Here are our takeaways from the Patriots 22-17 victory over the Jets.
Tom Brady was seriously limited with his knee injury
Brady completed 30 of his 50 attempts (60.0%) for 286 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. Most teams would be thrilled with that type of production, but it was clear that Brady was seriously limited by his knee injury. Brady was sailing most of his deep passes (3/8 on passes 15+ yards down the field) and he was not confident in his knee or stepping up in the pocket until the second half.
The offense was more effective when Rob Gronkowski left
The Patriots opened the game with three straight punts, with the last two drives ending on failed deep throws to Gronkowski on third down. Gronkowski hit the ground hard on his last target and he left the game.
After Gronk left the game? Field goal, touchdown, missed field goal, field goal, punt, field goal, touchdown, kneeled on the goal line to run out the clock. Seven of the team’s eight final drives finished in scoring position.
The Patriots clearly missed Gronkowski in the red zone, but it appeared like Brady was too focused on Gronkowski early in the game. Hopefully Gronkowski’s injury isn’t serious.
The offensive line did a great job after the first three drives
The Jets recorded four quarterback hits on Brady, including the first two plays of the game and the first play of the Patriots third drive (all of these drives were with Gronkowski). The final hit came on 1st-and-goal of the Patriots first drive in the second quarter. The offensive line kept Brady clean for the rest of the game.
The Patriots also were able to run the ball against the vaunted Jets defensive line, as Patriots running backs combined for 91 yards on 17 carries (5.4 YPC). RB LeGarrette Blount had no problem icing the game in the fourth quarter.
The Patriots run defense was fantastic
The New York Jets were limited to 63 yards on 21 carries, or a mere 3.0 YPC. Starting RB Matt Forte only picked up 27 yards on his 13 carries (2.1 YPC!) and the longest Jets run of the day was 7 yards. The Patriots have relied on their defensive front to eliminate the run game and make the opponent one dimensional. The defensive front did their job...
CB Malcolm Butler had a really bad outing
...but the Jets had no problem slicing up the Patriots secondary. Jets WR Quincy Enunwa picked up 109 yards and a touchdown on 5 receptions. Brandon Marshall added 67 yards and a touchdown on 6 receptions. CB Malcolm Butler looked awful all day as he mistimed his jumps and appeared lost on backshoulder throws.
CB Eric Rowe actually looked pretty good, and the safeties remained out of the headlines...so much of the struggles lay at the feet of the Patriots top cornerback.
Stephen Gostkowski missed another kick
Gostkowski connected on four kicks on Sunday: an extra point, and 28-, 29-, and 41-yard field goals. But he missed a 39-yard field goal before the half that would have done wonders for the health of New Englanders, and that’s definitely going to stick in the minds of everyone watching. That is his 7th miss of the season, tying his rookie year for his most in a single season.