The New England Patriots (6-4) turned out an ugly Week 11 victory over the New York Jets (6-4) which needed a full 60 minutes of football to decide. Here’s who stood out for better, and for worse, from the Sunday victory.
Winner: CB Marcus Jones. Does this need any explanation? With just 26 seconds remaining in the game, Jones took a punt 84 yards to the house for the game-winning score. On a day the Patriots offense struggled to finish drives, it was Jones who brought it home, and maybe kept their playoff hopes alive.
See ya later, @MarcusJonesocho— New England Patriots (@Patriots) November 20, 2022
: #NYJvsNE on @NFLonCBS pic.twitter.com/ESLv961Lbu
Winner: QB Mac Jones. Despite continuing to be under heavy pressure, Jones was extremely efficient for New England going 23-for-27 with 246 yards — the second-most by an opposing QB against the Jets defense this season. He struck a few big plays downfield off of play-action and was quick to find his running backs as check-down options. It wasn’t all perfect, but it was a formula for beating a Jets defense that takes away plays downfield, and he executed it well.
Loser: Offensive line. New England’s front continued to get little push in the ground game and struggle in pass protection. As we just mentioned, Jones was under pressure early and often on Sunday getting sacked six times — two prior to a Nick Folk missed field goal. Isaiah Wynn and Yodny Cajuste drew the starts at tackle as Trent Brown started on the sideline. Brown stepped in for Wynn as he left with a foot injury. To make matters worse, David Andrews is feared to be done for the season after suffering a thigh injury.
Winner: Defense. Can we put the entire Patriots defense in this category? Well, we’re doing it. They absolutely dominated the Jets, taking away everything they tried to do. In total, the Jets finished with just 103 total yards of offense and four first downs not from penalties.
Individually, Matthew Judon recorded 1.5 sacks as the Patriots’ pass rush continues to dominate. Deatrich Wise Jr. and Kyle Dugger also recorded one, while Mack Wilson split one with Judon. Speaking of Dugger, he was around the ball often, recording a nice pass breakup downfield in the fourth quarter and making a huge tackle on third-and-one that forced the punt to Marcus Jones. It was truly a dominating effort.
Honorable mentions: It was just another day in the office for Rhamondre Stevenson who continues to carry the Patriots offense. While there was not much room on the ground (15 carries, 26 yards), he paced New England with six catches for 56 yards in the air — including an impressive 3rd-and-16 conversion.
His counterpart, Damien Harris, also had a strong game, leading the team with 65 rushing yards (8.1 yards per carry) while chipping in an additional 28 receiving yards.
Tight end Jonnu Smith was active in the Patriots’ passing game early and finished with four receptions for 40 yards. He hauled in their longest passing play of the game, coming out of the backfield in their new-look “full house” formation for a 26-yard gain. Smith also recorded a 5-yard carry on an end around. It looked like he was on his way to the end zone until he fumbled when he questionably tried to switch the ball to his inside arm.
In the special teams department, Michael Palardy impressed in his first opportunity with the team. Palardy punted seven times filling in for the injured Jake Bailey, averaging 45.3 yards per punt while two were downed inside the 20-yard line.
Nick Folk on the other handled struggled in a windy Gillette Stadium. The issues in warmups appeared to be kicking to the construction-end of the stadium, where Folk then missed two kicks in the game.
Additionally, on Marcus Jones’ game-winning return, he received key blocks from a handful of rookies, including Brenden Schooler, Raleigh Webb, and DaMarcus Mitchell. Jabrill Peppers and Jonathan Jones also walled off a Jets defender along the sideline, while what appeared to be Anfernee Jennings had one as well.
“Without my teammates on that play, it would have been a hard play to make,” Jones later said.
Looking at the play-calling, there were some dubious decision by unofficial offensive play-caller Matt Patricia. The Patriots went back to shotgun immediately after having success with under center play-action, and there were some questionable designs in key situations (fourth-down handoff to Stevenson).