So here we are, the second-to-last GIF of the Week post of the regular season. It's been a great ride, with lots of great plays. Everyone has put forth their best effort and the highlights have been plentiful. This week against the Jets, the Patriots managed to...
Wait a minute, what's that?
That's...THAT'S PEYTON MANNING'S MUSIC!
Sorry folks, I'm not going to let these be eligible, but this collection was easily the highlight of the week. The Patriots definitely struggled to hold up their end of the Home Field Advantage bargain, but at least they pulled it off- even if it wasn't pretty.
Here are the highlights.
Danny Amendola put the Team on his Back
Let's take a moment to appreciate Amendola and his impact on this game. He just posted the 11th most yards for a Patriot under Bill Belichick, including return yardage. It was the most yards by a Patriot this year. He stepped up snap after snap after snap and he ignited the team when no one else cared to enter the game.
This return, courtesy of an overlooked block in the back, helped keep the Patriots in the game early on and it was probably the only reason the Patriots managed to win; they couldn't do anything on offense, so special teams had to step up their game. Danny was too happy to oblige.
He's clearly the player of the game. But can he win GIF of the Week?
Rob Gronkowski Jawing
Another day and another touchdown for Gronkowski. He now ranks tied with Vernon Davis for 7th in league history in touchdowns by a tight end. Odds are fairly certain that a healthy Gronk will shoot up to 3rd all time with one more season (Billy Cannon with 65). Just another day in the office.
What makes this play particularly exciting? I mean, he jaws afterwards. I'm struggling here. Gronk makes touchdowns seem routine and this wasn't anything fancy. Couldn't he, like, I don't know...carried a defender five yards? Caught it with one hand? Left a hole in the ground with a SPIKE? I mean. Yawn, Gronk. YAWN.
Jamie Collins Coverage Pick
Collins is converted safety, converted linebacker, converted defensive end, back to converted linebacker. He can do it all. Look at how he maintains contact with Jace Amaro at the stem of his route. Look at how he undercuts the route. Look at how he high points the ball. It's perfect coverage to take advantage of a brutal Chandler Jones pressure and quarterback hit.
Vince Wilfork kind of gets pancaked. Sealver Siliga clearly dives to knock down the running back. Jones is a beast and it's great that he's back. But Collins...he's on an incredible trajectory. That's the sophomore jump everyone wants.
Dont'a Hightower Lives in the Backfield
This was a perfect retort to the Jets first half sack, where Gronk and Shane Vereen couldn't communicate on who was blocking which Jet was rushing the backfield. They ended up blocking neither.
In this case, both Hightower and Rob Ninkovich attack the right side of the pocket. Both the Jets right tackle and running back look to engage Hightower. Then the right tackle sees Ninkovich and tries to slide, expecting the running back to pick up Hightower. But the running back saw the tackle engage Hightower, so he tried to pick up Ninkovich.
In the end, no one covered Hightower. What a clutch sack.
I mean, we already knew he was back. But he's been stellar. He's hit all of his playing time incentives. The defense is elite- it's top six.
But this was a special teams star by the defensive captain and an All-Time Patriot. Vince is about to be locked in for two more seasons as it's hard to see the Patriots not picking up his contract option. He's earned it. He's a Patriot for life.
It's hard to see the block itself, but the ball just trails off. Vince blocked the kick and that makes the past three games between the Patriots and Jets having come down to a missed field goal.
A win is a win is a win. The Patriots have homefield advantage. All is well.