The New England Patriots had a solid game in week 12 against the New York Jets. The offense, despite some shortcomings in the red area, had a convincing performance behind a series of big plays and excellent running attack. Likewise, the defense held its opponent to just 13 points and rose to the occasion in the second half due to a combination of tight man-to-man coverage and creative pass rushing.
While it was, of course, a team win two players still stood out — at least according to Pro Football Focus: the advanced analytics website published its team of the week and two members of the Patriots are on it: running back Sony Michel and cornerback Stephon Gilmore.
Sony Michel, New England Patriots — 90.3 overall grade
Michel carried the ball 21 times in the win over the Jets, averaging 6.3 yards per carry, and 3.19 yards after contact per carry in the process. He forced six missed tackles, with seven of his carries resulting in a first down or touchdown. His work in the passing game was limited to two catches for 12 yards, but he did pick up a first down there too.
Michel, who had been dealing with a knee injury prior to the Patriots’ week 11 bye, was outstanding against the Jets. The rookie hit the holes hard and displayed excellent vision en route to 133 yards on the ground and a touchdown. In the second half, he played a key role in helping New England control the pace of the game by churning out the necessary yardage and occasional big plays needed to keep the opponent in check.
Stephon Gilmore, New England Patriots — 88.2 overall grade
The Jets went after Gilmore on five occasions in Sunday’s win for the Patriots, and they didn’t find much success when they did. Gilmore surrendered just one reception, had an interception and pass breakup, and allowed an NFL passer rating of just 1.7 on throws into his coverage.
Coming off a disappointing performance in week 10, Gilmore bounced back in spectacular fashion against the Jets — showing that his game against the Tennessee Titans was just an outlier. Not only did he post some truly dominant statistics when targeted, he also helped the Patriots defense erase whoever he lined up against. In short: he returned to his Pro Bowl form and showed why he is currently one of the NFL’s best shutdown cornerbacks.