The Patriots took care of business on Sunday after behind another stellar defensive effort and beat the New York Jets 30-14 at Gillette Stadium. One may look at the scoreboard and think the Jets hung in there and made it competitive but there was never a doubt about this one.
The Patriots dominated the early going racing out to a 20-0 lead and then letting the defense clamp down for another dominating performance, albeit against a very depleted Jets team.
However, 3-0 is still 3-0 and they head off to Buffalo to face off with the undefeated Bills next Sunday. Our observations follow:
The Patriots defense made life really tough on Luke Falk in his first NFL start. With a so-so offensive line and a bunch of banged receivers, Falk frequently had nowhere to throw because of the coverage of the Patriots secondary. Falk is the Jets’ 3rd QB, but the loss here can hardly be placed at his feet. He was placed in an untenable position from the first snap.
Falk was 12-22 for 98 yards with an interception. He was sacked five times for 29 yards and the Jets ended up with just 69 yards net passing (Rob Gronkowski approves). They leaned heavily on Le’Veon Bell but the Patriots knew Bell would be the focal point and bottled him up. He finished with 18 carries for just 35 yards and added 28 yards receiving on four catches.
The Patriots held the Jets to just 105 yards of total offense and 0-12 on third down. Regardless of the competition, that is domination and should not be discounted.
Jamie Collins was sensational again today for the Patriots defense. Collins had seven tackles, including three for a loss, two sacks, two quarterback hits, and a pass defensed. Collins was seemingly everywhere.
Offensively the Patriots started off red hot scoring the first three times they had the ball. Brady at that point was 14 -17 for 189 yards, with two touchdowns. Brady finished 28-42 for 306 yards with touchdowns and no interceptions.
Sony Michel started the scoring off with a 5-yard touchdown run, making a nice cutback against the grain. Stephen Gostkowski missed the extra point and it was 6-0 Patriots. That drive was highlighted with a 41-yard reception by TE Ryan Izzo.
Brady connected with Phillip Dorsett on a 25-yard touchdown pass to put the Pats up 13-0. Dorsett came all the way across the field and was all alone as Brady hit him in stride deep down the field and the offense was looking unstoppable.
Brady hit Julian Edelman for a 3-yard touchdown to make it 20-0. Edelman had a big catch on 3rd and 9 for 15 yards, then a 14-yarder down to the Jets 28. Jakobi Meyers chipped in with his first of two catches, an 18-yarder that put the team at the Jets 10.
Jarrett Stidham played a few snaps and completed 2-3 for 14 yards but he badly overthrew Brandon Bolden in the flat and it was returned 61 yards by Jamal Adams for a pick-six. Adams then celebrated like it was a playoff win, despite his team still being down by multiple scores.
Rex Burkhead had another impressive game out of the Patriots backfield. With James White inactive due to the birth of his son, Burkhead again stepped up his game. He led all rushers with 47 yards on 11 carries with a two-yard touchdown. He added six catches for 22 yards.
Sony Michel had another disappointing day garnering just 11 yards on 9 carries. Other his five-yard touchdown run, he had nowhere to go, the Jets were getting penetration and keying on the run whenever he’s in the game. Overall, the Jets did a fantastic job of bottling up the Patriots running game, holding them to just 68 yards on 27 carries [2.5 yards average per rush].
Edelman was hurt and left the game in the second quarter, losing their chain moving threat. And the offense sputtered without him It was listed as a chest injury but thankfully the X-rays came back negative. Edelman had 7 catches for 62 yards and a score in the first half.
Josh Gordon struggled early and hurt his finger when it appeared to get dislocated while blocking, but he returned and made two outstanding catches where he used his size to highpoint the ball and come down with it. The first was when the Patriots were facing a 3rd and 17. Gordon made a beautiful leaping catch, just staying in bounds for a 28-yard gain. Later he made another highlight reel, leaping 22-yard grab in traffic. He finished with six catches for 83 yards.
Gunner Olszewski booted a fair catch that resulted in the first touchdown allowed by the Patriots this season. He didn’t duck and hide over it and faced the music after the game. He knew that plays like that aren’t tolerated. The coaches did put him right back out there and he responded with a clean catch and return for 11 yards.
Speaking of Special Teams, the ageless Matthew Slater turned in a fantastic play. Jake Bailey’s punt bounced and looked like it bound into the endzone. Slater was able to get his hands on the ball and shoveled it backward where it was downed on the 1-yard line. It was fantastic, a heads up, really impressive play by the STs.
Edelman, Gordon and Hightower’s injuries will have to be monitored with the Bills’ game upcoming this week.
So, we’re officially on to the Buffalo Bills. The hype and the mood in Western NY has to be officially sky-high before the meeting of the two unbeaten teams. We’ll have more on this one later this week.
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