Commentary

Pats' Darius Butler can't get it done

Updated: September 19, 2010, 10:41 PM ET
By Mike Rodak | Special to ESPNBoston.com

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- During the week leading up to Sunday's game against the Jets, reporters were eager to write off New York's offense, which struggled in a season-opening loss to the Baltimore Ravens. New England Patriots defenders responded with caution, knowing things could be different on any given Sunday.

How right they were.

[+] EnlargeBraylon Edwards and Darius Butler
AP Photo/Seth WenigBraylon Edwards beats Darius Butler for a second-quarter touchdown, part of a long day for the Patriots cornerback.

After posting only six first downs against the Ravens in Week 1 and none for the first quarter of Sunday's game against the Patriots, the Jets' offense exploded in the second quarter. Quarterback Mark Sanchez finished the game 21-of-30 for 220 yards and three touchdowns, outplaying New England's Tom Brady.

"They have a lot of explosive players: [wide receiver] Braylon Edwards, [tight end] Dustin Keller, [running back] LaDainian Tomlinson," Patriots cornerback Darius Butler said. "We didn't do a good job of stopping those guys."

Butler's struggles began on a 10-yard touchdown reception by Edwards in the second quarter. The Jets wide receiver was called for taunting on the play, which Butler dismissed after the game.

"Obviously he was talking a bit, but he was making the plays to get his confidence up," Butler said. "That's just what some players do."

In the third quarter, Edwards capped another Jets touchdown drive with a successful two-point conversion catch over Butler.

"Someone's taller than you, bigger than you, faster than you … you have to find a way to stop him. That's what you get paid to do," Butler said. "And I didn't do a good job of that today."

Following the play, Butler showed his frustration by taking a swipe at Edwards' helmet.

When asked about that after the game, Butler said that he "did not even remember it."

Butler's day didn't get any better in the fourth quarter, when he was called for two pass interference penalties in three plays. The Jets were able to parlay the combined 39 yards of penalty yardage into a game-sealing touchdown reception by Keller. Butler did not place any blame on the officials.

"They've got a job just like we do," he said. "Their job is just as tough as ours. They make the calls for a reason."

It likely will come as no consolation, but Butler was not alone in his struggles in the Patriots' secondary. Rookie cornerback Devin McCourty was beaten for touchdown receptions by Keller and wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery.

"I'm young right now. I just have to get better," McCourty said. "[I have to] look at those things and see what I need to do to finish. It's all about finishing the play."

Veteran safety James Sanders viewed the loss as a learning opportunity for the young cornerbacks.

"As a defensive back, you need to have a short memory," Sanders said. "You need to go back out there and keep competing. That's one thing our guys did; they competed until the end. They had no quit in them."

"[The Jets] just made the plays today, and we didn't."

Mike Rodak

ESPN Buffalo Bills reporter

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