Stop me if you’ve heard this one before; Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and company know how to bounce back from a loss. The Patriots bounced back from a rough loss before their bye week to beat the Jets 27-13.
However, before we get started, we have give the G.O.A.T. some credit. Brady set the all time passing yards record Sunday, combined between regular season and playoffs. Drew Brees is somewhat close to reaching Brady but he set a record nonetheless. He did it without stopping the game for a victory lap, getting a certificate or having his family on the field. If it was anyone else there would’ve been a 30 minute intermission for celebration and recognition but I digress.
The offense, and defense at times, looked sloppy in the first half. The Patriots as a team collected a season high in penalties accepted and penalty yards allowed in the first half alone. Penalties, on the offensive line especially called back big plays, most of them runs by Sony Michel. The defense gave up a long play or two and got little pressure in the first half as the game went into halftime tied at 10-10.
Then the Patriots showed up to play. Sony Michel would bounce back from a very painful looking injury, where a Jets player attempted to fold him in half on a tackle and post a career high in rushing yards with 133 and a touchdown. The defense was able to generate a lot of pressure in the second half and hold the Jets to three points. Tom Brady, to the shock of nobody not employed by ESPN or named Shannon Sharpe looked on point after the bye week. With time to rest up his throws looked strong and, for the most part, accurate. He missed a couple to Gronk on their signature down the seam route but there was great coverage on them. They did hit on one of those routes where Gronk made a great catch for a 34-yard touchdown.
The theme of the day for the Pats was the big play. The passing game was able to get guys open downfield as Tom looked to spread the ball around more creating mismatches and openings. The difference from this game to prior just that, Brady looked to pass to more than just Josh Gordon and James White. Hogan had a few long catches, Dorsett caught a few balls, Michel got involved with a few catches as well. As I predicted, having Gronk as helps. He draws coverage from the best player on the defense or double coverage and it creates opportunities for others. Such as how Edelman was left wide-open for his touchdown catch.
There were also big running plays as Michel and White Both had at least 1 run of 20+ yards. This was the first game since 2014 where the Patriots rushed for 200+ yards as a team. Anybody remember that game? I’ll give you a hint, it was against the Colts. Still can’t place it? Let’s give a holy throwback welcome to Jonas Gray who rushed for over 200 yards by himself, 201 to be exact, and 4 touchdowns in the 1st slaughter of the Colts on the Patriots run to winning Super Bowl 49. (He even got his own Sports Illustrated cover, as pictured below, because of one game, then he disappeared into irrelevance). (Also another shoutout to Corey Kluber who won the AL Cy Young, as seen on the cover, even though I think Felix Hernandez should’ve won it that year, but I digress again).
A decent game all around and a good tune up game for Gronk, Michel, the offensive line and others who were fighting injuries previously. With Minnesota coming to town this week and a regular season trip to Pittsburgh for the millionth straight year looming soon after, this was a good game to get back into sync for the Pats as they look to lock up a top seed in the AFC playoffs and get that first round bye.