Here’s our instant analysis from the game.
Tom Brady is obviously injured, but he can still do enough to win
Brady entered the week with a bad left knee as the result of his disastrous catch attempt versus the Tennessee Titans. He bruised his right knee and his right throwing hand this week:
Hopefully these are short-term issues because Brady’s accuracy was clearly an issue in the immediate wake of the hand injury- although he appeared to settle down later in the game.
Brady finished the day completing 20 of 31 (64.5%) for 283 yards and 2 touchdowns for a passer rating of 115.4. We cannot understate that this is excellent production. That said, he did leave some plays on the field and the Patriots definitely relied on Sony Michel and the rushing attack to carry the offense in the second half.
If this is the type of game Brady will be asked to play for the rest of his career, with the running backs doing a lot of the work, then Brady will be able to make defenses pay- if he gets healthy again.
Sony Michel changes the Patriots offense
Michel scared everyone when his body was crushed in two different directions by a pair of Jets defenders, but he got back on the field and continued to produce. Michel gained 145 yards from scrimmage and scored a touchdown in his most productive day in the NFL- and he looks as good as he did prior to his knee injury in week 7.
With Michel on the field, the opposing defense has to respect the rushing attack in a way that James White and Cordarrelle Patterson don’t inspire. Defenders have to watch out for the play action and that opens up plays for Rob Gronkowski and the receivers deep down the field.
It’s great to see Michel playing so well- and hopefully the return of Rex Burkhead will provide some much-needed depth to the New England backfield.
Rob Gronkowski also changes the Patriots offense
Gronk “only” had 56 receiving yards and a touchdown on 3 receptions, but they were big yards and his blocking was extremely valuable. Gronkowski finally returned to the field after missing time with his ankle and back injuries and it’s clear that the team didn’t want to put him in overly risky situations with Dwayne Allen hurt and not able to play.
Jets safety Jamal Adams got the best of this passing match-up, in my opinion, but Michel and James White combined for 206 rushing yards on 30 carries (6.87 yards per carry) and that rushing production doesn’t happen without Gronkowski taking out linebackers on the edge.
Hopefully Gronkowski will get more opportunities other than low-percentage fade routes in the end zone.
The Patriots defense settled down in the second half
The Jets offense picked up 195 yards in the first half and 143 in the second half, but 57 of those yards came on their final drive that yielded zero points against the Patriots prevent defense. Honestly, outside of the Jets 9-play, 80-yard touchdown drive in the first half, the Patriots did a great job on defense.
New York gained more than 25 yards on a drive just four times: a touchdown drive, a field goal drive, and two drives that resulted in turnovers by the goal line.
Sure, it was against an unimpressive Jets team led by Josh McCown. But after coming out flat against the Titans, it was good to see the defense play up to expectations against the Jets.
Patriots on track to clinch a playoff spot
The Jets will be eliminated from the AFC East race if the Patriots win OR the Jets lose at any point for the rest of the year.
The Bills will be eliminated if the Patriots win AND the Bills lose at any point for the rest of the year. Buffalo will also be eliminated if the Patriots win two games OR the Bills lose two games.
The Dolphins will be eliminated if they fall to the Colts OR the Bills in week 13; AND the Patriots beat the Vikings in week 13 AND beat Miami in week 14.
It would take a major upset for the Patriots not to win the AFC East.
Patriots Nation! - Tune in now for the Pats Pulpit Live Postgame Show!Posted by Pats Pulpit: For New England Patriots News on Sunday, November 25, 2018