After a surprisingly tough game on the west coast against the San Francisco 49ers, the Patriots had a hectic week returning to Foxboro and dealing with the Thanksgiving holiday. Nonetheless, there was a football game to be played and the Jets came out ready to play.
Throughout most of the game, the Jets were able to move the ball at will, especially through the air. The Patriots were not able to generate much of a pass rush on Ryan Fitzpatrick, as he went 22-for-32 for 269 yards and two touchdowns. The Patriots had difficulty stopping the Jets throughout the game, as New York was able to go 5-11 on third-down conversions. To be fair, a lot of these completions were check-down passes that were the result of good coverage down the field.
Fortunately, the Patriots defense was able to limit the damage and only allow 311 yards of total offense. Additionally, the Patriots were able to almost completely shut down Matt Forte and Bilal Powell. On the ground, Powell and Forte were only able to muster up a total of 63 yards on 21 attempts.
Once again, Tom Brady was able to lead the Patriots into the end zone on multiple occasions, all while doing so on an injured and swollen knee. Brady was noticeably slower and had trouble moving around in the pocket. Furthermore, on more than one occasion, Brady was sailing throws over receivers' heads because he was not planting his foot.
Nonetheless, Brady went 30-for-50 for 286 yards and two touchdowns and led a crucial two-minute drive down the field to eventually win the game in the fourth quarter. Malcolm Mitchell has quietly turned into one of Brady's favorite receivers, as he hauled in five receptions for 42 yards and two touchdowns. Those two touchdowns were both all while being defended by our old friend Darrelle Revis. Other notable receivers were Julian Edelman (8-83) and Chris Hogan (4-70).
Unfortunately, this game had its fair share of injuries, as the Patriots saw Rob Gronkowski, Martellus Bennett and Jordan Richards all go down at some point. Gronk was on the field for the first two drives of this game, but left after hitting the turf hard on a deep ball by Brady. The early indications say it was a back injury and it is not serious, but we are talking about Gronk here. It is definitely something to monitor moving forward, as a healthy Gronk is the difference between winning a Super Bowl or just being another team in the playoffs.
Bennett was injured on a rushing play to the sideline where it looked like he re-injured his ailing ankle, which has been an issue since week five. Fortunately, Bennett was able to come back in this game and looks to be okay. Both players will need treatment throughout the week to be ready for next Sunday's game.
These types of games are always hard to judge. Sure, the Patriots did not look great, but they were also playing their biggest rival in a divisional game on the road. Ultimately, the Patriots were able to win the turnover battle, which usually means you are going to win the game. Tom Brady says Bill Belichick always preaches that the team will win 95% of the time if they do not turn the ball over. All in all, the Patriots made some great plays, especially in the fourth quarter, and were able to squeak out with a win.
Next up, the Patriots will be facing the Los Angeles Rams in Foxboro. Check back in for pregame analysis, predictions, and a recap.