Tom Brady and the offense are still clicking. If there was going to be a defense that managed to take Tom Brady off of his hot streak, it would be Rex Ryan and the Jets. Despite the injuries the Patriots had on their interior line, and despite the ferocious defensive line of the Jets, the protection held up very well. Brady was on point tonight. He was moving in and out of the pocket, had trust in his line and receivers, was generally accurate (completion % hurt by drops), and made some awesome throws in the face of pressure and off of his back foot. It would have been nice to see the running game get going. However, the Patriots did have the ball very much, and why would they turn away from the passing game when the Jets could not stop it?
Shane Vereen is still Shane Vereen, and Jonas Gray will have a role. It was telling that Brandon Bolden had just a single carry in this game. His role is on special teams. Other than that, he's a deep reserve. Jonas Gray looks to be the next man up as the team's power runner. He did not get a whole lot of run tonight (3 carries, 12 yards), but he was clearly ahead of Bolden on the depth chart. Shane Vereen though, might have been the player of the game. He caught a 49-yard touchdown on the opening drive on a wheel route that was benefited from a blown communication in the Jets' secondary. In the second quarter, he caught another Brady touchdown. With Stevan Ridley down for the year, it's good to see that Shane Vereen is back to doing Shane Vereen things.
The Patriots run defense might be really bad. This was the run defense the Patriots saw in week one against the Dolphins. They couldn't do a thing to stop Chris Ivory and the Jets' running attack tonight. Vince Wilfork and Chris Jones were consistently pushed off the ball, Rob Ninkovich couldn't hold the edge, and linebacker Jamie Collins was extremely weak from the 3-4 RILB spot. Yep, all miss Jerod Mayo right now. And Sealver Siliga. On the bright side, Casey Walker continued his strong play as both a pass rusher and in run defense. He seems like quite the find. Not exactly sure what the solution will be here, but the Patriots should probably consider moving Collins out of the middle and bringing in Deontae Skinner.
Penalties are hurting New England's secondary. Yeah, this was obvious. The Patriots had, what, five defensive holding calls tonight? They were back breaking penalties - Chandler Jones had two sacks called back on them. Brandon Browner was flagged twice, Logan Ryan flagged twice, and Revis flagged once. Sure, some of the calls were suspect. In fact, the entire game was atrociously reffed. Nonetheless, the Patriots need to learn to adjust their playing style and technique. On a side-note, hats off to Geno Smith, who looked poised as he led the Jets up and down the field.
Danny Amendola and Chris Jones get their redemption. It was really nice to see Danny Amendola get going tonight. He showed up throughout the game as a kick returner, and looks like a keeper there. He also showed up late in critical moments. He caught a beautiful back shoulder throw from Tom Brady in the fourth quarter for a touchdown. It was his first touchdown of the year. Then, after the Jets cut the score to 27-25, Amendola made a clutch recovery of an onsides kick that bounced off the leg of Brandon LaFell.
Chris Jones had a redemption of sorts too. Last year, he was penalized on a questionable personal foul call on a missed field goal that ultimately led to the Jets winning on their second chance. Tonight? He blocked the game winning 58-yard yard attempt from Nick Folk. Yeah, that's a storybook ending.
Overall, tonight was not the prettiest win. Still, they were coming off of a short week in which they lost their captain and signal caller on defense in as well as one of their top emotional leaders and their best running back in Stevan Ridley. They were playing a desperate Jets team, a division rival that was playing inspired and motivated football. This was still an impressive win, and regardless, the Patriots are now 5-2.