Tom Brady and the Patriots continue their winning ways in October, now 40-9 since 2003. (USA TODAY Images)
The New England Patriots defeated the New York Jets 27-25¬†on Thursday¬†night.
The Patriots and Jets traded scores and lead changes throughout the contest, but New England won in dramatic fashion as defensive lineman Chris Jones blocked a 58-yard attempt by New York’s kicker, Nick Folk.
While the offense was putting up points, the Patriots defense allowed the Jets to move the ball on the ground. Nevertheless, the Patriots move to 5-2 on the season, with three-straight wins and back-to-back inside the division.¬†Here are a few thoughts on the game. –
Poetic Justice for Chris Jones: The second-year defensive lineman preserved New England’s victory Thursday with a blocked field goal.¬†Jones was penalized last season for pushing a teammate in an attempt to block a game-winning kick in overtime against the Jets.
The penalty was widely criticized, especially by Patriots fans, because of the timing and the call had never been made in a regular season game before. For Jones to make that play, given the similarities, it was almost unbelievable.
After the game Thursday Bill Belichick said, “Really happy for Chris (Jones). After what happened last year, it was fitting.”
It was fitting. The Patriots needed to make a play at the end of the game, Jones did, and the team moves on with a victory.
Brady Continues Hot Stretch:¬†What a three-week stretch by Tom Brady. After an embarrassing loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in week four, the Patriots quarterback has been lighting it up.
Brady the last three weeks: 70-109 (64%) for 914 yards, 9 touchdowns and 0 interceptions.
With production like that from no.12, it’s no surprise the Pats have won three-straight. Brady is moving in the pocket with more confidence, spreading the ball around to different targets and putting points on the board.
Defense Gashed by Jets Ground Game: The Patriots pulled out a victory, but the Jets rushing attack nearly changed the outcome of the contest. New York rushed for 218 yards on 43 attempts, averaging 5.3 yards-per-attempt.
New England was over-powered throughout the game, unable to shed blocks and tackle on initial contact. It didn’t appear to be a scheme flaw, but a lack of execution by the Patriots defense. Given the injury to Jerod Mayo, a limited Dont’a Hightower and a short week, perhaps the performance is somewhat forgivable.
Then again, there’s no way the Pats should be allowing that kind of production with such regularity on any week. Adjustments need to be made going forward. The week eight match-up against Chicago Bears’ tailback, Matt Forte, is looking very scary right now.
Amendola Redemption: Danny Amendola has been the whipping boy of New England this season. While many have criticized him, including myself, for his lack of production, Amendola made a big impact Thursday night.
It was a feel good story for Amendola. His only catch was an incredible 19-yard touchdown reception on third and goal, contorting his body to make the play. He also recovered the Jets onside kick attempt late in the fourth quarter and played a huge role on kickoff returns, averaging 26 yards-per-attempt.
Hopefully this helps Amendola’s confidence moving forward. It looks like he potentially earned a new role returning kicks, which New England has lacked a consistent threat for several years. While Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski remain the focal point of the offense, it’s great to see others get involved.
Vereen Steps Up with Ridley Sidelined: After losing starting running back Stevan Ridley for the season last week, Shane Vereen stepped up in his absence. Vereen was kept in-check on the ground by a stout Jets run defense, but made a big impact in the receiving game throughout the contest.
Vereen finished with 43 yards rushing on 11 attempts, adding 5 receptions for 71 yards and two touchdowns. His 49-yard catch on the opening Patriots drive was incredible, taking advantage of a blown coverage in New York’s secondary.
After that play, Vereen paid tribute to Ridley, mimicking his “kicking in the door” touchdown celebration. Post game, Vereen said, “When a brother goes down, it takes a toll on everybody… I tried to play for him.” Love hearing that from two close teammates.
Long Weekend Much Needed for Pats: After two division games in a five day stretch, the Patriots have 10 days before their week eight contest, hosting the Chicago Bears at Gillette Stadium.
New England ¬†is banged up at the moment, with several players in need of some extra time to recover. While it’s tough for NFL teams to play Thursday night, with such a short turnaround, the benefit of a “mini bye week” will be big for the Patriots.
Hopefully players such as Dont’a Hightower, Dominique Easley, Bryan Stork and Dan Connolly (to name a few) can get healthy over the next week and a half.
Do¬†you have a Twitter account?¬†Be sure to follow me:¬†@PatriotsHaven!