New England Patriots Game Review 7: At New York

Jets

Hey fans I apologize for my absence, college keeps you very busy. I’m going to try to have all of these done now by Wednesday from here on out, so be on the lookout. Anyway, in a game involving strange penalties, lots of sacks, inappropriate touchdown celebrations and much more, the Patriots lost to the Jets 30-27 in OT.

The Jets won the game on a 42 yard field goal after a personal foul penalty was called on a missed 57 harder which was called because one of the Patriots lineman was behind the other pushing him forward and that is a new penalty this year. It was the first time it had been called all season and since then, there has been a lot of drama surrounding it, but we aren’t going to get into that so without further ado.

 

Quarterbacks

In possibly was the worst offensive performance of his career, Tom Brady was very off his game. Brady was 22/46 for 226 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. He once again had a lot of problems with the deep ball as his longest completion was only 30 yards to Rob Gronkowski.

Speaking of the now healthy Gronkowski, Brady seemed to have tunnel vision and was looking for Gronkowski on the majority of his throws as he threw at him a total of 17 times which was 10 more than the next highest receiver. Gronk was also the receiver he was throwing to when he was intercepted by Antonio Allen, who took it back for a touchdown.

This clearly created frustration for Brady and affected him the rest of the game. Although it was a bad game for him, the triumphant return of his offensive weapons will only help him turn his so far tumultuous season around.

Overall QB Grade: C-

 

Running Backs

None of the Patriots running backs were particularly effective since the Jets have one of the best run defenses in the NFL. Either war, their most effective runner was once again Stevan Ridley who, in the past two-week, has turned his season around and is seemingly the bell cow back for this team again.

He was running hard breaking tackles and even had a touchdown on the day. Look for his production to continue to increase as the offense as a whole improves and opens up the run.

Overall RB Grade: B-

 

Wide Receivers/ Tight Ends

The biggest news coming into this game was whether or not Rob Gronkowski was going to finally play in a game and he actually did and he looked great considering his situation. His receiving skills were up to par as he ended the day with 8 catches for 114 yards off 17 targets.

In the game, he did he a few drops including one of the middle that he attempted to catch with one hand where if he used both, it would have been a touchdown. One point that was interesting was how we didn’t see him in the run game too often.

He is easily one of the best blocking TE’s in the NFL, but in his first game back, he was only on the field for a total of 9 snaps on 20 rushing plays. This number should increase as he gets more comfortable with his arm and back and gets back into game form.

Overall WR/TE Grade: B

 

Offensive Line

This was possibly the worst game of the year for the offensive line who allowed Brady to get hit a total of 7 times including 4 sacks. What must be taken into consideration is the elite stature of the Jets defensive line, but the OL has given up 13 sacks in the past 3 games.

This was also the first game of the year where we have seen Nate Solder struggle. He has been fantastic this year, grading out as Pro Football Focus’ #1 LT. This game might bring him down from that, but he has proven t be an elite LT in this league and with him being so young, he should only get better.

The worst of the group was RG Dan Connolly, who was being abused all day long by Jets rookie DT Sheldon Richardson and DT Muhammed Wilkerson. These two players took over the game in the second half and was disrupting the offense on almost every play.

Overall OL Grade: C

 

Defensive Line

This was the Patriots best unit of the game. The DL cranked out 4 sacks, 2 for Chandler Jones and 2 for UDFA rookie Chris Jones, who leads the 2013 rookie class in sacks. This line was very good for most of the game without both Tommie Kelly and obviously Vince Wilfork, but the two guys in charge of replacing them in Chris Jones and Joe Vellano, both rookie UDFA, have played stellar in their absence.

Although he would be better as rotational 3rd down pass rusher, Chris Jones has been a force on the inside constantly getting in Geno Smith’s face including sacking him twice. Right next to him has been the run stopper Joe Vellano.

He currently leads all NFL DTs in run stuffs and had another 7 recorded tackles in this game. If those guys can keep improving and Tommie Kelly returns fully healthy, the loss of Vince Wilfork will be a lot easier to bare.

Overall DL Grade: A-

 

Linebackers

This is the unit that deserves the most  sympathy. In their first game without the leader Jerod Mayo, the core struggled. Dont’a Hightower took his spot in the middle and didn’t look good at all. He looked lost at times against the run and was even worse in coverage.

Jets TE Jeff Cumberland might have ended up with two touchdowns if he had more consistent hands, but either way he did not play well. Brandon Spikes played really well though and did what he usually does against the run. Although Chris Ivory had over 100 yards rushing(104 to be exact), it is a deceptive stat as he only average 3 yards per carry off 33 attempts.

The other two players used to replace Mayo were rookie Jamie Collins and Dane Fletcher. Fletcher is the exact opposite of Brandon Spikes where he is very good in coverage, but a big liability against the run. Jamie Collins on the other hand played pretty well, he didn’t get beat too hard in coverage and even made a few nice tackles in the run game.

He clearly has a lot of potential, but look for the Patriots to start to tap into the unreal potential he has a rotational OLB against the pass as he has both he speed and power to get after the QB.

Overall LB Grade: C+

 

Defensive Backs

In a game without, who has arguably been the best CB in the league this year, Aqib Talib, the secondary had an above average overall performance in this game. The only one who really struggled was Kyle Arrington who was given the job of covering Jeremy Kerley.

He was very unsuccessful in doing this and was eventually taken out of the game and replaced by Marquise Cole, who didn’t do a whole lot better. Arrington when used in the slot has been sensational the past two seasons, but as we saw again on Sunday is an extreme liability when forced to play on the outside.

On a more positive note, the stars of this core was Devin McCourty, who possibly played his best game as a Patriot, Alfonso Dennard, who held Stephen Hill to only 1 catch on 5 targets, and rookie Logan Ryan, who had a pick six in this game on what was his first career interception.

All three of those guys played extremely well and were a force in this game. McCourty, who has been graded out as the #1 safety in the NFL by Pro Football Focus, had two key pass deflections one of which would have been a touchdown. He stripped the ball out of TE Jeff Cumberland’s hands and saved a touchdown.

With Talib hopefully coming back this week, look for the depth chart to return to normal, but also watch out for Logan Ryan starting to take snaps away from Kyle Arrington as he has played well enough to earn them.

Overall DB Grade: B+

 

Special Teams

This unit once again was very solid in this game. In a game where Josh Cribbs was the kick and punt returner, they didn’t allow him to really get going and his longest return was only 21 yards. The two specialists Stephen Gostkowski and Ryan Allen both did their jobs on Sunday.

Gostkowski hit two field goals in this game including a clutch one to send the game into OT. He has been fantastic this year and has definitely regained his confidence that he lost in the middle of last season. Also, rookie punter Ryan Allen gave another great performance for what has been an all around positive rookie season.

In this game he had a total of 8 punts for a total of 404 yards including one that went 62 yards. It has been a unit that has been consistently uneventful all year and with the return of ST captain and faster gunner on punts ST captain Matthew Slater, it should stay that way the rest of the year.

Overall ST Grade: A-

 

Well that’s all from me. I’ll be back next week for their game review after they play the Dolphins at home. Follow me on twitter @Hrube5297 and also listen to my radio show Thursday Night Lights, You can find it on Facebook under that name and then on twitter with @TNLonETIN.