So the Patriots smoked the Jets. Yeah. It was possibly the most wonderful event of the season and it showed how much the young team has grown over the course of the season. I'm just going to let you know that I'm going to have to dig really deep to come up with some negatives from this game.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis on that blown hand-off on the opening drive. Yeah. That's how far down I'm digging. Tom Brady and BJGE had a miscommunication error, which led BJGE to run in the wrong direction, botching the play. The Patriots had to settle for a questionable field goal in an extremely windy stadium. Yeah, the Patriots made the field goal behind some great kicking by Shayne Graham (who is currently playing himself into a job with some other team after this season). Still, the Patriots could have scored a touchdown.
Protection from the Safety blitz. Matt Light was caught in the wrong position a couple times, which led to a pair of sacks on Brady by the Jets safeties. The Patriots adjusted and brought in a tight end to help out Light, but when Light was on an island, he was unable to protect Brady's blindside.
Setting the edge against the run. The Patriots struggled again with stopped the Jets when they bounced to the outside. Pat Chung was invisible for most of the game as the Patriots favored the James Sanders and Brandon Meriweather combination to stop the Jets' receivers. With the safeties playing back, the Patriots needed their outside linebackers to stop the run. Unfortunately, Rob Ninkovich was expected to lock down runs to the right and he struggled. The Patriots could look into drafting another bulking outside linebacker in the draft to complement Cunningham on the other side, especially to help on run plays. The Jets were able to run to the outside at will and were picking up massive amounts of yards.
The Definition of "Pass Defended." Kyle Arrington swatted away, or hit a receiver, at least four times, causing the receiver to drop the ball. None of those are considered passes defended. Arrington had a stellar night, but his stat sheet is going to look sad and empty, despite his high effort and great performance.
Pat Chung? It's sad, but Chung had a small role in Monday's defense. It was most likely more a reflection on the defensive scheme than a reflection on Chung, but he was nonexistent on the field. He was needed to help against the run, but his lack of versatility against the pass and the Jets' hurry-up offense kept him off the field.
Seriously. I'm struggling. That's all I got.
Read The Good after the jump!
Brandon Tate's touchdown catch. While I thought it was a lucky play and non-challenge, it turned out to be a fantastic catch. Tate's forearm hit the ground in the end zone, which means it was a touchdown. Tate needs to become a larger part of this offense.
Darius Butler being used in the nickle slot instead of Pat Chung. Chung struggled the past couple weeks in defending the slot receiver down the field. Butler has emerged as a solid presence as a nickel back and is starting to regain his confidence. He was responsible for a couple great defensive plays and third down stops. It's great to see him playing well.
Tom Brady. Yeah. He was good. He looked more mobile in the pocket than I've ever seen him. He read the defense and tore it apart.
Devin McCourty's stellar defense. McCourty is no longer being challenged- and the time he was resulted in an interception. He's a top corner in the league and he's phenomenal.
Patriots Receivers play big. Deion Branch, Wes Welker and Danny Woodhead all had huge receiving games for the Patriots, as did recently quiet tight end Aaron Hernandez. This offense works really well and every receiver is willing to help block downfield for more yards.
Bill O'Brien's awesome play calling. B'OB has come of age. After a year of growing pains and a couple weeks of "ugh" performances, B'OB has done a fantastic job of reworking this Patriots offense and playing to its strengths. He didn't pound the ball when it wasn't working- he ran enough to keep the Jets' defense honest. Great day for a future great offensive coordinator.
3rd Down Defense. What? Really? The Jets were only 25% (3/12) on third down conversions. That is a great improvement over their 50+% rate on the season. This is the defense the Patriots need to be. Let's hope they can harness what they were doing and continue doing it for the rest of the season.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis' short yard running. Dude's cash when it comes to picking up first downs. He's a monster and should get a new contract soon. He's a keeper. Oh, and he got two touchdowns.
Danny Woodhead's story. Not much needs to be said- Woody was cut by the Jets and has become a star with the Patriots. He had another great game.
Florida Gators. Jermaine Cunningham was fantastic on defense and stopped the run, generated pressure and played solid coverage. Brandon Spikes stopped the run and grabbed an interception. Aaron Hernandez had a good game, with 3 receptions, 51 yards and a touchdown after a couple of quiet weeks. All three players played well and need to continue to play well down the road.
Everything else. Seriously, this was as good of a game as a team can have. Fantastic show by everyone involved and now the Patriots have the inside track to a first round bye and home-field advantage. Great job by the team!
On to the Chicago Bears in the Windy City!