or not it's on Favre to make that happen.
It's bad enough that Favre threw the interception, it's worse that he didn't do anything today, in a game that would have been huge for the Jets to win from a mental standpoint, to push the team over the top.