Patriots at Jets thumbs up, thumbs down: Tom Brady, defense cruise to dominant victory

Andy Hart
October 21, 2019 - 11:30 pm
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Bill Belichick emphasized last week that Sam Darnold made a big difference in his return to the Jets offense after missing three games due to mono.

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Monday night in New York, it didn’t make a difference to the Patriots' defense who was under center for the opposing offense as the unit continued to dominate.

Two of the Jets first three possessions ended in Darnold turnovers -- an interception thrown to Devin McCourty and a strip sack by John Simon recovered by Kyle Van Noy giving Tom Brady and Co. a pair of short fields to help the visitors jump out to the 24-0 lead early in the second quarter on the way to the 33-0 victory.

As has been the case throughout much of the Patriots perfect 7-0 start to the season, it was again a complementary effort as Brady led the Patriots to a score on each of his first four possessions, including a game-opening 16-play, 78-yard march to one of Sony Michel’s two first-half touchdowns.

Things were so ugly in the end that a loud “Brady! Brady!” chant spread throughout MetLife Stadium as Patriots fans took over in the fourth quarter.

Before turning the page to next Sunday’s battle with the Browns at Gillette Stadium, here are some of the personnel highs and lows from New England’s dominant division win over the Jets.

Thumbs up

Tom Brady – Coming off the long week of rest but still with questions on the offensive line and in his targets (Josh Gordon was inactive against the Jets), TB12 looked very calm and comfortable against New York’s pressure schemes. Brady completed 18 of 25 attempts for 173 yards in the first half to pull out to the big early lead. Brady did throw his fourth interception of the season in the third quarter when his arm was hit as he threw. But overall Brady spread the ball around to eight different targets, completing 31 of 45 throws for 249 yards on a night when he was not sacked, thanks in part to his ability to get rid of the football and avoid pressure.

Pass defense – Over the first 30 minutes at MetLife New England’s pass rush and coverage gave Darnold so many problems that he admitted on the sidelines that he was “seeing ghosts.” McCourty and Duron Harmon had interceptions. The Jets had just one third down conversion in the first half when the team was able to pick up a mere 65 yards, only 21 through the air, while being shut out. Stephon Gilmore added an interception on New York’s opening drive of the second half. Terrance Brooks notched one in the end zone not long after. Overall the pass defense –with some help from the overmatched, spooked Darnold – had four interceptions, the strip sack and the fumble recovery. That’s pure domination from a unit that shows no signs of letting up, notching its second shutout in little more than a month.

Jakobi Meyers – A week after catching all four passes thrown his way for 54 yards in the win over the Giants, the undrafted rookie put forth another efficient performance against another New York defense. Meyers caught each of the first five balls thrown his way on the way to another impressive overall night that included five catches for 47 yards. He also drew a 15-yard pass interference call on Trumaine Johnson, derailing what could have been a big play. Depth issues and injuries have given Meyers his chance in recent weeks and he’s taking advantage, seemingly building a budding rapport with Brady.

James White/Julian Edelman – Brady’s healthy go-to guys got theirs against the Jets. Brady is certainly working in newer options and spreading the ball around, but he also continues to lean on his most trusted targets. After throwing 24 passes to the combination of Edelman and White against the Giants last time out, Brady targeted the duo a combined 20 times in New York. White finished with seven catches on eight targets for 59 yards, while Edelman added seven receptions for 47 yards.

Thumbs down

J.C. Jackson/Defensive penalties – New York’s only drive of the half came in large part thanks to New England penalties, three of which totaled 39 yards. J.C. Jackson was flagged for holding and then a pass interference in coverage of Demaryius Thomas on the second-quarter series. Then Danny Shelton picked up a 15-yard call for roughing the passer when he launched himself into Darnold. Jackson picked up another PI call in coverage of Thomas in the third quarter. The Patriots finished with seven penalties overall, but the Jackson-led flags on defense were the most glaring.

Run defense – The Jets had just 65 total yards in the first half, but 44 of those came on the ground. Le’Veon Bell had seven carries for 42 yards in the first two quarters, including a 19-yard long. Bell was pretty much the lone positive aspect of the Jets offense, finishing with 70 yards on his 15 attempts (4.7 avg.). New England’s run defense wasn’t terrible, but for a unit that’s been borderline perfect in everything it does it’s an area that has room for relative improvement.

Sony Michel – The good news is that Michel punched the ball in three times on the goal line for touchdowns of 3, 1 and 1 yards. The bad news is that even with a commanding lead, Michel never found any other consistency on the ground. He finished the night 19 carries for just 42 yards (2.2 avg.), the fifth time in seven games this season that the second-year running back has been held below 4 yards a carry, third time below 3 yards per attempt. Michel also limped off to injury late in the fourth quarter.

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