NEPD Staff Writer: Doug Kyed
As our own Mike Loyko said on twitter, I can actually watch football talk shows for the first time in three weeks.
This game against the Jets is what last week’s game should have been: a great defensive performance, key turnovers, no turnovers on offense and the defense coming up big when it matters most.
Here’s some more things I noticed during the game:
-I said in my preview that Brady needed to have the third best game of the season tonight to win this game. Despite his shaky first half, he accomplished that. It seemed like a lot of his throws in the first half were off (possibly an elbow injury), but he cleared up in the second half and made some great throws to Gronkowski.
-It’s always fun to see offensive players on defense. Julian Edelman was doing his best Troy Brown/Buddy Farnham impression in the final drive. And he looked pretty good!
-Andre Carter and Mark Anderson were incredible. Andre Carter set a franchise record with 4.5 sacks and Anderson seemed to be getting just as many pressures. Carter finished the game with six tackles and eight QB hits. Mark Sanchez is never going to play that well with
that kind of pressure.
-When Devin McCourty went down, I thought the Patriots were done for, but the fill ins actually played pretty well. Antwaun Molden isn’t a starting caliber safety, but he got the job done.
-Sterling Moore might have made the boneheaded move of the day knocking McCourty out of the game, but once again, he played pretty well for essentially a 6th string practice squad player playing safety for the first time in his life.
-Any time Ross Ventrone gets in on defense, it’s a good day. The day he intercepts a pass might be the greatest football moment of my life.
-Rob Gronkowski keeps proving why he’s the best tight end in the league. No one has the combination of size, speed, blocking hands and taste in women that he has.
-Rob Ninkovich played the game of his career. All year we’ve been waiting for the Patriots linebackers to step up in coverage. We saw it. If Ninkovich drops back into coverage more, we might see Mark Anderson rushing at the line more. Those are both improvements.
-Tarpinian/Tracey White didn’t play great, but they also weren’t liabilities like Gary Guyton usually is. Bravo to Bill Belichick for finally realizing how bad Guyton is. Next up is Shaun Ellis. The Patriots need to only start playing him in obvious running downs.
-Deion Branch came away with another nice game! I still don’t think he has the athleticism to be the game breaking WR that we need him to be, but he beat man coverage very nicely on his TD.
-The Patriots inability to get anything going on the ground is kind of scary, but the defense was so good, it wasn’t necessary to win.
-Early in the game we saw Hernandez and Welker line up in the backfield. I’d like to see more of that from Hernandez. He’s a good route runner out of the backfield and defenses seem to lose him.
-Special teams coverage continues to struggle, but Gostkowski bailed them out with a good game.
-Once again, how freaking good were Andre Carter and Mark Anderson? After this game, we can stop talking about the pass rush, right?
I’ll have more tomorrow in my keys to victory post.