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Week 17 Patriots vs Jets: Best and worst plays from New England’s 38-3 win over New York

Let’s take a look at some of the game’s biggest plays.

New York Jets v New England Patriots Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The New England Patriots’ 38-3 win against the visiting New York Jets was a blowout almost from the get-go: the Patriots made numerous big plays to get up early and never looked back en route to their eleventh win of the year. But which plays actually were the biggest from the team’s perspective? Let’s take a look at the changes in win probability to find out (percentages via NumberFire).

5 best Patriots plays

Q2: 1-10-NYJ 25 (12:53) E.McGuire up the middle to NYJ 25 for no gain. FUMBLES, RECOVERED by NE-D.McCourty at NYJ 22.

Win probability: +5.14%

With the Patriots jumping to an early lead against a clearly inferior opponent, the win percentages did not change much in the second half. Consequently, New England’s biggest play of the day already happened early in the second quarter. On the first defensive play after the team went up 14-3, Trey Flowers forced an Elijah McGuire fumble that was recovered by Devin McCourty and gave New England prime field position. Five plays later, the team was in the end zone again.

Q2: 2-11-NYJ 39 (13:41) J.White left end to NYJ 18 for 21 yards.

Win probability: +4.11%

New England’s offense was moving the football well early on in the game and had its biggest gain of the day in the second quarter: running back James White was able to turn an unfavorable 2nd and 11 right on the edge of kicker Stephen Gostkowski’s field goal range into a red zone trip. His 21-yard run set the Patriots up at the Jets 18 — and on the very next play, Tom Brady connected with Rex Burkhead for a touchdown.

Q1: 2-8-NYJ 31 (5:57) T.Brady pass short right to R.Gronkowski to NYJ 17 for 14 yards.

Win probability: +3.02%

With the game still tied at zero and the Patriots seven plays into their second series, the team found itself in a 2nd and 8 situation. Enter the Gronk: Tom Brady found tight end Rob Gronkowski for his first and longest of two catches on the day — one that set up the Patriots in the red zone and gave the tight end 7,851 regular season receiving yards on his career, the seventh most all time for a player at his position.

Q2: 2-9-NE 44 (15:00) T.Brady pass short left to J.Edelman to NYJ 38 for 18 yards.

Win probability: +2.88%

New England did not challenge the Jets deep a lot in the passing game, with most of the attempts being thrown in the short or intermediate range. New England’s biggest pass play of the first half — an 18-yarder to Julian Edelman — was similar: Tom Brady hit the wide receiver on a crosser over the middle and Edelman gained additional yardage after the ball 12 yards deep.

Q1: 1-10-NYJ 17 (5:23) T.Brady pass short middle to J.White for 17 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

Win probability: +2.83%

After Brady’s pass to Gronkowski set up the Patriots in the Jets’ red zone, the quarterback hit running back James White for the go-ahead touchdown. Just like the Edelman play described above, it was once again a short pass that was caught by the receiver and taken for additional gain — and in this case a score. White did a tremendous job shaking the linebacker in coverage before catching the game’s first touchdown.

5 worst Patriots plays

Q1: 2-10-NYJ 39 (4:05) S.Darnold scrambles left guard to NE 33 for 28 yards.

Win probability: -3.84%

The biggest play by both teams was given up by New England on the series after it went up 7-0: the Patriots’ pass rush forced Jets quarterback Sam Darnold off the spot but allowed him to get through the line of scrimmage and carry the football for a 28-yard gain before getting tackled by Duron Harmon. The scramble was a key play towards New York’s only score of the day, a 40-yard field goal.

Q1: 3-10-NE 33 (2:35) S.Darnold pass short left to D.Burnett pushed ob at NE 23 for 10 yards.

Win probability: -3.25%

Three plays after Darnold’s scramble, the quarterback made another big play when he connected with wide receiver Deontay Burnett on a 10-yard catch to convert a 3rd and 10. Burnett was able to get separation from fellow undrafted rookie J.C. Jackson to catch the quick pass. While he was immediately tackled, the wideout held onto the football for the conversion.

Q1: 3-7-50 (11:26) T.Brady pass incomplete short middle to J.White.

Win probability: -3.11%

The 10-5 Patriots entered the contest against the 4-11 Jets with a win probability of 77.27%, but were unable to add to it on their first possession. While the team did move the ball well on the game’s opening drive, the series came to a halt near midfield after Brady was unable to connect with running back James White on a 3rd and 7 pass. While the throw was a bit high, the running back should still have caught it.

Q2: 3-9-NYJ 49 (7:53) S.Darnold pass deep right to D.Burnett pushed ob at NE 29 for 22 yards.

Win probability: -2.23%

After the Patriots went up 21-3, the Jets started to move the football well — with a 22-yard pass from Sam Darnold to Deontay Burnett the series’ biggest play. Burnett was able to shake free against seventh-round rookie Keion Crossen, and his quarterback found him for the big play. Unfortunately for the Jets, the drive stalled near the goal line when a fourth down pass from five yards out of the end zone was broken up by Stephon Gilmore.

Q1: 1-10-NE 47 (12:43) R.Burkhead left end to NE 45 for -2 yards.

Win probability: -1.77%

The Patriots’ fifth-worst play of the day changed win probability for only 1.77% — which shows just how in control the home team was from start to finish. Rex Burkhead’s run for -2 yards happened on the game’s opening drive and set up New England in unfavorable position ahead of the third down incompletion intended for James White.

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