Do you all smell that?
No, not the leftover grill grease from everyone’s 4th of July BBQs. And no, not the hot garbage that dominates the streets of NYC this time every year.
I’m talking about training camp. It’s almost here. Just a few weeks to go, and it will be time to get after it. I can’t wait.
And we’re coming up on the final few moments on our countdown of the Top 20 Most Memorable Patriots Moments of 2020. Just four to go.
But first, the list so far:
20. A diving N’Keal Harry grab in the end zone makes it a game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
19. A last second 51 yard Nick Folk field goal caps off a comeback win against the New York Jets.
18. Two red zone trips, zero total points against the Kansas City Chiefs.
17. A fourth down option read to James White puts the Patriots on the board against the Arizona Cardinals.
16. A last-second goal line stand prevents the Patriots from stealing a game on the road against the Seattle Seahawks.
15. A nonsensical blindside blocking flag negates an 82 yard punt return for a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals.
14. Derrick Carr is strip sacked in the end zone to put six points on the board and put the game away against the Las Vegas Raiders.
13. A goal line stand just before halftime keeps the game close against the Arizona Cardinals.
12. The Patriots debut the RPO offense against the Miami Dolphins.
11. Rex Burkhead hurdles into the end zone just before halftime against the Las Vegas Raiders.
10. The Patriots sign Cam Newton.
9. Cam Newton hits Damiere Byrd for a 42 yard touchdown bomb against the Houston Texans.
8. Jakobi Meyers connects with Rex Burkhead in the end zone to take a 14-10 lead into the half against the Baltimore Ravens.
7. A last minute fumble short-circuits an epic comeback attempt against the Buffalo Bills.
6. A 49-yard Cam Newton rush against the New York Jets sets a Patriots record for longest run by a QB
5. Gunner Olzsewski takes a punt return to the house against the San Diego Chargers.
At Number 4, we have the Patriots getting themselves a TD courtesy of the two best weapons in the passing game. Just not in the way we’re used to.
4. Jakobi Meyers hits Cam Newton in stride for a 19 yard score against the New York Jets.
It’s easy to forget, given the final score of the game, that the Jets were actually up 14-7 on the Patriots in the third quarter of their meaningless Week 17 matchup that didn’t even have draft order on the line. Sure, New England won 28-14, but after scoring on their first possession, the Patriots weren’t able to do much of anything on offense and the Jets were able to get back in it on a pair of TDs to close out the 2nd quarter and open up the third. It really didn’t matter, of course...but the Patriots were at home here, and to lose to the Jets at Gillette to close out the season would have just been one final punch in the junk that was the 2020 season as a whole.
However, the Patriots were able to tie the score two possessions later, capping off a 10 play, 58 yard drive in which Cam Newton connected with Jakobi Meyers for the score.
In the words of Willy Wonka: strike that. Reverse it. Thank you.
A good mix of run and pass got the Pats from their own 42 down to the Jets 19 yard line. Then, on 1st and 10 from the 19 with New England in a Big 3 WR set that featured Sony Michel in the backfield and the line overloaded to the weak side, the Patriots showed sweep. And sweep is exactly what they did, as Newton handed it off to Michel right at the snap and he took off for the left edge of the field. However, just as Michel started his run, Jakobi Meyers came across the backfield in an end-around and received the toss from Michel.
Had it been a designed run, this would have gone for a 10 yard loss, as a Jets defender came in unblocked and ready to make the tackle. However, Meyers set his feet, released a beautiful spiral, and hit a wide open Cam Newton in stride at the eight yard line, where he waltzed into the end zone relatively untouched. Tie game.
New England would go on to score on their next two possessions as well, whereas the Jets’ next three possessions went interception, three and out, interception. With the win, the Patriots limped across the finish line at 7-9, out of the playoffs and with a losing record for the first time since the year 2000, but at least they closed it out with a win.
I have this play ranked so high mainly to give Jakobi Meyers his due. He has been a real bright spot for a team that has struggled mightily as of late in the passing game. In a year where the Patriots drafted a receiver in the first round with expectations that he would be the No. 1 option within a year or two, the undrafted free agent has proven himself more reliable, more versatile, and a bigger threat to score. Not only that, but Meyers played some QB back in high school and was thus able to put his talents on display here. That he hit Cam Newton, the one who was supposed to be throwing the TD passes, just makes it that much cooler. This was one of those plays, like Edelman to Amendola, that the Patriots likely drew up early on in training camp and were waiting until the right moment - aka the playoffs, to bust it out. And since the playoffs didn’t happen this year and the season was almost over by that point anyway, against the Jets to tie it was as good a time as any. We took TD passes any way we could get them last year, and this was a fun play in a no-pressure game that tied it up against an old rival. So it’s here at Number 4.
Check out the play here.
Full game highlights here.