Ryan L. Fox
Going into the bye week, the Patriots were limping heavily. They had just gotten crushed against the Tennessee Titans, their offense was in shambles, and there were talks about their All-Pro Tight End a shell of his former self and ready to retire.
Coming out of the bye week, they team looked refreshed, healed up, and ready to go into the Meadowlands to take on their AFC East divisional rivals, the New York Jets. But unlike going into the bye, coming out of the bye was a whole new thing.
The Patriots won the opening toss and elected to defer to the second half. The Jets started the game with the ball on their own 25. Jets QB Josh McCown got the offense going, getting them to the New York 45. However the Patriots defense held up, forcing the Jets to punt the ball as the Patriots got the ball for to open their first possession of the game at their own 13.
QB Tom Brady, eager to wash away the stench of his performance from two weeks ago, led the offense down the field. This also included a big 37 yard catch and run from WR Julian Edelman on 1st and 10 at the New England 23 to the New York 40. But that as far as the Patriots got as the Jets defense forced them to punt.
Getting the ball back at their own 20, McCown gashed the Patriots defense. First with a 19 yard pass to TE Christopher Herndon on 1st and 10 to the New York 39 and then a 19 yard pass to RB Isaiah Crowell to the New England 44. The Patriots almost stopped the drive but a roughing the passer penalty on DE Deatrich Wise Jr. on 3rd and 7 kept the ball in the Jets’ possession. McCown made them pay 3 plays later as on 3rd and 3 from the New England 16, McCown found WR Jermaine Kearse over the middle for a 16 yard touchdown pass. Jets K Jason Meyers booted the PAT through to give the Jets the early 7-0 lead.
Not looking to fall behind, the Brady opened up the Patriot’s second drive of the game with two big passes back to back. First was a 23 yard pass to WR Josh Gordon to the New England 48 and then a 20 yard pass to WR Chris Hogan to the New York 32. The Patriots got to the New York 24 but on 3rd and 2, Edelman was flagged for an offensive pass interference and back the ball to the New York 34. But on 3rd and 12, Brady found TE Rob Gronkowski deep over the middle for a 34 yard touchdown. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski booted the PAT as the game was tied up 7-7.
Afterwards, both teams exchanged punts with one another from the end of the 1st quarter and well into the 2nd quarter. The actual real scoring came with less than 7 and a half minutes left in the 2nd quarter when the Patriots got the ball.
Then began the drive at their own 30 as Brady guided the offense down the field with his passing while rookie RB Sony Michel gouged the Jets defense with his running attack. The Patriots got as far as the New York 16 but Brady’s 2nd and 3rd down pass attempts to Gronkowski went incomplete. Gostkowski came on to boot a 34 yard field goal to give his team the first lead of the game, 10-7.
The Jets tried to quickly respond back as McCown found WR Quincy Enunwa for a 41 yard pass to the New England 41. However on the next play, McCown tried to find WR Robbie Anderson deep into New England territory. However Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore intercepted the pass at the New England 2, killing the drive. However the Jets defense forced the Patriots to punt as they got the ball back at their own 43 with under a minute left.
McCown quickly got the Jets down the field, getting down to the New England 37. With 8 seconds left in the half, Meyers booted a 55 yard field goal to tie the game 10-10 going into halftime.
After halftime, the Patriots got the ball to open the second half at their own 35. Surprisingly enough, the Patriots relied on the likes of Michel and gadget run plays by WR Cordarelle Patterson to lead the offense. The drive got all the way down to the New York 9. But from there, two straight incomplete passes from Brady to RB James White and another incomplete pass to Gronkowski made it 4th and goal at the 9. A false start penalty on 4th and goal back the ball up to the Jets 14 where the Patriots ended up settling for a 32 yard field goal by Gostkowski to make it 13-10 with a little over 8 and a half minutes left in the 3rd quarter.
After the Jets tied the game 13-13 with a 38 yard field goal from Meyers, the Patriots got the ball back on their own 25. However Brady opened the drive up with a 27 yard pass to Chris Hogan to the New York 27. Then White followed that up with a 27 yard run down to the New York 21. Two plays later, Brady found Edelman for a 21 yard catch and run touchdown pass. Gostkowski’s PAT afterwards then made it 20-13 with a little under 2 minutes left in the quarter.
Following another Jets punt, the Patriots got the ball on their own 20 for their first possession in the final quarter. Like their last drive, the Patriots opened up with a big play with a 33 yard run by Michel to the New York 47. A 17 yard pass to Gordon on 3rd and 10 to the New York 30 helped keep the drive alive as the Patriots got all the way down to the New York 1. Two plays later, Michel bowled his way over the goal line for the touchdown. Gostkowski’s PAT afterwards then made it 27-13 with under 9 minutes left in the game.
The two teams then exchanged punts with one another as the Jets got the ball back on their own 39 with a little over 5 minutes left in the game. They were able to drive all the way down to the New England 4 as the two minute warning stopped game play. After the two minute warning, an incompletion on 3rd and goal brought up 4th and goal. However McCown’s pass to Kearse in the end zone fell incomplete, giving the Patriots the ball back on their own 1.
All Brady and company did was run the ball to run the clock out as the Patriots opened up things after the bye week with a big 27-13 victory over a divisional opponent.
Notable Patriot Statistical Standouts
QB Tom Brady: 20-for-31 for 283 yards and 2 TDs for a QB Rating of 115.4, 1 carries for -1 yards (kneel down)
RB Sony Michel: 21 carries for 133 yards and 1 TD, 2 catches (on 2 targets) for 12 yards
RB James White: 9 carries for 73 yards, 1 catch (on 5 targets) for 5 yards
WR Julian Edelman: 4 catches (on 5 targets) for 84 yards and 1 TD
WR Josh Gordon: 5 catches (on 5 targets) for 70 yards
TE Rob Gronkowski: 3 catches (on 7 targets) for 56 yards
S Patrick Chung: 13 tackles (9 solo, 4 assist)
DE Trey Flowers: 1 tackle (1 solo, 0 assist), 1.0 sacks
CB Stephon Gilmore: 1 tackles (0 solo, 1 assist), 1 Interception
Numbers! Numbers! Numbers!
19 – The number of consecutive games the Jets have not scored on their first possession of the game
.789 – The winning percentage of the Patriots under Coach Bill Belichick in games coming out of the bye week (15-4)
133 - The amount of rushing yards rookie RB Sony Michel had for the game, a new career high and the 3rd this season Michel broke the 100-yard rushing mark
4 – The amount of rushing first downs allowed by the Patriots defense for the game
23 – The number of wins the Patriots have had after double digit losses since 2001 (23-5 in that span)
78 – The total amount of receiving touchdowns TE Rob Gronkowski has had in his career, the most in the NFL since 2010
2 – The total amount of receiving touchdowns Gronkowski has had in the 2018 campaign
79,279 – The total amount of passing yards (including playoffs) QB Tom Brady has in his career, vaulting him past former NFL QB Peyton Manning for most all-time
Much Needed Win
You wouldn’t think that a 27-13 victory over the lowly Jets is considered a must win but for the Patriots, it was.
During the bye week, you kept hearing about how anemic the offense was against the Tennessee Titans back in Week 10. How the running game couldn’t be established, how there was a disconnection between Brady and his receivers, how TE Rob Gronkowski was just a shell of his former self, and how the defense looked stale and lackadaisical.
Against the Jets, fans started to see the Patriots fall back into that pattern as they seemingly couldn’t get out of their own way. The offense stalled on a few drives while the defense allowed the Jets to just move up and down the field.
But there was some life towards the end of the 1st half as CB Stephon Gilmore intercepted Josh McCown’s pass to prevent a potential Jets touchdown. That actually turned out to be a spark for the team in second half.
The offense was able to score 17 points in the second half, mostly thanks in part to the running game with RB Sony Michel and James White churning up yards on the ground. On defense, the Patriots held the Jets to just 3 points for the entire second half while sacking McCown twice, and getting a big red zone stop late in the game to prevent a Jets touchdown.
Hopefully for Patriots fans, this big win will help the team generate some momentum for their second half of the season and get into the playoffs.
Fox Fist Bump
This week’s Fox Fist Bump goes to rookie RB Sony Michel. Coming out of the bye week, Michel was fully healthy and ready to hit the ground running. He did that to the tune of 133 total rushing yards, a new career high, to go along with 2 rushing touchdowns including one late in the 4th quarter to put the game away.
I also gotta give RB James White some love as well. Not for his receiving abilities but for his performance on the ground as well (9 carries for 73 yards) including a 24 yard run on the Patriots’ final possession of the game to help get the crucial first down to run out the clock.
The Meatball of the Week
There were no meatballs this time around. Well…other than Cordarelle Patterson for that stupid leap into the end zone during the play right before Sony Michel’s 1 yard TD plunge. Seriously, lower the damn shoulder next time.
Play of the Game
Gronk Catch, Gronk Score
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