MORSE: 15 Observations from the Patriots Game 2 Victory against the New York Jets
Congratulations to Mac Jones for his 1st victory, on the road in the hostile environment of the Meadowlands versus the hated division rival Jets. Again Jones showed the poise of a veteran in completing 73.3% of his passes in the noisy Meadowlands. The Jets fans were in full voice and excited about their new QB Zach Wilson, the #2 pick in this year’s draft.
- The story of the game was the 4 Interceptions by Zach Wilson. He is a very confident QB, maybe even cocky. He thinks he can fire the ball into these tight spaces and just can’t in the NFL. You can get away with that in the PAC 12 Conference in college, not in the Pros. That 1st quarter may be one of the worst performances I can remember. Two completions, two interceptions, and an overall QB rating of 8.8. Perhaps Wilson could benefit from a year behind a veteran QB, and learn how to be a pro QB. Could this be a possible landing spot for Cam Newton? I saw a headline from ESPN stating “Jets want Wilson to learn ‘boring’ (is) OK after 4 INT game”.
- Congratulations to Patriots kicker Nick Folk for kicking his 32nd consecutive Field Goal. That kick set a new franchise record. After the game, Folk played down the record and only talked about how difficult the wind was inside of the stadium. Met Life Stadium is notorious for swirling winds and is one of the most difficult stadiums to kick in. Folk was 4 for 4 with his longest coming from 49 yards out. He did miss an extra point conversion. I wonder if the wind had an effect on Wilson throwing the ball downfield?
- The Patriots Defensive Line is a concern after two games. The Jets gained 153 yards on 31 carries for an average of 4.9 yards per carry. We are talking about third-year running back Ty Johnson, and rookies Michael Carter and effective running from QB Zach Wilson (3-19). Nose Tackle Davon Godchaux is getting blown off the Line of Scrimmage with a single blocker. That breakdown is allowing other O linemen to get to the 2nd level and pick up the linebacker. Lawrence Guy and Dietrich Wise have also been ineffective. All three signed contracts this off-season. Godchaux signed for two years $15M with $9M guaranteed. Lawrence Guy signed for 4 years at $11.5M with $3.075 guaranteed. Dietrich Wise signed for 4 years $22M contract with $10M guaranteed, as well as $1M in-game bonuses. All three performances so far haven’t equaled what they signed for. The more effective unit has been rookie Christian Barmore, Nose Tackle Carl Davis, and DT Henry Anderson. It is appearing that the starters got their guaranteed money and don’t think they have to play anymore.
- Right Tackle is definitely a problem now. Trent Brown is having calf problems again, the same injury that kept him out of many Raiders games last year. Justin Herron originally was the backup, but after nearly getting Mac Jones killed by acting as a turnstile in week one, he was replaced by Yasir Durant, whom they traded for from the Chiefs. Durant was replaced by Herron midway through the game after Durant got spun around again. The 1st miscue resulted in a Jones fumbled strip-sack which Durant recovered. The Patriots coaches don’t want to move Michael Owenu from Left Guard to Right Tackle, the position he played so magnificently last season. They should have drafted Quinn Meinerz instead of Ronnie Perkins and this problem would have been solved. Meinerz could play either Guard or Center. Durant had trouble playing RT in the one game he played in the playoffs for KC.
- Mac Jones played a conservative, safe game at Quarterback. He didn’t risk throws, except for one deep throw in which Bourne was tripled covered. That throw was forced and he was lucky it wasn’t picked. He took what the defense gave him and managed the game, on the road in front of a hostile crowd for his 1`st win. His 22 of 30 for 186 yards, 0 INTs, 0 TDs for a QB rating of 28.6. He missed some open receivers, like Bourne, who was initially open and Jones delivered the ball late. He also missed Hunter Henry down the sideline as he was pressured. On his intentional grounding (which was the correct call) he had James White on the sideline with no one within 20 yards. The worst one of the day was the miscommunication between Hunter Henry and Jones with the QB flushed out of the pocket, and motioning for Henry to come back to the ball while he was scrambling. Jones threw it low to where Henry should have been. Low so that no one but Henry could get it. Henry stopped running and it went incomplete and looked bad. Henry admitted it was his fault. That would have been a big 1st down.
- The Shawn Hochuli crew is flag-happy. They called 19 penalties in week one and 14 in week two. However, they decided to keep the flags in their pocket on an obvious Defensive Pass Interference call in the second quarter. Jakobi Meyer was going down the sideline and was being held the entire way by the defender. The replay showed the defender with his arm wrapped around his back. Even clueless color commentator Trent Green called it Pass Interference. That was another big play that resulted with the Patriots three and out with 4:13 left in the 2nd The result would have had the ball deep in NY territory again.
- Jones also failed to read a pre-snap blitz by Jets safety Marcus Maye on the opening drive of the game. Maye came in clean and sacked Jones for a 10-yard loss. That moved the ball from the NY 30 to 40 and took the Patriots out of Field Goal range.
- I didn’t like the roughing the passer penalty against the Jets for the helmet-to-helmet hit on Jones. Not only did one player hit Jones in the head but the second player did as well. I felt that the hit was intentional on the Jets as an attempt to knock Jones out of the game.
- Isaiah Wynn had a rough game at Left Tackle. He had a procedure penalty which stalled one drive and missed a block on a screen on another. He also got beat cleanly a few other times that put unnecessary pressure on Jones. Overall the line had trouble with the stunts the D-lineman were throwing at them. Michael Owenu is new to Left Guard having played Right Guard at Michigan. Perhaps Joe Thuney’s play at Left Guard was covering for Wynn last season.
- Let talk about Mac Jones blocking. Did you see Jones hustle downfield on Harris’s big run? Harris was stopped at the one when David Andrews and Mac Jones came in and push him in the end zone to cap a highlight-reel TD run. I am sure Jones got a lecture about joining the scrum and how the Patriots coaches don’t want him risking getting hurt on that type of play. I am sure it went a long way with his teammates. The second block was beauty on the Bourne reverse. He had a one-on-one cut block on the end and he executed it perfectly, getting into his feet and forcing the defender to stop.
- Did you notice that former Patriot Adrian Colbert played 55 snaps at safety for the Jets? I thought Colbert played very well in pre-season and had a good chance of making the 53 man roster. Colbert was signed by the Jets days after the final cutdown and is getting plenty of playing time.
- Lack of Touchdowns in the red zone is going to come back and haunt the Patriots against better teams. You can’t keep settling for Field Goals. Some of the blame is on the young QB, some are on poor execution by the players. However, Josh McDaniels conservative play-calling also is to blame. Give the kid the opportunity to make a play. You have the two TE’s and Jakobi Meyers who is a reliable big receiver. Greg Bedard pointed out in the 98.5 Post Game show that the Patriots have yet to attempt a pass for TD in the Red Zone. He also goes on to say the Patriots are a work in progress, especially when a team brings in so many new players. Another point was that Brady was 7-5 before the Bucs reeled off 8 straight wins. It takes time to gel as a team.
- James White is back. He was a surprise signing in the off-season. I thought for sure that he was signing elsewhere. He led the team in receptions with 6 for 45 yards and had a 7 yard TD run. His pass blocking is superb. So far after two games, he has been the team MVP. it was one year ago his father was killed in an auto accident and his mother badly injured. No one blamed him if his mind wasn’t completely on football.
- Jones had very low air yards per pass attempt. His 4.6 air yards per attempt and 3.0 air yards per completion were the second-lowest in the league this week (Jimmy Garoppolo was the worst). Jones took the blame on himself, but he needs to get the ball downfield.
- Matt Judon had 7 QB pressures on the day. One was a sack and he drew a holding call. It looked like the Jets were running away from Judon.
You have to give Damien Harris credit for a bounce-back game. His “Beast Mode” TD run where he broke 7 tackles is one he will remember when his career is over. Bill Belichick even called him out by name in the post-game celebration. Belichick never does this.
Posted Under: 2021 Patriots Season
Tags: New England Patriots New York Jets