Brad Penner/USA Today Sports

Patriots 27, Jets 13: 10 quick thoughts from up-and-down win on road

Ryan Hannable
November 25, 2018 - 4:00 pm

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — It took a half for the Patriots to get going, but once they did they looked like the team many expected to see following a blowout loss against the Titans and a bye last week.

With the game tied at 10 at the half, the Patriots outscored the Jets 17-3 in the second half to come away with a 27-13 win Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium.

Tom Brady finished the game 20-for-31 passing with 283 yards and two touchdowns, while the running game was also impressive totaling 215 yards.

Here are 10 quick thoughts from the game.

1. While the game was closer than many expected for a long while, maybe it should have been expected. For whatever reason the Jets always seem to give the Patriots a game at MetLife, as the last six meetings have been one-score games. The Patriots certainly didn’t play a complete game on any unit, as the offense struggled to move the ball at times and the defense allowed Josh McCown to make more plays than it would have liked.

2. Brady played well and didn't look to be limited by a knee injury, although there were signs he was dealing with one. The 41-year-old spread the ball around more than he has in recent weeks and it paid off against a poor Jets secondary. Brady completed passes to eight different receivers. Julian Edelman led the way with four catches for 84 yards and a touchdown, while Josh Gordon added five catches for 70 yards.

3. Rob Gronkowski returned to the field for the first time in 27 days and didn’t appear limited in any way. The All-Pro tight end played the vast majority of the snaps and ran all the routes we’re used to seeing. Gronkowski finished the day with three catches on seven targets for 57 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown was the first score of the game for New England — a 34-yard touchdown catch where he went over several Jets defenders. This certainly was a game for him to build on and was more of what we saw in Week 1, rather than of late when he was taken out of games by single coverage.

4. Sony Michel looked like his pre-injury self, as the rookie ran for a career-high 133 yards and a touchdown. The yards were also the most by a Patriot since Jonas Gray in 2014. He also recorded his first multiple catch game of his NFL career, a sign he’s being trusted more in the passing game. He also could have had more yards because he had a couple of long runs negated by penalties. A solid rushing game is a major key to success for the Patriots since they have won 14 straight regular-season games when rushing for more than 100 yards as a team.

5. Penalties played a major part in the game, as New England was flagged a season-high 11 times for 105 yards. New York also committed eight penalties for 47 yards. This is very uncharacteristic for Patriots teams, an issue they had earlier in the year, but seemed to clean up of late. This cannot happen moving forward, especially against good teams.

6. It’s becoming more and more apparent each week the Patriots defense struggles with covering running backs and tight ends. Offenses have done a good job of scheming these plays up to get the matchups they want. This is something to watch, especially against high-powered offenses. Overall, the Patriots defense in the middle is very slow.

7. Obi Melifonwu was active for the first time as a member of the Patriots and had a pretty good sized role in the game plan. He saw some action on defense in third-down packages, as the defensed used four safeties on some of them, and then a lot on special teams. His role will obviously only get bigger with more experience in the system under his belt. 

8. Patrick Chung was very active on defense, finishing with a team-high 13 tackles. It seemed in the first half the defense let the Jets offense dictate how things would go, but in the second half they brought more pressure and it impacted McCown and the offense. Something to watch the final five weeks is the defense's ability to put pressure on the opposition. Stephon Gilmore also added an interception.

9. Michel suffered what looked like a significant back injury in the second half after being stopped on a third-and-1 play, but after missing just one series he returned to the game. The rookie never went into the medical tent, just received treatment to his lower back. Edelman also took a big hit and landed hard on his right shoulder in the first half, although he didn't miss a snap.

10. The game marked the first time since Week 6 against the Chiefs where the Patriots had their full assortment of weapons on offense with Edelman, Gordon, Gronkowski and Michel all on the field at the same time. This will be added to next week with the return of Rex Burkhead. Bottom line, the Patriots offense should be getting better with time.

Brady became the NFL's all-time leading passer (regular and postseason combined), passing Peyton Manning in the game.

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