By: Russ Goldman
Each week I am going to look back, and give you six takeaways I got from watching the Patriots game. I want this to be a balanced post so I am going to give you an equal share of the positive and the negative takeaways in this match-up for the Pats. Since the Patriots lost, the negatives have to come first.
1. Dont’a Hightower struggled covering Jets tight end Jeff Cumberland. With Mayo being out on injured reserve, the duties of covering the the tight end fell mostly to Hightower, and unfortunately he failed miserably.
Cumberland only had three receptions for 41 yards, but he was open often, and was very dangerous in the middle of the field. Moving forward, I don’t think Hightower is your solution in covering tight ends.
2. The third down conversion rate for the offense was simply atrocious. The Patriots offense was 1-12 on third down, and it is amazing on that statistic alone that the Patriots took this game to overtime with a chance to win.
3. The offensive line did a poor job of protecting Tom Brady. The Jets defense sacked Brady four times, but it seemed like he was constantly under pressure. Going into the season, I really thought the offensive line would be a strength, but often this season, this unit has been a weakness.
1. The return of tight end Rob Gronkowski gives a huge boost to the offense. At times, Gronkowski looked rusty, but that is to be expected. He ended the day with eight receptions for 114 yards, and was really Brady’s first read on many plays.
Gronkowski will only get better with more games under his belt, so this was a very good first step to getting back to being the best tight end in the game. It was extremely obvious the positive affect he had on the offense.
2. Cornerback Logan Ryan makes progress, and an impact play in the game. The Patriots luck with drafting cornerbacks is well documented so when you see encouraging signs, I think it is fair to acknowledge them.
Ryan made a game changing interception in the first half, and took it back for a touchdown. He hit the receiver at the line of scrimmage, which through off the timing of the play, and his aggressiveness was a factor in this interception.
However, he also had four tackles in the game, which should be noted as well. With Aqib Talib out, is nice to see some positive play from another cornerback.
3. Julian Edelman makes an impact on the offense and on special teams. Say what you want about Edelman, but one thing you cannot deny is his production. He had five receptions for 88 yards in the passing game, plus he had 3 punt returns for a total of 58 yards. Edelman is stepping up right now when the Patriots absolutely need him to.
In concluding, this was a disappointing loss in overtime, but you have to give the Jets credit, because regardless of how the game ended, they stepped up in the second half, and really earned this victory ultimately in overtime. However, this was just one loss and the season is far from over, so the Patriots have plenty of time to establish one way or another if they are in the running for another Championship.