The Patriots won their third game in a row, moving out of the AFC East basement, knocking the Jets there after sweeping the season series with a last-minute 10-3 win on an 84-yard punt return.
The Patriots are now two games over .500 at 6-4. The NE defense held the Jets to three points, 102 total yards, and just 3-14 on 3rd down. Jets coach Robert Saleh, characterized his offense as “Dogs**t.”
So, here are our grades this week for the Patriots-Jets game.
Mac Jones wasn’t nearly as bad as many people believe. However, while Mac Jones’ stat line was fine (23-27, 85% completion percentage for 246 yards with 0 TDs and 0 INTs, and a 104.6 passer rating), the end result was not.
Rewatching the game with the All-22 view showed that Jones often got sacked before his receivers even got out of their breaks. Mark Daniels of MassLive.com charted the sacks and posted that Jones was sacked on an average of 2.84 seconds per dropback. On the game’s first play, he was sacked in 2.15 seconds.
Until the offensive line is fixed, the offense will struggle. Not just in the passing game but in the running game as well.
Running Backs: B
Damien Harris had a nice day running the ball, showing really nice vision on a play up the middle that was clogged up, he bounced it outside and notched a 30-yard gain. Overall, he ran for 65 yards on eight carries, an 8.1-yard average. He also chipped in with 2 catches for 28 yards.
Rhamondre Stevenson had another nice game receiving out of the backfield. He led the team with six catches for 56 yards. His best play of the day was on a 3rd and 16 in the first half. He caught a short pass out of the backfield and made a nice move on the linebacker and then bulled his way through three tacklers for the first down. Elusiveness, power. But due to the aforementioned OL woes, he could only manage 26 yards on 15 carries…ouch.
Wide Receivers: C
Jakobi Meyers (not surprisingly) led the way for the WRs with four catches for 52 yards on six targets. However, the remainder of the WRs combined had just six catches for 50 yards on eight targets.
That is far from ideal when five WRs combine for 102 yards. They are forced to work the short areas of the field due to the protection issues for the QB (a recurring theme).
Tight Ends: B-
The tight ends were used in a new formation where either one or both of them lined up in the backfield as blockers for a running back. That formation will bear watching as they may play with that and add some more wrinkles to it.
Jonnu Smith had four catches for 40 yards on four targets, including a nice 26-yard gain on a play-action pass. Hunter Henry was targeted only once, but he turned it into a 20-yard reception on another play-action pass…things that make you go, hmm.
Offensive Line: D-
This group overall had a pretty abysmal day again. When each of your bookend tackles are allowing two sacks each, it doesn’t bode well for the offense as a whole. Mac Jones was sacked six times, tied for a career-high from just three weeks ago (also against the Jets), and suffered 8 QB hits.
On none of his sacks did Jones hold the ball for more than 3.13 seconds (courtesy of Mark Daniels). The Jets also had eight tackles for loss (TFL).
Adding to their woes, David Andrews and Isaiah Wynn were injured, affecting their depth moving forward.
Defensive Line: A
The Patriots’ defensive line dominated in the trenches even more than the Jets’ defense did. New York running backs could only manage 33 yards on 19 carries (1.7-yard average).
The defensive line was led by Deatrich Wise, who had a sack, a QB hit, a batted pass at the line, and a TFL. But what stands out lately is that the DL as a whole, Lawrence Guy, Davon Godchaux, Daniel Ekuale, Carl Davis, and Wise, are eating up blocks at the point of attack and allowing the linebackers to clean up.
The Patriots had seven tackles for loss
The linebackers were led by Matthew Judon; who else? Judon is continuing his outstanding season; on Sunday he made five tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 QB hits, and a TFL. He was everywhere on the field and disruptive all game long.
Ja’Whaun Bentley was immense in the middle of the field, notching nine tackles. Watching the game live, I originally thought Josh Uche had a quiet day as he didn’t have any stats. But rewatching the tape, he was active and had several pressures.
Raekwon McMillan, Mack Wilson, Anfernee Jennings, and Jahlani Tavai all had solid games by stuffing the run, and setting the edge. Wilson had a half-sack and acted as a spy on Wilson.
The Patriots’ secondary was led by Kyle Dugger, who had a big day, and was seemingly everywhere. Dugger had seven tackles, a sack, a QB hit, a pass defensed, and two tackles for loss. He set up the punt return TD by reading a screen pass on 3rd and 1 and hit Michael Carter for a loss.
The secondary allowed only 77 yards passing, with 34 coming on one play where Wilson’s pass was underthrown, and Denzel Mims was able to stop and come back a tad quicker than Jack Jones, who had tight coverage. Wilson completed only 40 percent of his passes.
Devin McCourty dropped a pick that Wilson threw right to him. Jack Jones had a pass breakup that was also nearly a pick.
Special Teams: B+
Marcus Jones had the play of the game with his 84-yard punt return where Braden Mann didn’t get the hang time and Jones had room to make a play. Jones said after the game that he didn’t think that he’d have a chance to return the punt, as he expected Mann to kick it out of bounds. The Jets didn’t, and Jones made them pay.
Nick Folk is human, after all, going just 1-3 on FG attempts, although the wind was swirling down on the field. He’s fine, though; we don’t expect this anomaly to continue. With Jake Bailey on IR, Michael Palardy had a very good first game, hitting seven punts for a 45.3-yard average. He put two inside the 20 and had one touchback.
The defensive coaches once again aced this test. They held the Jets to just three points and only 103 yards of total offense. The Jets had two (2) yards of offense in the second half. For those keeping score at home, that is 0.8 yards per play in the second half. They could only muster six first downs on the day (three passing, one running, and two by penalty).
Zach Wilson completed just 9-22 for 77 yards, only 44 yards net. Jets running backs rushed 19 times for 33 yards, an average of just 1.7 yards per carry. Regardless of the opponent, that is domination.
The offense is another question. They were dominated up front by the Jets’ defensive line. Only three offensive points were scored. Sacks, penalties, and some questionable play designs didn’t help. But with the offensive line woes continuing, the play design might look better if the QB wasn’t sacked in less than three seconds.
Bill Belichick raises the grade overall with his decision that altered the game on Sunday. He saw the weather forecast for Sunday, with high swirling winds, and decided to move practice inside Gillette Stadium so that the players could get used to the game conditions, especially in the kicking game.
It is these small details, especially with STs, that separates him from the majority of coaches.
We’re on to the Vikings on Thursday night.
Posted Under: Patriots Report Card
Tags: Bill Belichick Damien Harris Deatrich Wise Denzel Mims Devin McCourty Jack Jones Jakobi Meyers Jonathan Jones Kendrick Bourne Mac Jones Marcus Jones Matthew Judon Michael Carter New England Patriots New York Jets Patriots edge rushers Rhamondre Stevenson Zach Wilson