In a game that was scoreless after the first quarter, the Patriots exploded for 35 second quarter points en route to a blowout 49-19 win over the Jets, who were utterly embarrassed on national TV Thanksgiving night. With Rob Gronkowski missing his first game due to a broken forearm many wondered where the offense would come from, but it turned out the Patriots didn’t need much of their offense as the defense and special teams scored 14 points on their own and forced five New York turnovers.
Here are five observations from the win:
Tom Brady had yet another terrific performance Thanksgiving against the Jets.(FILE:USPresswire)
Special teams/defense come up big
With no Gronkowski, and a very depleted offensive line scoring points was something some thought might be an issue. This wasn’t the case at all as the Patriots offense didn’t miss a beat as well as getting 14 points from special teams and defense, both coming in a nine second span in the second quarter, dramatically changing the game. Steve Gregory picked up a Mark Sanchez fumble and returned it for a touchdown. Then, on the ensuing kickoff Devin McCourty knocked the ball loose and Julian Edelman picked it up and ran it in for another touchdown. This is the second straight week where the Patriots have gotten scores from their defense and special teams. Although it was against the Colts and the Jets, special teams and defensive touchdowns are not everyday occurrences, and could be something the Patriots use to their advantage when they need to get an edge over some of the elite teams they face next month and into the playoffs.
Offensive line continues to impress
Once again the offensive line is a major talking point after playing well despite missing key parts. Guard Logan Mankins was ruled out Wednesday, then in a bit of a surprise Sebastian Vollmer was listed as inactive due to a back injury just 90 minutes before kickoff. As always the reserves stepped in and didn’t miss a beat. The loss of Vollmer was especially concerning as he has been the Patriots best lineman this season. Thursday it was Donald Thomas filling in for Mankins, and Marcus Cannon for Vollmer. A lot of the credit has to go to offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia as he always has his players prepared to play, no matter what their role. Something which he does not get as much credit as he should. Brady was not sacked at all, and the Jets recorded only one quarterback hit. The run blocking was also very good, going into hurry up mode at times. The Patriots ran for 152 yards on 39 carries, averaging 3.9 yards per carry. The depth on the offensive line will certainly help as the season winds down as they will try and get their starters back to full health before playoff time.
Jets are a joke
Could this game have been anymore embarrassing for the Jets? Not only did they lose 49-19, giving up 35 second quarter points, falling to 4-7 on the year, but it happened Thanksgiving night at home in front of a national audience. There is no excuse whatsoever for allowing three touchdowns in a 52 second span, including one where your quarterback ran into his right guard popping the ball loose. After a promising first quarter, the wheels completely fell apart and then the effort just didn’t seem to be there the rest of the night. Another issue with the Jets was backup quarterback Tim Tebow. He was the only player, for both teams, who dressed and did not play, reportedly because of two broken ribs. Third string quarterback Greg McElroy was not even active for the game. If Tebow was unavailable, why dress him, and keep McElroy out? What if Sanchez were to have gotten hurt? Following the anonymous player comments about Tebow a few weeks ago, this decision just goes along with what a joke of a team the Jets are right now.
Tough to grade defense
The biggest talking point with the Patriots of late has been their defense and how they have played. You really can’t look at this game and take much out of it. When you’re leading 35-3 at the half there isn’t much to look for in the second half. There weren’t many opportunities for the Patriots defense to show who they are and how/if they have improved. You can’t really judge their blitzing approach because when you’re leading by that much you’re not going to blitz. What can be said is Aqib Talib is definitely going to play a major role for the Patriots the rest of the season. He played every play except for one Thursday night. Although he is just an above average player, not a superstar, he will certainly help the Patriots secondary for the remainder of the season. His presence seems to allow the front seven to play more loose and take more chances in blitzing.
Patriots approach when up so much
A lot has been made this week with the Patriots’ approach when leading by so much and playing their starters following Gronkowski’s injury on the extra point which gave the Patriots their 59th point last week. Thursday night Brady played until late in the fourth quarter leading by 30+ points since midway thru the second quarter. The offense did not let up at all, running reverses and long passes well into the second half. On one of the reverses Edelman took a hard hit to the head and did not return with an apparent concussion. Some have said it was karma since the Patriots were running reverses when leading by so much. The rest of the league takes offense to Belichick and the Patriots’ approach always putting the petal to the metal regardless of the score. While sometimes I do wish they would sit back and play conservative leading by so much late in games, that just isn’t who Belichick and the Patriots are. As an avid follower of the Patriots I have learned to live with and accept it, which is what the rest of the league should. Players are paid to play the whole game regardless of what the score is.