We've devoted a lot of time to examining why Patriots wide receiver Chad Ochocinco has struggled to connect with quarterback Tom Brady, so it's only fair we take a quick look at what went right on Sunday against the Jets, most notably Ochocinco's 53-yard grab in the first quarter (NBC Screenshots):
The Patriots came out with three wide receivers bunched to the right of Brady (Ochocinco up front with Deion Branch and Wes Welker behind him). The Jets are late to react and cornerback Donald Strickland rushes over to that side right before the snap.
When Welker takes off down the seam, cornerback Darrelle Revis (green circle) appears so concerned about him getting behind Strickland, that he loses track of Ochocinco, who immediately calls for the ball running down the numbers on the outside.
With a chance to block one guy, Welker goes after Revis -- which, considering how Welker himself got tracked down from behind by Revis on a big play in New England during Week 5 -- probably wasn't a bad idea. Strickland is able to help haul down Ochocinco in the middle of the field (Ocho seemed to get up a little gingerly, making us wonder if he tweaked a little something on the tackle; His snaps were limited the rest of the way).
Earlier in the first quarter, Ochocinco took advantage of another distracted cornerback on his first grab of the game. Matched up with Antonio Cromartie, Ochocinco ran an out route and Cromartie was so focused on what was happening in the middle of the field (which was odd because there didn't appear to be much activity in that area as Welker had taken Revis to the other side of the field). Cromartie gave Ochocinco about a 20-yard buffer to make the grab. The only problem...
... Ochocinco couldn't keep his foot in bounds as he turned to run upfield, limiting the size of the gain. Beggars can't be choosers, though, and it will be interesting to see if a couple catches in a big game is enough to get more consistency out of Ochocinco moving forward. Something Ochocinco himself acknowledges: