Patriots vs. Jets thumbs up, thumbs down: Jamie Collins, defense continue domination

Andy Hart
September 22, 2019 - 4:02 pm
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Getting back to work and focused on the division-rival Jets just two days after sending the soap opera that was Antonio Brown packing, Bill Belichick’s heavily-favored Patriots took care of business Sunday afternoon at a sunny Gillette Stadium.

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New England put forth a pair of impressive scoring drives to go up 13-0 in the first quarter and then cruised with relative ease from there.

More importantly, New England’s defense that’s been essentially impenetrable since Super Bowl LIII continued to prove it is in fact the better Patriots unit to open 2019. The Jets had just three first downs, 66 total yards and no points in the first half, trailing 20-0 at the break.

As the offense lost players to injury at various points – Julian Edelman (chest) and Josh Gordon (hand) – the offensive production sputtered a bit, but it was still good enough for a 30-14 victory to improve to 3-0 on the season.

Before turning the page to next Sunday’s trip to Buffalo to take on the Bills, here are some of the Patriots personnel highs and lows from the essentially non-competitive win over the Jets.

Thumbs up

Jamie Collins – At this point it’s widely accepted that Stephon Gilmore is the Patriots best defensive player and the best cornerback in the game. But through three weeks of action linebacker Jamie Collins has been almost equally as impressive. Collins had an 8-yard sack of Luke Falk on New York’s second drive of the first quarter. He added another tackle for a loss in the second quarter, yet another on Le’Veon Bell in the fourth and a sack on the Jets final fruitless possession. A week after notching a pair of interceptions in Miami, Collins put his versatility on display again against the Jets with six tackles, two sacks, three tackles for a loss in another dominant defensive effort.

Tom Brady – With short-lived toy Brown out of sight if not yet quite out of mind, Brady got off to a scorching start against the Jets overmatched defense. He completed a combined nine of 10 throws on two opening scoring drives, the only incompletion a throwaway under pressure. Brady found wide open receivers all over the field early and took advantage. TB12 proved again it almost doesn’t matter who he’s throwing to or who’s playing left tackle (it was journeyman addition Marshall Newhouse), he’s going to keep the offense rolling to victory. With no help from the ground game, no tight end to speak of and receivers in and out of the lineup, Brady finished completing 28 of 42 passes for exactly 306 yards with a pair of touchdowns for a 103.9 rating, giving way to backup Jarrett Stidham midway through the fourth quarters but returning after the rookie threw a pick-6.

Front-seven – New England’s defense continues to prove its immense talent, with the versatile front seven getting the job done against the overmatched Jets. Sacks, tackles for a loss and no room to work were the story of the game early on for New York. The Jets ran 11 total plays in the first quarter, six went for 1 yard or less, including three for a loss. While the chances for a second-straight shutout and a three-game streak of not allowing a touchdown were ruined by the special teams unit, the Patriots defense continues to beat up on inferior competition. New York barely topped 100 yards in the game, didn’t score on offense and went 0-for-12 on third down against a New England defense that’s building some pretty damn impressive early season momentum.

Phillip Dorsett – All Dorsett does is catch the ball and score touchdowns. Though his streak of consecutive passes caught was snapped at 26 – Bill Belichick actually challenged the incompletion with good reason – the complementary target caught six of seven balls thrown his way for 53 yards and a touchdown. He had a nice 25-yard catch-and-run early. In the wake of the Brown debacle, Dorsett should see increased chances. In the Patriots two AB-less games this season Dorsett has three touchdowns. A couple years into his New England career and very much trusted by Brady, he might just be ready to break out.

Thumbs down

Stephen Gostkowski – New England’s veteran kicker continued a horrible start to 2019 by missing his first PAT of the game against New York. A week after missing two PATs and a field goal in Miami, Gostkowski pushed the ball wide right against the Jets. Gostkowski then got a huge mock cheer from the Gillette crowd when he actually made his second PAT. Gostkowski, who is working with a new holder in rookie punter Jake Bailey, missed kicks in three of four preseason games and now has misses in two of three regular season contests, including three PATs.

Sony Michel/run game – As much as the Patriots did pretty much anything they wanted to through the air against the Jets, Michel and the running game couldn’t get going early. Though Michel did have a 5-yard touchdown to open the scoring, otherwise New England’s running game had five carries for just 10 yards in the first quarter. The changes on the line, the absence of Pro Bowl fullback James Develin, whatever the reason, New England had just 18 yards on nine rushing attempts halftime, “led” by Michel’s four attempts for 2 yards. He finished with nine rushes for 11 yards. After his impressive rookie season, Michel now has 45 carries for just 110 yards (2.4 avg.) with one lost fumble in three games. He’s not anywhere near picking up where he left off as arguably the postseason MVP on the run to a Super Bowl ring last winter.

Julian Edelman’s health – Though Edelman had an ugly drop early on, he finished with seven catches for 62 yards and a touchdown. But late in the second quarter he went to the locker room early with a chest injury and did not return. He was officially ruled out in the fourth quarter, which is never a good sign. With all that’s gone on and is going on with Brady’s targets, he certainly cannot afford to lose his favorite target for any extended period of time. Edelman’s health and availability is one of the biggest issues surrounding the Patriots moving forward.

Related: Antonio Brown takes shot at Robert Kraft in Twitter tirade