.Don’t let the score lead you to believe this was a high-scoring, dominating performance by New England. While the New England Patriots beat the New York Jets 25-6, the tale of the tape tells a different story.
The Run Game: While neither team’s numbers really stood out, their respective run games looked really nice. Starting with the New York Jets, Michael Carter and Ty Johnson looked legit. A hurt Jets’ O-Line didn’t do them any favors, but there were runs by both of them that looked pretty. Granted a lot of them came in garbage time, the fact that they were breaking tackles and making smart reads, should give Gang Green some hope. For the Patriots, the duo of White and Harris showed its potential again. While James White is mainly a receiving back, he did manage to earn a score on the ground. The bigger story is the beast mode-esque run by Damien Harries, who broke 8 tackles as he pushed his way into the endzone. The four-headed monster of Massachusetts is still waiting on two more heads, hopefully in J.J. Taylor, Rhamondre Stevenson, or Brandon Bolden.
The Defenses: A good slugfest, in my opinion, is when both defenses are a major factor. Again the score makes it look much worst than it actually was. New York forced 5 field goals and only two touchdowns, ranking up 3 sacks as well. If they had a better offense (which we’ll get to) then this wouldn’t be a blowout. The Jets took advantage of the poor Patriots’ 3rd down and red zone play, holding them to few or no points at all. Obviously, the best part of the Patriots’ defense was those 4 interceptions, but the pass rush brutalized an already banged-up offensive line. A lot of pocket collapses cause by the New England defense, potentially led to Wilson seeing ghosts.
Rookie QBs: If you look at both rookie QBs that took the field, there were some good and bad in both of them. Zach Wilson threw 4 picks, obviously a big no-no. To me, Wilson still looks like a solid player, who made rookie mistakes. Look at his quick release, something he arguably did better than Jones. His arm strength and release looked great, his decision-making at accuracy did not. Wilson has a lot to work on, but the upside for him is still really good. Mac Jones on the Patriots’ side, statistically was great. He was able to sling the ball all over the field….as long as the field was only 5-15 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. He made some good decisions and threw some pretty passes, but as a Pats fan, I wanna see those slick deep throws and more importantly: stop holding onto the ball while in the pocket. Like, hold onto the ball so you don’t fumble it but don’t hold onto it long enough that you get hit. This is an interesting example of two players who had opposite problems. While Mac Jones’ deep ball and release didn’t cost him the game, they are things he needs to improve upon.
Special Teams: Punt after punt and field goal after field goal aren’t exactly must-see TV. But ask Bill Belichick just how much Special Teams matters to the game, and you’ll soon learn just how important it really is. Jake Bailey did his thing, with four out of his five punts landing inside the 20-yard line. Nick Folk broke a New England record with 33 consecutive field goals, which is nice. For the Jets, they didn’t do bad. Thomas Morstead only got one chance to punt it, but a 45 yarder isn’t a bad thing. Matt Ammendola missed one field goal, so it may seem like a lot of blame is on him, but the offense’s stinker outshined him. The special teams are purely meh because this shouldn’t be the high point of the game, it should be something automatic and routine and in the background. Seeing this much special teams action means something isn’t working, that goes for both sides.
Scoring: Red Zone efficiency matters, the New England Patriots (28.57%) and the New York Jets (33.33%) are doing terribly when it comes to scoring touchdowns in the red zone. For the Patriots, a lot of comparisons are being made to their 2003 season. Yes, they won the Super Bowl that year, but a lot of their games were slow and messy slugfests. That year they had an average point differential of +7 and a RedZone TD efficiency of 43.08%. I expect a similar outcome in 2021, I don’t think this team is gonna WOW anyone nor do I think the offense is gonna be flashy. It’s gonna be a dirty, rough, and hard-fought season with this squad and they are most likely going to get their points from special teams. The Jets appear, on the surface, to be the same ole Jets. 4 Picks and only 2 field goals tell a similar tale, but beneath the surface is hope. Both teams, 2-3 years down the road, can be really good. But if they keep up their bad scoring habits? They are in for a rough ride in 2021.
Penalties: Patriots racked up 6 penalties this week, those being Defensive Holding (x2), Defensive Pass Interference, Offensive Holding, Intentional Grounding, and a False Start. One repeat offender was Isiah Wynn, a long time start in New England. The Jets got 8 penalties which were; Offensive Holding (x3), Horse Collar Tackle, Offensive Pass Interference, Illegal block above the waist, Chop Block, Neutral Zone Infraction, and Roughing the passer. A repeat offender on the Jets was George Fant, another vet who joined Gang Green just last year. Penalties are a part of the game, but 14 in one game is atrocious. The average penalty per game in 2020 was 11, in 2019 it was 13. Since none of these was the new taunting penalty, these are problems that can be fixed. Still seeing the game stalled due to mistakes you’d think players would have ironed out can be frustrating.
In Week 3 the New England Patriots are hosting the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, September 26th at 1:00 PM EST. Meanwhile, the New York Jets travel to Mile High Stadium to take on the undefeated Denver Broncos Sunday, September 26th at 4:05 PM EST.