Patriots Win Physical Match-Up. Over the course of the beginning parts of the season, there were a lot of questions as to whether or not the Patriots were a "physical" or "finesse" team. Today, the Patriots proved they can be physical, winning at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball with a strong rushing game. Defensively, while they didn't produce a real effective pass rush, no Jets runner had a run longer than 9 yards.
Patriots Show Balance, Green-Ellis Carries the Load. Patriots running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis had a career day Sunday, rushing for 136 on 27 carries with two touchdowns. Green-Ellis' running helped dictate the pace of the game, especially in the fourth quarter. The "Law Firm" had a quiet start to the 2011 season, but definitely seems to be picking up steam as the Patriots have found more balance on the offensive side of the ball. On the night, the Patriots threw the ball 33 times and ran it 35 times. Nice.
Patriots Force Seven Three and Outs. Last week against the Raiders, the Patriots couldn't force a single three-and-out defensively. Against the Jets, the Patriots forced the Jets three and out on their first four possessions. In total, the Patriots forced the Jets to seven three and outs. The Jets were just 3/11 on third downs. While the pass rush wasn't there as much as you would like to see, the Patriots were hitting receivers hard and limiting yards after the pass. Leigh Bodden and Devin McCourty both had excellent games on the perimeter, and were rarely targeted.
Brandon Spikes a 3-Down Player. With Jerod Mayo out of action with a knee injury, there were some questions as to who would replace him as a three down player. While Gary Guyton was inserted into the line-up and had a really solid game, it was Brandon Spikes who became a three down player, staying in coverage on third down passing situations and playing almost every snap. Spikes had a good game, and played a role in the Patriots' physical demeanor on defense.
Tom Brady Has a Very Solid Day. No, we shouldn't be surprised that Brady had a really solid game against the Jets, but I just really liked the way Brady played. He made several perfect throws into tight windows. The one interception at the end of the first half was on a well placed pass to Aaron Hernandez - not Brady's fault. Tom consistently took what the defense gave him, didn't make mistakes, and was very methodical in his approach. Don't let the one touchdown - one interception stat line fool you - Tom Brady had a great game.
Just a Satisfying Victory. Sometimes, words can't really explain why a victory is satisfying, but today's victory over the New York Jets really had that feel. The Patriots didn't put up the flashiest numbers, they didn't force turnovers, they didn't get to the quarterback consistently. However, the Patriots showed that they can get back to Patriots football - a smash-mouth style - against a physical team in the New York Jets. No, the nine point victory wasn't very lopsided, but the game had the feel of a very complete victory.
Patriots Host Cowboys Next. The Patriots will get the Cowboys next week in the second of back-to-back home games. Dallas has proven to be a solid club thus far this year, even if a little inconsistent. They will certainly present another challenge for New England, a club that currently stands at 4-1 and is tied at the top of the AFC East.