Sunday, October 24, 2021

Patriots Crush The Jets, 54-13

The Patriots absolutely pasted the Jets, scoring the game's last 23 points to run away with a 54-13 win. The victory puts the Pats just a half-game behind the division leading Bills, who are idle this week. Next up is a trip to Los Angeles to take on the Chargers.

There's praise all the way around today, but it starts with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. I'm not always his biggest fan, but he called an excellent game. Ran when he should have, used controlled passes to keep drives alive, took shot plays down the field at the right times, and employed trick plays that caught the Jets defense off-guard.

Not to mention having a great plan coming in, making good adjustments at the half, and using all his players to perfection. It looked like the days of old, the Past scoring on 9 of 10 "real" drives (not including the game-ending kneel downs). This was probably McDaniels' best game since the "old man" left for Tampa -- so kudos to him!

Praise of the offense has to start with the O-line. The Pats shifted Michael Onwenu to right tackle, a position that has been absolutely dreadful this year. He solidified that side and the group gave up five QB hits and one sack, and they also paved the way for 148 yards on the ground. And that was against a very good Jets front seven.

The passing attack was inspired for its creativity. Wideout Kendrick Bourne has found his identity (get it?), grabbing multiple passes for the fifth time in seven games this year. But having him fake a WR screen and throw a pass -- amazing. He's the second wide receiver to throw a TD pass for the Patriots this season, no idea the last time that happened in the NFL.

Additionally, Jakobi Meyers is Mr. Reliable, catching five of seven passes thrown his way, including some tough ones to keep the chains moving. And Brandon Bolden has worked his way nicely into the James White role, leading the team with six catches for 79 yards (and a touchdown). One other note: tight end Hunter Henry is becoming a big threat near the goal line -- he scored again on a tough catch in the back of the end zone.

Quarterback Mac Jones completed a season-low 67% of his passes, but not to knock him, he also had his second-highest QB rating of the year (111.7). In fact, his QB rating for the first five games was 83.4. For the last two games, it's 114.4. He commands the huddle and even ran for a few big plays in this one.

And not to be forgotten, the running game was potent. Damien Harris was over 100 yards again (106) but most impressive were his 7.6 yards per carry and his determination on two touchdown runs. J.J. Taylor got back on the field and picked up 21 yards and two TDs of his own. Brandon Bolden should stick with pass catching, however, he had two rushes for 0 yards :(

The defensive star of the game was linebacker Ja'Whaun Bentley. He consistently made the right reads and attacked the Jets, stopping or redirecting running backs before they could get started or dropping into coverage to make Jets QB Zach Wilson go to a different option. I only wish they had more linebacker firepower; but Josh Uche is still nursing an injury and Jamie Collins hasn't played much since he was traded back to the Pats.

Along the defensive line, Christian Barmore, Deatrich Wise, and Davon Godchaux took turns stuffing runs before they could get started. This is key, as when teams can run on you, there's just no way to stop their offense. It might be a passing league, but most teams will run it down your throat if they can, and the Pats running defense has been suspect this year.

The secondary mostly played a competitive game, with some yards given up but mostly tight coverage. J.C. Jackson played very well, knocking away a pass, staying close to the Jets #1 receiver, and even getting an INT on a great catch along the sideline. Myles Bryant is getting some praise for a sack and a forced fumble late, but he was only okay, giving up a first-down when he lost leverage on a short pass to the flat.

And as always, safeties Kyle Duggar and Adrian Phillips were near the top of the tackle chart and made significant plays throughout the game. It wasn't perfect, there were some pass interference calls and some wide open receivers. But overall not a bad performance from a unit that was undermanned due to injuries.

One last thought: still not enough quarterback pressure from the line or the defense in general. But one step a time.

Special teams did a great job, with Nick Folk good from 39 and 50 yards. His only field goal miss was the 56-yarder in the rain against the Buccaneers. And Jake Bailey using directional kick-offs to hold the dangerous Jets returners in check. (Note: the Patriots offense was so proficient that he only punted once.) Also, not to be forgotten, returner Gunner Olszewski averaged 15 yards on two punt returns and his first kickoff return was to the 35 yard line.

The coaching staff deserves credit for three key things: (1) the offensive line shuffling, (2) having a better game plan to start the game, and (3) holding things together as the team struggled and the injuries mounted.

If the Patriots miss the playoffs they will look back on their opening day loss to the Dolphins. If they make the playoffs, they'll look back at the last two weeks when the offense turned a corner. The Pats scored 96 points the first five weeks of the season. Then they scored 83 in the last two games.

Where does that leave us? 3-4 with three really close losses is a lot better than 2-5 and a loss to the terrible Jets. But it'll all go for naught if they don't crank it up for another win in L. A. next weekend. If they can get to .500 next Sunday then they have hope. But if they fall to 3-5, they are done.

Biggest on-going concern: No longer the offensive line, it's now the health of the secondary. Jonathan Jones will miss at least three weeks, J.C. Jackson was out for some plays against the Jets, and safety Devin McCourty left the game with an injury. Think they could use someone like Stephon Gilmore right about now?

Non-QB MVP: So many to choose from, but I'm going with Bentley. Mostly because his most important plays came early, setting up the Patriots offense to dominate.

Statistical oddity: The Jets longest play of the day was 22 yards. The Patriots had ten plays of 22 yards or more.

Bonus oddity: Bill Belichick has beaten the Jets 35 times in his career, which is the same number of times he has beaten the Buffalo Bills. Those are tied for the NFL record, which BB will undoubtedly own all by himself soon, as the Pats play those two teams twice every year.

Double-bonus oddity: This season the Patriots have six interceptions against the Jets and four interceptions in their other five games.

Overtime-double-bonus oddity: The Pats are 0-4 in games I have attended this year, and 3-0 when I'm not there. (Maybe I should skip the next game I'm scheduled to go to, against Tennessee.)

Water-cooler wisdom: "Win next week and the Pats could be leading the AFC East. If you think the Dolphins can beat the Bills, that is."

Keep the faith,

- Scott

PS. 3-4!

No comments:

Post a Comment