The deep passing game struggled for the Patriots and Tom Brady outside of Brandin Cooks' 44-yard grab right before the half.
Brady completed just one pass beyond 20 yards against the Jets, and threw an interception deep downfield as well, posting a season-low 16.7 passer rating on deep passes.
It wasn't all bad for Brady, however, as he dominated the Jets defense in the middle part of the field. In particular, Brady attacked the intermediate area of the field against the Jets' defense (10-20 yard range).
Brady completed eight of his 13 pass attempts for 158 of his 257 yards at the 10 to 20-yard range, including a 33-yard touchdown to Rob Gronkowski.
Sunday also produced a quicker release from Brady than in recent weeks. His 2.54 seconds to throw was his lowest mark since the second week of the season in New Orleans.
Danny Amendola dominating in the slot has become a weekly occurrence. This week, Amendola was on the field for just 43% of the Patriots' snaps but made the most his opportunities with three catches for 40 yards, and all three of his receptions went for first downs.
As for Brandin Cooks, he continues to play primarily as an outside receiver, which appears to be where he feels most comfortable. Despite running 41 routes from the slot this season, Cooks has just one catch for 19 yards.
There's also an interesting pattern emerging with Rob Gronkowski. This season, when Gronkowski runs a pass route he primarily starts in the slot. Gronk has lined up in the slot on 106 of his 184 routes this season (57.6%), with only 26.7% of his routes run coming from a traditional tight end position.
He leads all tight ends with 238 yards and 3 touchdowns out of the slot this season, with two of those three touchdowns coming against the Jets on Sunday.
The Jets defensive line is one of the worst pass rushing groups in the NFL, but the Patriots' offensive line had its best game of the season in Week 6.
The Patriots offensive line allowed just three total pressures in this one, by far their lowest mark of the season, and Tom Brady was hit only once after taking a beating in the first five weeks.
In fact, left tackle Nate Solder (2 pressures) and right guard Shaq Mason (1 pressure) were the only Patriots offensive lineman to allow a pressure in pass protection.
Marcus Cannon delivered a 2016-like performance not allowing a single pressure at right tackle. Cannon allowed four sacks in the first five weeks of this season after a breakout performance in 2016 but shut down Jets edge defenders rushing from the left side of the defense, mostly Jordan Jenkins (10 snaps) and David Bass (9 snaps).
Former Patriot (sort of) Kony Ealy lined up over left tackle Nate Solder for most of the game, recording one pressure on 23 pass rush snaps, but it was Bass that beat Solder badly for the only quarterback hit on Brady.
On the ground, the Patriots had their best performance of the season running the football, averaging 4.7 yards per carry.
Shaq Mason continues to stand out as a tone-setter in the run game. Mason is frequently seen pushing defensive lineman backward, and climbing to the second level to get blocks on linebackers and safeties to spark longer runs. Mason received an 87.4 game-grade from Pro Football Focus, the highest of any Patriot.
Although the Jets lack a premier pass rusher, the Patriots offensive line has something to build on both in pass protection and on the ground.
Pass Rush/Run Stops
There were two clear standouts along the Patriots' defensive front against the Jets, and both had their best game of the season.
First, linebacker Kyle Van Noy, who has taken a lot of heat for the Patriots' defensive struggles recently, had a strong all-around game against the Jets. From his inside linebacker spot, Van Noy led the team with five total pressures, including two sacks of Jets QB Josh McCown.
Both of Van Noy's sacks came on third down, but the nicer of the two was a third and two sack where Van Noy appeared to be spying McCown. When McCown rolled out to his right, Van Noy headed straight towards the Jets' quarterback and shut down the play.
This was also the best game of the season, and maybe one of the best of his career, for defensive tackle Malcom Brown. Brown gave the Jets' interior offensive line fits against the run and pass, sacking McCown once and contributing two run stops as well.
The third-year defensive tackle needed a bounce-back performance after a rough game against the Bucs, and delivered, showing why the Patriots took him in the first round of the 2015 NFL draft.
The Patriots played without cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore and Eric Rowe, yet Josh McCown targeted Malcolm Butler a team-high nine times.
Butler had an up and down game against the Jets, allowing a touchdown to Jeremy Kerely early, but ultimately had one of the game's biggest plays with a second-quarter interception.
On the other side, you have to give Jonathan Bademosi a lot of credit for his performance filling in for the injured Gilmore and Rowe. Bademosi played on 96% of the Patriots' defensive snaps and was targeted just three times.
It will be interesting to see why McCown didn't test Bademosi more when the all-22 is released, but either way, that's a strong performance from a guy that was brought in to play special teams.