It wasn’t always pretty but in the end as we said in our pregame matchups, Tom Brady will find a way. And he did just that; leading the Patriots to two fourth quarter touchdown drives erasing a 20-16 deficit enroute to a tough 30-23 win over the New York Jets.
Brady did it with his arm passing for 355 yards and a pair of 4th quarter touchdowns as well as with his feet. For the first time in his career Brady was the Patriots leading rusher and his 11-yard scramble set the tone for his one rushing touchdown on a 4th and 1 that gave tied the game at 10 in the first half.
With an incredibly banged up roster on offense with only two healthy running backs and a patchwork offensive line, the Patriots eschewed the running game completely and put the ball completely in Brady’s hands. Patriots running backs had a total of five carries for the game. Normally this is a recipe for disaster, not so with #12 under center.
The Jets entered the game with the #1 defense in the league and that title is well deserved. They have an outstanding defensive line and secondary and swarm to the ball as well as play some great schemes. They will continue to be a tough opponent, especially with the right head coach, Todd Bowles on board.
But as Brady has done the six other times he’s faced the top defense in the league in Week 7 or later, he found a way to will his team to victory. It wasn’t with magic or a lack of air in a football it was done the good old fashioned way, with hard work and teamwork.
Besides the 3rd and 10 scramble for 11 yards that led to a touchdown, Brady and his receivers had two other notable plays that led to the Patriots victory. With the game in the balance and facing a 3rd and 17 at the Patriots 27-yard line, Brady recognizes a blitz is coming from the Jets. He also knows that Julian Edelman sees the defense and will have to alter his route.
“It’s not exactly the way we drew it up,” said Brady after the game. “But that was the way a lot of plays went down today.” Edelman’s adjustment finds a soft spot between the two safeties and Brady uncorked a laser to gain 27 yards. Four plays later he hits Danny Amendola on a crossing route in the end zone for a 23-20 Patriots lead that they won’t relinquish.
With just around a minute and a half remaining in the game and the Patriots driving at the Jets 15-yard line, they facing a 2nd and three. Brady sees the all-out blitz coming. Again, he knows that TE Rob Gronkowski will have to alter his route and his facing single coverage in the slot area. He tossed the pass and Gronk rumbled for the score…game over.
“That’s why one day that guy will be in Canton, man,” said Jets LB Calvin Pace.
On a day where not only the team was playing short-handed, the Patriots receivers did not have the greatest of games, dropping nine passes overall with a high of six from WR Brandon LaFell, Brady didn’t flinch, he kept grinding and willed the Patriots to another victory against a very tough defense. Kudos have to go to WR Danny Amendola who has continued his hot streak this season. The wide out had the catch of the game on a backwards leaping grab along the sideline for a Patriots first down. He’s been money this season continuing a trend he set down the stretch and into the 2014 playoffs.
As we mentioned above, facing the top defense in the league in Week 7 or later including the playoffs Brady is now a stellar 7-0. His passing yardage per game is now around 302 yards per contest and his touchdown to interception ratio is now 15-5.
Entering the game, there was the very real concern with the Jets pass rush; it was magnified by the injuries along the offensive line. But Brady, as he’s done all season, slid in the pocket when he needed to and got rid of the ball quickly.
It wasn’t always pretty especially in the first half, but in the second half, the Patriots made their adjustments and Brady was outstanding. In the fourth quarter his play was reminiscent of his Super Bowl triumph over the Seahawks. Brady was 14 of 17 for 150 yards and two touchdowns.
The Jets made them earn it but in the end a very evenly played game was taken over and won by Tom Brady. With the victory, the Patriots stand at 6-0 and now have a two-game lead in the division over the Jets (4-2) and a three game lead over the suddenly resurgent Dolphins (3-3) who come to visit in just four days.
We’re on to Miami….
Posted Under: Patriots Commentary
Tags: 2015 NFL Season Bill Belichick Brandon LaFell Calvin Pace Danny Amendola Darrelle Revis Julian Edelman LaGarrette Blount New England Patriots New York Jets NFL Patriots Patriots edge rushers Rob Gronkowski Todd Bowles Tom Brady