This game was such a sigh of relief for New England fans and such a groan of agony for New York fans. Everything has changed for these two franchises and yet, some things just stay the same.
- Mac Jones: Mac Jones is the best rookie QB, by far. A lot of it is because of the situation he was placed in, but the best nonetheless. I spoke about it earlier on the Cowboys podcast I was on, Mac Jones is the type of quarterback Belichick loves. He is a pocket passer, excels under pressure, makes smart throws, and can move the ball around. Naturally he is drawing comparison to Brady, and that’s fair since they both play a similar style of Football. However, as Mac Jones grows he’ll step into his own as a player and the comparisons will stop and instead of calling Mac Jones the next Tom Brady, we’ll call Mac Jones the first of his kind.
- DAMIEN HARRIS, Bolden, Taylor, Jakob Johnson: I’ll start with Brandon Bolden for what has become my weekly praise of the running back room. With James White down, the young core needed a veteran presence to lead them. Bolden stepped up in this game and has been playing some of his best football, really rallying the troops behind him. You can tell this core is close by the way they talk about each, but for more concrete evidence look when J.J. Taylor scored. Damien Harris was running up and down the sideline in joy. When Fullback Jakob Johnson had a big run after catch, the sideline went nuts. And of course, Damien Harris doing his thing with another 100 yard game and 2 touchdowns on top. This running back core should give fans hope, a bunch of hard workers that excel at their jobs.
- Pats O-Line Interior: The return of Shaq Mason really solidified the interior line, mixed with CJ Mosely being out, the run game was strong. David Andrews held his own as he and Shaq Mason allowed 70 rushing yards through their side while Andrews and Ted Karras allowed 30 yards and 2 touchdowns on their side. James Ferentz, as long as Mason stays healthy, will probably stay on the bench but he has performed very well for the Patriots. Damien Harris thrives when he runs up the interior and with our interior back up and running, it should be sunny days ahead.
- Backup QBS (Mike White and Brian Hoyer): Zach Wilson is going to miss time, and even though he’s a Jet, I wish him a strong and speedy recovery. Mike White stepped into the starting role and he played really well for never throwing a NFL pass before. White racked up 201 yards, a touchdown, and a 62.5 completion percentage on 32 attempts. Yes he threw 2 interceptions, but for a first timer he played alright. Brian Hoyer played his game, getting 79 yards on 3 completions on the day. His game isn’t flashy or huge, outshined by a N’Keal Harry catch, but he’s exactly what you want in a backup.
- Ty Johnson and Michael Carter: The Jets are sitting on some really skilled players. While they probably aren’t winning a lot this season, the future looks bright. Their two backs have shown a lot of grit and power in their play. Ty Johnson was helping a lot in the passing game, while rookie Michael Carter was playing double duty as the top rusher and receiver. As the line grows and strengthens, the run game with these two will follow soon after.
- Patriots Defensive Front: Christian Barmore is exactly who we thought he would be and the Patriots are reaping the rewards. A first round talent falling to the second round, Barmore has been disrupting at the nose tackle position. He demands attention, multiple blockers, and in doing so, allows players into the opposition’s back field. Matthew Judon on that line is still a beast, alongside a revolving door of talent like Lawrence Guy, Deatrich Wise, and the occasional Kyle Van Noy. One of the highlights was Daniel Ekuale’s sack, created by Barmore and locked up by Ekuale. If the Patriots can activate a guy off the practice squad and he performs like he did, it means the Patriots have strong defensive lineman pieces.
- Jets Wideouts: Again the Jets have a lot of upside despite being 1-5. They have a receiving core of Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, and Jamison Crowder. All young guys who can ball out, Davis was burning Patriots CB Jalen Mills all game. Elijah Moore got his first career touchdown on a 19 yard run. Hopefully the Jets can lock these guys in contracts so they can keep Zach Wilson’s weapons around him.
- Nick Folk: Big Kick Nick scored his 300th career field goal during this game, and he’s really been our most consistent scorer. While I still yearn for the debut of Quinn Nordin, I am more than comfortable with the consistent play of Nick Folk. 2/2 on field goals and didn’t miss a single extra point either. Wonderful game by Folk.
- Patriots’ Aggressiveness: The Patriots knew they couldn’t take this game lightly nor could they try to play safe. This was a stomping that the Patriots needed to boost their confidence, a thrashing that helped the Patriots find their potential. This is the kind of team they can be on a weekly basis. A couple trick plays didn’t go our way, which I hope doesn’t become a sign of bad things to come. For now, McDaniels and Belichick had the team playing aggressive and ran up the score to drop a 50 burger. If they keep performing like this, they should be back to prime Patriot form in no time.
- Patriots Defensive Backs: Two interceptions, seven passes deflected, all seems well…..kind of. Joejuan Williams really stepped up with 3 passes deflected and only allowing one 8-yard reception on 5 targets JC Jackson reverted to his 2020 form, Myles Bryant came off the practice squad to record a sack, and our safeties were amazing. However, Jonathan Jones is on IR, Jalen Mills was burnt toast, Stephon Gilmore is a Panther, and Shaun Wade has been on IR since pre-season. Our defensive backs are performing, but we are struggling for depth. They need to bring in more guys until our central core gets healthy again. I recommend Indoor Football League DPOY and FCF pass broken up leader, Dillion Winfrey.
- Jets Special Teams: Matt Ammendola is struggling, missing his only field goal on the day. It hurts to watch a kicker struggle, for any team really. Ammendola still made his only extra point attempt. Their Punter Thomas Morstead had TWO 50 yard punts, but neither ended up within the 20. Not a terrible game for him, but nothing special either.
- N’Keal Harry…..as a blocker: N’Keal Harry teased us all with that 28-yard reception, catching over the defender and toe tapping the sidelines. He still isn’t up to that first round status, but he has improved….as a blocker. He hasn’t seen many targets but his physicality really does help as a down field blocker. If he can up his receiving game, I think he’d reach the status of a 1st round draft pick.
- Jets Defense: Allowing 500+ yards in a game isn’t good, allowing 300+ passing yards from a rookie QB isn’t good, nor is allowing 100+ rushing yards from one running back. New York was playing like a chicken with it’s head cut off, unable to prevent anything that New England threw at them. It’s not that it was bad coaching, the Jets walked into this game down some big names. CJ Mosely was out of the game so the Patriots attacked the middle of the field where he usually thrives. Hopefully the Jets can heal up and come back better than they played this game.
- Injuries: As great as this game was for Patriots fans, this game was not without massive injuries. Jonnu Smith, Harvey Langi, Devin McCourty, Shaq Mason, and Carl Davis all left the field early for New England. Depending on the severity a lot of those injuries will really hurt the Patriots in the long run, especially McCourty and Mason. The Jets also had a lot of heart breaking injuries. Blake Cashman, Ty Johnson, Quincy Williams, and of course Zach Wilson. Losing Johnson and Williams hurts, but losing Zach Wilson spells disaster for the Jets season.
- Jalen Mills: Mills got flavor blasted on Sunday, despite making a really good heads up play on a screen pass. The Green Goblin ended the game allowing three receptions on five targets for 37 yards and a touchdown. Toss in a defensive pass interference call and Mills looked incredibly washed. What they should utilize Jalen Mills for is zone coverage, he has shown he can make smart plays in zone. If we keep using him in man coverage and he doesn’t step up it could be game over.
- Patriots Exterior O-Line: It’s a little sad to see Michael Onwenu on the exterior, but then you see how well he plays and everything becomes fine. The lack of depth at the tackle position is a serious issue for New England right now and Isiah Wynn has not been playing consistently. They have had a revolving door at tackle with guys like Justin Herron, Yasir Durant, Yodny Cajuste, James Ferentz, and Isiah Wynn all sharing snaps. Trent Brown is out and now Shaq Mason is too. This probably will bring Ferentz back to the Right Guard position, Onwenu staying at Right tackle which leaves our Left Tackle up for competition. The blind side is important to the Patriots game, if it isn’t solidified it will become our achilles heel.
- Jets Offense: With Wilson down the Jets offense sputtered and stalled. They did score on Jalen Mills, but no comeback was to be had. Losing Mekhi Becton hurt the line, but overall I don’t think they’ve found their offensive identity yet. New York knows this is a year for discovery, finding out what they can do and who they want to be. Beating the Titans showed them what they can do, but they have yet to find out just who they are.
In week 8 the New England Patriots (3-4) will be traveling to take on the Los Angeles Chargers (4-2) on Sunday, October 31st. The Spooky kickoff will be at 4:05 PM EST.
The New York Jets (1-5) will return home to host the Cincinnati Bengals (5-2) this Halloween. The kickoff will haunt us at exactly 1:00 PM EST.