What was the single biggest reason for the Patriots' loss on Sunday?
Jason: Since I hate to blame the refs (even when they deserve it), I'll avoid the low-hanging fruit. The biggest issue was the absence of playmakers on defense. I've been writing about this team for four years, and after several plays on Sunday, I found myself asking "Wait ... who in the blue hell is that, and why is he on the field?" Somebody better be sending aloe and epson salts to the Talib residence.
Raj: I really want to blame it on the call. But I honestly can't because when watching sports, if you know there's a bigger problem in your team's performance, you can't blame the ref. The Patriots' defense should be held accountable for giving the Jets all those big 3rd down conversions. Kyle Arrington went back to the outside, and he simply cannot defend there. When your defense lets you down early, how is the offense supposed to feel? Remember, even though the Patriots have Brady, the saying works for every team: Defense wins.
Derek: Unlike Jason, I love to blame the refs. So with that being said, I'm blaming the refs. That "pushing" flag took the Patriots from a high-percentage win situation into an almost guaranteed loss. No other play on the day swung the outcome so dramatically. That being said, the Patriots weren't exactly helping their own cause for much of the second half. If I had to pick some other key reasons behind the loss, they would be A. The absences of Aqib Talib, as they probably win this game if he's on the field, and B. Brady's pick six, which got the Jets back in the game.