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Patriots vs. Jets: Fan Notes from the Game

Related: Patriots vs Jets recap: New England escapes with last-second 30-27 win

New England Patriots v New York Jets Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

So..yay?

The Patriots finally got themselves back in the win column with a victory over the New York Jets. They needed every second of game clock to do it, and the gaping holes all over this roster were once again on display, but it still feels good to win one.

  • Let’s get this out of the way right now: the New York Jets are the worst team in football. Their current roster can match up against any of the most hapless teams in NFL history and give them a serious run for their money. The Patriots had to overcome a 10 point fourth quarter deficit and needed a walk-off field goal to avoid losing to an 0-8 team. There’s no way around that. So if this morning’s victory Tuesday is a little less rosy than you’re used to, then I understand.
  • But let’s also get this out of the way right now: the New England Patriots will not be picking first overall in the 2021 draft. That statement would be just as true this morning if the Patriots had lost last night. Trevor Lawrence is not coming to New England. So if you’re rooting for a tank, fine — just know there’s no way that any kind of Patriots tank will result in Lawrence on the team absent a large trade up.
  • And let’s also be honest: do you know how many DII defensive backs you can get if you trade that 1st overall pick in the draft? Do you really think that Belichick could resist trading that pick for five second rounders so he could add three corners and two safeties? Come on now.
  • The point is, the Patriots won. A bad Patriots team beat a worse Jets team, and so we should be happy with that. This is what fandom is usually like for most fanbases — you just want to see a few wins and steady progress as we look to the future. The NFL is comprised of a small handful of teams with championship hopes, a small handful of teams vying for the first pick in the draft, and then a whole mess of teams looking to string together some wins and building towards next year. Embrace that mess.
  • I’ve never been a huge MNF guy. There’s definitely an energy about Monday Night games that is inarguably different and more charged than Sunday afternoon or even Sunday evening games, but to me Monday Night football is best watched when it’s on the TV and you don’t have to pay too much attention to it. Sort of like the NFL Draft. Or Jimmy Fallon.
  • And that goes double for a game played between a bad Patriots team and an even worse Jets team featuring players I didn’t even know existed until last night. Usually when the Patriots play on a warm, balmy weeknight and I spend the first half of the game trying to figure out who everyone is, it’s August and Week 1 of the preseason is officially underway. It’s November.
  • Speaking of players I’ve never heard of: most folks’ favorite move the Patriots made in the 2020 draft was to select Michigan product Josh Uche in the second round. With every single linebacker out for the Pats last night, the team called up Terez Hall and started him instead. Hall was an undrafted rookie last year who has never done a single thing in a real NFL game. I can understand the logic behind having NFL experience...but jeez. Hall doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page.
  • McDaniels said he was going to “try something new” with Cam Newton going into this game. It would appear that said new thing was generate a first quarter touchdown.
  • Next new thing to try: generate a touchdown pass. But hey, I’ll take it.
  • How you’re viewing the offense this morning says a lot about whether you consider yourself an optimist or a pessimist, as you can make a strong case either way. On one hand, the Patriots adjusted at halftime and scored on all four of their second half possessions. Jakobi Meyers had 169 yards on 12 receptions. Damien Harris once again ran well, and Rex Burkhead continues to show that he might be the most underrated player on this roster — and this was all without their top two receivers. The team strung multiple plays together and looked consistently competent for 30 straight minutes of football. That’s all we ask for.
  • On the other — the second leading receiver had 65 yards, with 31 of them coming on one play. The third non-RB player catch a pass had one grab for negative one yards. Their always-a-threat-to-run quarterback averaged 1.6 yards per carry on ten runs. It’s glaringly obvious that there’s nothing even close to resembling a red zone threat. This team is going to get destroyed by any kind of explosive offense and they just don’t have the firepower to keep up.
  • I’m not sure what I should say about the defense, as a) there were missing their best player at every single level, and b) there’s just something about Joe Flacco that gives the Patriots problems, and it once again happened last night. The strength of this team is its secondary, and yet there were slips, blown coverages, failure to pass players off, and one of the most embarrassing moments of the past decade when the Patriots gave up a touchdown on just two plays — against the freaking Jets — right before halftime. But again — it’s Flacco. That man may be third all time on the passing yards list, but I can’t imagine anyone has more yards generated via a DPI call on a pass thrown deep down the right sideline. Can’t knock the strategy.
  • And if you ever needed another argument as to why using stats to argue greatness is the biggest sucker’s bet there is: the man Flacco overtook last night on that passing yards list is Joe Montana.
  • I couldn’t help but notice how many times I found myself just staring at a gray screen that said “Commercial Break” last night. I never thought I’d live to see the day when the television version of “Please Insert Ad Here” dominated a primetime NFL game, but here we find ourselves.
  • I will say, though — credit to the NFL for (for my viewing, at least) going eight whole weeks without making me sit through a single play/commercial/single play sandwich — a streak that ended when the Jets punted for the first time towards the very end of the first quarter.
  • At least we got to see Martin Kove back in a big way, plugging his new dojo Koala Kai.
  • If you grew up in the 80s and consider The Karate Kid one of those pivotal movies that shaped your childhood in one way or another, do yourself a favor and check out Cobra Kai on Netflix. You won’t be disappointed.
  • Seeing Joe Flacco hand the ball off constantly to Frank Gore was likely a great confidence boost for Jets fans who are looking to the future of this team.
  • The Jets have had the same number of coaches since 2000 than the Patriots have Super Bowl Championships. The team that had Bill Belichick traded him to a team that has won as many SBs as they’ve had coaches. Move over, Babe Ruth — the best sports trade in history belongs to New England.
  • Where the hell was this Harvey Langi during his stint with the Patriots?
  • Every time the Jets faced a third and less than five, they ran the exact same play: a quick out to the flat for six or so yards and a first down. It’s a very hard route to cover unless you sell out and leave yourself wide open for the double move, particularly when you don’t have any linebackers with lateral speed.
  • If you want to give this Patriots defense fits, you need two plays in your playbook: an outside zone rush that you can flip at the line of scrimmage, and a short option route that either cuts across the middle, breaks to the sideline, or sets up a deep post off a play action. Literally any team — ANY TEAM — that can do those two things will have success against the Patriots.
  • “The Jets are going to make the Patriots throw the ball to beat them.” History nerds: when was the last time any announcer ever said that (Hi Scott Zolak!)?
  • How great was it to see Cam Newton run a sneak on short yardage? And — shockingly — it worked! I know he’s been a read option QB since forever, but when you’re a behemoth of a human being, just churn your legs and get some yards.
  • There’s no denying that the talent level for this Patriots team is right there at the bottom of the league, particularly on offense. And that for sure factors into the suckery that we’ve been witnessing this season. But some of the play calls dialed in from the sidelines from Belichick and McDaniels have been straight up horrific. Run on first down, run on second down, can’t convert on third and long. Let’s call a spade a spade here.
  • When Tommy B used to yell “Alert” at the line of scrimmage, nobody had any idea what was coming. He saw something in the defense and made the adjustment. I think that Cam Newton’s version of “Alert” is “I’m going to hand it to Rex Burkhead and hope he can make enough cuts to pick up the first down.”
  • Cam Newton slipping for a four yard loss on a naked bootleg to force a field goal inside the Jets 20 yard line only for the Jets to have too many men on the field to set up a new set of downs which the Patriots then promptly farted into the wind via holding penalties, dump passes, and weak stretch runs sums up that game perfectly.
  • Just for grins, I headed over to Gang Green Nation to see what the overall temperature was over there. If there was a more confused fan base, I haven’t seen it — and I completely get it. Beating the Patriots is all the Jets have ever really wanted. But they’re doing it at the potential cost of the #1 overall pick. They were fighting with each other over whether or not they should be happy about that Nick Folk FG to win it. Never forget how good we had it, folks.
  • If this the last time we’ll ever go up against Joe Flacco? Who knows. But I do know that the man deserves better. The guy won a Super Bowl and was legit one of New England’s biggest playoff demons. You can’t tell the story of the second half of the 2000s Patriots dynasty without mentioning Flacco and those Ravens teams. Playing out the string as the backup QB for the Jets is like being a mid-90s pro wrestler still trying to cobble together a living signing autographs at malls.

Let’s keep this winning streak alive next week against the Ravens! That should be no problem at all. Zero percent chance of a loss there.