A big part of why the Jets were able to shut down the Patriots passing game is that Rex Ryan did a terrific job in personnel coverage assignments.
The first of these was sending Darrelle Revis to follow Deion Branch around for most of the game. Revis had coverage on Branch on 33 out of the 48 pass plays Branch was on the field for. He also lined up opposite Branch on 19 out of 25 running plays. Add those up, and it equals Revis being on Branch on 52 out of 73 plays (or 71 percent of the time).
Ryan knew the Patriots would avoid throwing at Revis, and by doing so would avoid aiming passes at their best vertical threat at wide receiver. It worked like a champ, as Branch was targeted versus Revis only five times and caught only one pass for eight yards in this coverage situation.
As important as Revis was, there was an unsung hero in the Jets secondary whose play may have been just as valuable.
Drew Coleman was assigned to cover Wes Welker on 18 out of 24 non-zone defense pass plays. Welker did catch three passes in four targets in that coverage scenario, but he gained only 23 yards. That meant Welker and Branch were both virtually out of the passing game, and New England could not find a way to make up for their absence.
And it gave Ryan and company a chance to continue their mission impossible.