The (10-5) New England Patriots host the (4-11) New York Jets in the regular season finale. The Patriots need to win in order to retain their hold on a first round bye, while the Jets are playing for pride and for a better draft pick. How will this play out? Watch and see!
Date: Sunday, December 30, 2018
Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. ET
Location: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro MA
SB Nation affiliate: Gang Green Nation
TV: CBS, with Ian Eagle (play-by-play), Dan Fouts (color commentary) and Evan Washburn (sidelin
Early Game Rooting Guide
The New York Jets won the opening coin toss and elected to defer to the second half.
The New England Patriots received the opening kickoff and Sony Michel gained 11 yards on the first three plays, with Julian Edelman gaining 11 on the next play. Rex Burkhead received the next carry and was tackled for a two-yard loss, stifling the drive, and James White dropped a third down target at midfield and the Patriots had to punt.
The Patriots defense started out strong with a three-and-out, with a pair of incompletions with J.C. Jackson and Stephon Gilmore in coverage sandwiching a tackle-for-loss by Dont’a Hightower. Julian Edelman returned the punt to the Patriots 41-yard line, offering a pretty short field for a scoring opportunity.
That was an excellent drive! Tom Brady completed all of his passes, including targets for Phillip Dorsett (2 for 14), Rob Gronkowski (1 for 14), Chris Hogan (1 for 9), and James Develin (1 for 2), before finding James White for a 17-yard catch-and-run touchdown. Sony Michel gained 1 yard on 1 carry and Rex Burkhead gained 2 yards on 2 carries. Stephen Gostkowski knocked home the extra point as the Patriots take an early 7-0 lead.
The Jets responded with a strong drive of their own as the Patriots experienced serious breakdowns against the run. Elijah McGuire ran for 17 yards on the first play and Sam Darnold scrambled for 28 yards to get into field goal range. Darnold found Deontay Burnett for 10 yards in front of J.C. Jackson for his first (and only) completion of the game, before the defense settled down and forced the Jets to kick a 40-yard field goal, cutting New England’s lead to 7-3.
New England is driving after an 18-yard gain by Edelman and have second-and-9 from the 44-yard line at the end of the first quarter.
Brady found Edelman for 18 more yards to start the second quarter and James White scampered for 21 yards to get into the red zone. Brady dropped a deep ball into Rex Burkhead’s hands with a linebacker in coverage to put New England up 14-3 with 12:53 left in the quarter.
Whew. Trey Flowers forced a fumble and Devin McCourty picked up the ball and returned it to the 8-yard line.
Brady threw the ball away on first down as no receiver was open on the roll out (Rob Gronkowski was wide open on the other side of the end zone, but Brady’s not looking his way as much), before Trent Brown was flagged for holding and a second-and-goal from the 18-yard line. Brady missed a wide open Chris Hogan in the middle of the end zone on second down. As Brady threw the ball away on third down, Jets defensive lineman Henry Anderson bumped Tom Brady, who showed off some of his Ted 2 acting skills and fell down for a roughing the passer penalty and a free first down. Sony Michel didn’t gain anything on first down and Brady overthrew Hogan again on second down, before Brady found Phillip Dorsett for a touchdown in the back corner of the end zone and a 21-3 lead.
Brady has completed 14 of 19 (73.7%) for 140 yards and 3 touchdowns and he’s looked incredibly sharp on passes to players not-named Chris Hogan.
The Jets had a strong response drive against the Patriots’ zone defense as Sam Darnold connected with receivers in between the linebackers in coverage, moving all the way to the Patriots’ 5-yard line on third down. New England made consecutive stops as the Jets went for it on fourth down and the Patriots took over from a turnover on downs.
Brady found Hogan for 8 yards to start the drive, Sony Michel broke free for a 14-yard gain, Edelman collected a 17-yard pass, and Phillip Dorsett ran a jet sweep for 11 yards to get into Jets territory for the two-minute warning. The Patriots offense stalled as they went for it on fourth-and-1 and came up short with James White. Brady could have easily picked up the yards if he took it himself up the middle as the Jets defensive tackles were wide and there was space to run.
Derek Rivers sacked Darnold on the first play of the Jets’ drive to end the half.
The Patriots forced the Jets into a three-and-out with a great sack by Trey Flowers to cap off the drive. Tom Brady found Rob Gronkowski for a huge gain that was called back for offensive pass interference by Dwayne Allen. It felt like New England simply gave up on the drive as Brady launched the ball deep down the field on each of the next plays. The Patriots just punted it back to the Jets.
What a defensive stop! Trey Flowers pushed Darnold up in the pocket, Deatrich Wise got in his path, and Adam Butler forced a fumble as Kyle Van Noy scooped up the ball and returned it for a touchdown and 28-3 lead.
The Jets had another strong drive where they went for it on fourth-and-1 in the red zone, but Elandon Roberts has been outstanding against the run and stopped the Jets for a turnover on downs. New York’s past three drives into New England territory resulted in turnovers (two by downs and one as a fumble).
The Patriots are simply trying to run down the clock and were unable to lead an extended drive as Sony Michel was walled on third-and-1. It’d be nice if Michel could lower his shoulder and get those yards in the future, but New England opted to punt on fourth-and-one link of the chain.
The Jets have the ball on their own 36-yard line as we head to the fourth quarter.
Lawrence Guy sacked Darnold for a loss of 9 yards on first down and the Jets appeared content to just run down the clock and the drive, punting it back to New England. Julian Edelman returned the punt to the 36-yard line.
Brady completed three straight passes to Chris Hogan for 42 yards to get into field goal range and New England settled for a field goal and a 31-3 lead. The third completion to Hogan was Brady’s 6,000th of his career, joining Drew Brees, Brett Favre, and Peyton Manning in the 6,000-club.
It’s pretty obvious that the Patriots are trying to re-integrate Hogan into the offense with Josh Gordon suspended and Rob Gronkowski limited. Hogan has a team-high 11 targets today, more than double the next-highest player (Edelman, 5).
The New England defense forced another three-and-out and the Patriots asked Michel, Julian Edelman, and Phillip Dorsett to carry the football and run down the clock as much as possible. The Patriots ground up 5:06 of clock as Brady finished the drive with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Edelman for a 38-3 lead.
The Patriots defense forced another punt as Tom Brady was pulled for Brian Hoyer with roughly two minutes left in the game, effectively ending the regular season for New England. The Patriots punted back to the Jets and the Jets fumbled the ball back to New England to end the game.
New England defeats New York with a final score of 38-3. The Patriots clinch a first round bye in the playoffs and will turn their eyes to the AFC West games with the slimmest chance of claiming the first seed.
Congratulations to the Patriots on completing their 2018 regular season.
Welcome to the Pats Pulpit Live Postgame show! The Patriots finished the regular season strong and cruised to a win over the Jets today, clinching a first round playoff bye in the process. Send us your questions and comments!Posted by Pats Pulpit: For New England Patriots News on Sunday, December 30, 2018