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The Top 20 Patriots Moments of 2022: No. 9

Our offseason countdown continues with the No. 9 Most Memorable Patriots Moment of 2022.

NFL: New York Jets at New England Patriots Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Memorial Day Weekend, everyone! Let the unofficial start of summer commence.

It’s always important to never lose sight of what this holiday is all about — remembering all those who died in American wars and taking some time to honor, respect, and appreciate that unfathomable sacrifice. There are some that say we’ve lost sight of what Memorial Day is all about, but in my personal opinion I think that getting together with friends, sharing a few laughs, firing up the grill, and enjoying a long weekend is a great way to honor the men and women who gave their lives for the freedom and beauty that we can all take for granted at times. So whatever you’re doing and wherever you are this weekend, be sure to raise a glass for everyone who made it possible.

Hopefully today also marks the beginning of Summer Fridays, because nobody wants to work past 1PM for the next few months. So before everyone logs off for a few days of grilling, beering, and fun, let’s tick off another moment on our countdown of the Top 20 New England Patriots Moments of 2022. I can’t believe we’re already into the Top 9.

But first, the list so far:

20. The Patriots trade N’Keal Harry.
19. A game-sealing Mac Jones interception is coupled with a gruesome ankle injury against the Ravens.
18. Rookies step up big in relief duty against the Arizona Cardinals.
17. Hunter Henry catches/doesn’t catch a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings.
16. Nelson Agholor harnesses his inner Randy Moss with an insane 44 yard TD grab against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
15. Devin McCourty registers his 200th start against the Buffalo Bills.
14. A blocked punt leads to the first touchdown of the day as the Patriots blow out the Indianapolis Colts.
13. Tyquan Thornton emerges with a two touchdown day against the Cleveland Browns
12. A Marcus Jones pick-six puts the Patriots on the board against the Cincinnati Bengals.
11. Jack Jones picks off Aaron Rodgers and takes it 40 yards for the score to give the Patriots the lead against the Green Bay Packers.
10. Bill Belichick, Matthew Slater, and Devin McCourty all earn some impressive records against the New York Jets.

Considering how pivotal he was to the offense in 2023 - you might even say he was more or less the entire offense in 2023 - I’m amazed it took until Number 9 to give this man some love.

9, Rhamondre Stevenson breaks 5 tackles on third and 16 to pick up a first down against the New York Jets.

New England’s first meetup with the Jets on Oct. 30 at Met Life wasn’t much to write home about; the Patriots won 22-17 in a game that wasn’t remotely that close on the back of three Zach Wilson interceptions and 143 total yards from Rhamondre Stevenson. Both the leading receiver and leading rusher on the day, Stevenson did the bulk of the work and five Nick Folk field goals did the rest.

The second matchup, I’m sorry to say, wasn’t all that much better.

It was a game completely devoid of offense of any kind. Zach Wilson threw for less than 80 yards and was New York’s leading rusher on the ground with 26. No Jet caught more than two passes and New York’s longest drive of the day, their only scoring drive, was only nine plays. The Patriots, on the other hand, actually moved the ball well — they had 100 yards on the ground and 246 yards through the air — but every single drive, save one, ended in zero points. This game was a soccer score for almost all of it, a 3-3 mess of a matchup that ended on some last moment heroics, which we’ll be getting to later on in this countdown.

And other than that play-to-be-named-later, only one other moment really stood out from an offensive perspective.

With the game still knotted up at 3 about halfway through the second quarter, a promising Patriots drive suddenly found itself going backwards when, on 2nd-and-8, Mac Jones took an eight yard sack to set up 3rd-and-16 at the Jets 33 yard line. Still within field goal range, but not by much; Nick Folk was fairly accurate from less than 50 yards, but anything beyond that was pretty iffy. It was already crystal clear that points were going to be at an absolute premium in this game, and here was a New England offense not built to gain 16 yards facing a third down on the very cusp of field goal range. The hope was to maybe get five or six yards back and let Folk try and knock one through.

The Jets, knowing the down and distance, only rushed four and dropped everyone else back into coverage. Mac Jones, seeing that the deep passing lanes were all going to be clogged, almost immediately lobbed it off to Rhamondre Stevenson, who just ran a simple flat route as a safety valve/checkdown. He made the reception at the NYJ 31 with Quincy Williams closing in, ready to make an almost immediate stop. A 50-yard field goal attempt was about to become a 48-yard attempt.

However, a beautiful fake to the inside/juke outside left Williams tackling nothing but air as Stevenson broke towards the 25. Waiting for him there were C.J. Mosely, Michael Carter, Lamarcus Joyner, Sauce Gardner, and Jordan Whitehead, all ready to bring him down. A 40-yard field goal was much more manageable.

Except Stevenson broke all of those tackles, lowering his shoulder and plowing ahead to the Jets 14-yard line. First down. Time to go score a touchdown.

In true 2022 Patriots fashion, that ensuing set of downs went from 1st-and-10 to 4th-and-21 after a holding call and a 9-yard sack knocked the Patriots backwards, and Nick Folk doinked the kick off the crossbar to result in no points. But man was that a catch and run from Stevenson.

Honestly, there were a bunch of Mondre plays I could have put here. I probably could have just listed “Rhamondre Stevenson” at No. 9 and nobody would have thought less of me. In a year almost completely devoid of offensive firepower, Stevenson remained the one consistent bright spot.

But I picked this play because, in my opinion, it more or less encapsulates everything about Rhamondre Stevenson all at once: catching passes out of the backfield, making guys miss, running through and breaking tackles, picking up first downs, and finding ways to keep seemingly doomed drives alive. It was a nice added bonus that it came against the Jets, so it’s nice to have it here inside the Top 10.

Check out the run here.

Full game highlights here.