New England Patriots at New York Jets: Week Seven Observations

Running back Chris Ivory and the Jets rushed the ball 52 times on the day, controlling the game’s pace. (Photo: US Presswire)

NEPD Editor: Matthew Jones

The New York Jets evened the season series with the New England Patriots today, recording a 30-27 overtime victory against New England which cut the Patriots’ divisional lead to one game. Many of the problems which have plagued the Patriots all season – a sputtering offense, ineffective run defense – reared their heads once more this week, and a fourth-quarter comeback and initial overtime stop were negated by a fifteen-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Chris Jones that gave Jets kicker Nick Folk an easy game-winning field goal attempt.

1. Third-down woes continue, Jets dominate time-of-possession

Despite scoring 27 points in the game, certainly a respectable total, New England’s offense did not appear to benefit substantially from Rob Gronkowski’s presence, certainly gaining a dangerous offensive weapon but failing to translate that addition into a unit which could consistently move the chains in critical situations. Seven of the Patriots’ points came via Logan Ryan’s interception return for a touchdown, and another of their scoring drives was the result of a twenty-eight-yard drive following an impressive punt return from Julian Edelman.

Tom Brady was sacked on four occasions and hit on another three, creating difficult third-down situations which the Patriots proved inept at converting, going one-of-twelve on those occasions, with the first successful try coming midway through the fourth quarter. One effect of this inefficiency was a pitiful 23:40 time of possession, contrasting sharply with New York’s dominant 46:13 figure, a function of the Jets’ ability to control the clock with their running game.

2. Jets’ dedication to rushing the ball pays dividends

Although the Jets gained 75 yards rushing in the first half alone, their efforts in that regard were probably not what the team had hoped for going into the game, as the team required twenty-two snaps to reach that figure, which translates to an average of just 3.4 yards per carry, twelve of those yards coming on a bootleg by quarterback Geno Smith. What was anticipated to be a combination of Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell was in effect more of a one-back approach featuring Ivory, who carried the ball thirteen times in the half to Powell’s three. Neither were particularly effective, collectively averaging slightly under three yards per carry and failing to catch any of the three passes thrown their way.

The team’s weakness in run defense was ultimately their inability to contain Smith, who added to his initial twelve-yard run by scrambling for a first-down and then a touchdown on the same drive late in the third quarter, giving Smith a total of 34 yards to that point and rewarding the Jets with a 24-21 lead with just under twenty minutes remaining. New York’s dedication to establishing the run led to 40 carries in regulation, totaling 148 yards, but representing an average of just 3.7 yards per attempt. All told, the Jets finished with 52 attempts for 177 yards and Smith’s touchdown.

3. Gronkowski appears healthy in return to the field

Rob Gronkowski returned to action this week, catching the first attempt thrown his way and barreling into three defenders, leading with his surgically-repaired forearm, in what was undoubtedly a tense moment for Patriots fans everywhere. However, Gronkowski appeared to suffer no ill effects of the hit, taking a brief break on the sidelines before returning to the game and catching another pass down the seam to set up a first-and-goal situation which was promptly converted by running back Brandon Bolden, who started the game in place of Stevan Ridley, behind an effective edge block by Gronkowski.

Later, the tight end created another first down by beating Antonio Allen off the line and drawing a defensive holding penalty, with Stevan Ridley cutting back to a completely-unguarded right side for New England’s second touchdown run of the game. Gronkowski caught a pair of important passes on New England’s final drive, helping to tie the game at twenty-seven, but also attempted a one-handed catch which failed and brought in only eight of seventeen, certainly not the high percentage expected of a top tight end.

4. Pick-six aside, Geno Smith protects the football

Without injured left cornerback Aqib Talib, the early results from New England’s reconfigured secondary were mixed, with Geno Smith beginning his first drive by completing a 25-yard pass down the right sideline to tight end Jeff Cumberland and targeting Jeremy Kerley for three completions, the final one a touchdown against slot cornerback Kyle Arrington and the original two completions coming against Arrington and Alfonzo Dennard, respectively.

However, New England’s defense played better the second time around, beginning by blowing a zone coverage which led to a 25-yard run-and-catch by David Nelson and a 16-yard completion to Nelson with rookie Logan Ryan in coverage but eventually recovering via a 79-yard interception touchdown by Ryan, who had effectively jammed Nelson at the line of scrimmage. The first half could not be considered a success, however, as Smith passed for 159 yards on eighteen attempts, an average of 8.3 yards per throw. Smith’s average later dropped to 7.1 by the end of the game, but, his pick-six aside, he was able to limit the type of costly turnovers which helped New England escape from the first meeting with a win.

5. Chandler, Chris Jones combine for four sacks

One of the bright spots of New England’s defensive effort this afternoon was their ability to create pressure against quarterback Geno Smith, with the team’s first sack coming by way of Chandler Jones late in the first quarter, setting up a third-and-twenty-one situation which the Jets nonetheless converted. Smith’s interception, discussed before, was also thrown in the face of pressure from left end Rob Ninkovich. In the second quarter, defensive tackle Chris Jones sacked Smith for a six-yard loss, causing a six-yard loss and effectively ending New York’s drive before it began.

The two aforementioned Joneses were at it again in the second half, recording back-to-back sacks in the third quarter, with Chandler beating D’Brickashaw Ferguson to collect a strip sack and Chris rolling into Geno on the following play, which prevented the Jets from getting into field goal range. Unfortunately, the rejuvenated pass rush was not enough to win the game, but represents an encouraging sign moving forwards, as the Jets have some of the most highly-regarded linemen in the league in players such as Ferguson and center Nick Mangold.

Tags: New England Patriots, NFL

26 Responses to “New England Patriots at New York Jets: Week Seven Observations”

  1. gatorade says:

    acm and earl still nasty bad mouth jerks. grow up. Adios sad sacks II. ps, acm try gargling your foul mouth occasionally.

  2. For crying out loud why can’t a DB turn his head and look for the ball? Don’t they teach that in Pop Warner anymore? After it became obvious Hightower couldn’t cover his man why was no adjustment made? Is it just me or arn’t some of these things basic and fixable? Look I know you can’t coach ability but technique, yes.
    Now— pushing into the pile? Who are they kidding, there’s rules about aiding the runner by pushing the pile. Ever seen that called? Every snap in ever game has pushing and shoving all over the field so how is it that in OT in NY it gets called? Something stinks here.

    • Bobthebuilder says:

      The other thing to be noted is that often when the refs obviously screw up and it has a big affect (GB Seattle last year), the NFL admits that the refs were wrong. They did not this time, and instead tried to hide it. Definitely shady.

  3. PushRuleGate says:

    Had the Patriots lost tot the Jets outright (and arguably they should have), there would be little controversy. But the outcome was decided by a PENALTY. That’s never called, even though it’s routinely committed by every NFL Team. That was even committed by the Jets on Steven Gostkowski’s game tying FG. That the NFL even went in to edit the official Rule Definition of right after the game to make it look like they got the call right.

    Like it or not, the Patriots were SCREWED on Sunday and the outcome of the game is TAINTED. As far as Patriots fans are concerned, they are now 5-1-1*: 5 Regulation Wins, 1 Regulation Loss, and 1 OT Loss with a huge ASTERISK.

  4. Bobthebuilder says:

    Go to this site http://boston.barstoolsports.com/m/random-thoughts/nfl-changed-the-push-rule-after-they-called-it/. It shows that the pushing the player into a pile call was a terrible call, since Chris Jones was on the line, but it also shows the NFL changed the rule after the call was made, to make it seem correct. This is disgraceful, terrible and ridiculous. Goodall must be punished for this.

    • acm says:

      wow, just wow. not trying to hide behind this and am a little glad they lost the game as a win would have simple covered up some big cracks with paper … but if the above is true, hope the press takes it up and someone’s head rolls in the end for this.
      Hopefully it’s Goddell’s.

  5. Pat says:

    It’s a road game against a division opponent that was lost in overtime due to a bad call. That says a lot more about the Jets than it does the Patriots. Gronk’s back now and Talib will presumably return. Short of another major injury, this was the so-be-it nadir of New England’s regular season.

  6. Barkevious says:

    Looks like the injuries finally caught took their toll on D. I want to be hard on the guys but, at this point, I’m kind of accepting this is what it is. We’re back to a bending defense that relies on the O making a mistake. Stinks to watch, but against the kind of teams on our schedule, can work.

    The only problem with this approach is you need a O that can score. At this point in the season, that’s not us…

  7. gatorade says:

    Its all Tebows fault.

  8. Coach says:

    Brady is still good enough but def need that supporting cast. These new qbs see man coverage on go routes and run for first downs, Brady has to execute perfectly in those situations. The oline in the run game could be better but Ridley isn’t elite enough for teams to fear.

    The wr’s are too young and this was a game that involved total knowledge of the offense and what is expected on certain defensive looks. Example that back shoulder Dobson drop.

    I want to give the rookie DT’s some love I thought they did well. Arrington outside at wr is a td waiting to happen. Sure could use more blitz packages for Hightower. Hate seeing thumpers in coverage and not in the qb face.

    Gronk did ok but took away some Thompkins plays I thought he could made on a one legged cromatie. Nink needs to switch w/ Hightower on 3rd dwn since he is the better coverage linebacker and lacks size and strength for full time DE. Hopefully Kelly and Armstead return to the field and turn a few heads.

    • Having Hightower at DE makes lots of sense on passing situations. Good obaservation.

    • rmc says:

      Arrington anywhere on the field is a TD waiting to happen. They draft Collins as a coverage LB, because of his speed, but then dont use him. Also, where is Josh Boyce, the few times he has played he has looked good, good hands and fast. I just dont understand why they are not using some of their draft picks.

      Also go look at Josh Boyers record as a defensive coach anywhere he has been ( dakota school of mining and technology, Bryant college) . Brutal, he should not be coaching at the NFL level. Why BB doesnt get coaches with good college experience is beyond me. I wish BB would swallow his pride and talk to Mangini

  9. Joe E O says:

    Would you saw that Brady has been average at best this year. He is letting bad plays (bad throws on his part and drops ) linger.

    • bmp1113 says:

      Brady is one of the best qbs in the league and always plays at an elite level. with that said, he isnt acting the the cool at all times tom we usually see. He showed a ton of frustration with that dobson back shoulder drop and just seemed to carry it with him. I think plays like that deep pass to dobson later that he missed could be because he isnt relaxed and just playing. Tom seems to have this urgency this year and it just cant help on the field. Im confident the o will get in a groove, then theres no stopping brady and this offence. Its just really frustrating to see a guy like dobson who you know can catch just drop pass after pass.

      • bigw says:

        Tom is playing terrible no arch on downfield throws , no touch, throws the ball a hundred miles an hour on short passes. He looks like a fish flopping around back there even when no pressure .

  10. acm says:

    Belichick is to busy doing the DC job too and his head-coaching responsibilities in the form of keeping McDaniels in check are suffering. In the decisive moments of the game, JM has this tendency to set his O in predictable passing patterns, which result in 3rd and long more than ever before due to the supporting cast. The O-line not being able to create consistent push for the run game isn’t exactly helping but this isn’t an excuse for making yourself unbalanced and predictable. And this is a pattern that has been with JM since 2007-08 season and if they don’t fix that, they will be no play-off run to speak off any time soon.
    I much preferred Bill O’Brian as the OC as he had the balls to get in Brady’s face too, on top of everything else.

    One other thing, the LB core looked lost and confused with Hightower being asked to play to his weaknesses and not strengths as a player. The failure to draft another actual 3-down, mobile, good in coverage backer besides Mayo is coming to bite BB in the but now. Even with Mayo on the field the need for another player like that was evident enough even if he masked it to an extent… now, it’s painful to even think about it.

    These are the two most important observations, imo, the rest is mere technicalities at this point.

    • RMC says:

      I agree, BB decision to hire from within with coaches who really haven’t worked their way up is starting to hurt. Patricia, Josh Boyer and Brian Flores especially. The secondary coaches suck, Steve Gregory pass int call especially bugs me! and the secondary does this a lot. If he turned around, he may have had a pick. I think pepper Johnson would have been a better DC. Bill O’Brien was a good OC also, he used every part of the offense.

      • bmp1113 says:

        ya, this issue with some pats dbs about not turning your head needs to be fixed. I saw an interview with DMC saying that thats something that drves bill crazy. They really need to stop it. If the DB coach sees that in practice he should start benching them. Gregory could have had a pick on that play or at least a very easy deflection, but instead they get a PI.

    • bmp1113 says:

      omg, really with the blaming bill all the time? this is nonsense. The problem with the offense was sacks on first down. Tom was sacked way to much the last 2 games and the 2nd and 3rd and longs killed the pats. They had a few chances on third that werent executed and if any of them were it would have kept the drive alive. The whole game would have been different if they could have completed one of those 3rd downs.

      As for drafting lb, how many players can the pats draft a year and where are all these great cover lbs that were drafted late recently hightower is young but shows promise in coverage, give collins a chance to play a few games. with spikes mayo hightower, fletcher, and now collins there were more important picks than another lb. They lost their captain and play caller so no matter who they drafted, there was going to be a drop off.

      The pats were with out there 3 best defensive players which included both captains and the play caller the other DT and were missing their best WR as well. I’m so sick of this back and forth they stink they dont every game.

      • acm says:

        Let me ask you this – those things you mentioed above, whose responsibility do you think is fixing them? The guy eating a burger and fries in the 3rd row or the head coach’s?
        What you mentioned is just one example of how BB’s attention is being diverted from doing his job right by his constant need to breath down Patricia’s neck and mop up after him. Every single time they show the sidelines when the O is on the field, BB has his back towards the field, while coaching up the D i.e. doing Patricia’s job, while McDaniels is left on his own. Here is the Q – if BB doesn’t trust Patricia to properly do the DC job, why the hell is the latter on the team … as a DC?

        As for another 3-down LB, the problem is not that there haven’t been enough picks lately but that BB doesn’t seem to believe in the usefulness of LB that are less than 250-260 lbs to begin with. I am not gonna even go there to mention his drafting Tavon f-ing Wilson when someone like Lavonte David was still available for another 10+ picks at the time.
        And it’s not like you can’t find those type of LBs as UDFA or FA either … the issue is BB’s interpretation of the importance or lack there of for having such players on the team. For example, he just drafted Jamie Collins when there were plenty of good 3-down backers to choose from and is asking him to do things on the field that are not to Collin’s strengths. I don’t mind getting Collins but as a back up to Ninkovitch, not as a hopeless patch-up work to somehow get a 3-down backer out of him. Similarly with Hightower – nothing against the guy but at 270+ lbs, he will never be that either and playing in that role is simply setting him up for failure.

        Mayo is the only 3-down backer they have and is by far the most mobile on the team at the position but the reality is that, overall, Mayo is not that great in going side to side either and is just better than average at it. The Pats D would do wonders with someone who can actually stay with a TE or a RB coming out of the backfield but BB doesn’t seem share that philosophy at all when it comes to the LB position and prefers his guys to get burned like a candle wick in a pass-heavy league.

    • Looking at all the comments and replys I see enough truth in all of them. My pet pieve is the predicitability of offensive play calling. Also of note is Waddell isn’t having a very good year so far, to much pressure up the middle into Brady’s face. I can understand the drop off on the defensive side due to all the injuries to key players. Don’t like it but what can I say? Wolfolk and Mayo will not be back this year.



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