First impressions: Butler, Patriots run away from Jets

First impressions: Butler, Patriots run away from Jets

FOXBORO -- Here are some quick-hit impressions from Saturday's Christmas Eve matchup between the Patriots and Jets . . .


* Asked recently about the impressive number of pass breakups he's recorded this season -- going into Week 16 he was among the cornerback leaders in that category with 15  -- Malcolm Butler indicated he was hoping to turn some of those breakups into interceptions. He was able to do that twice against the Jets, doubling his interception total on the year. The first came on an ill-advised pass from rookie quarterback Bryce Petty in the first quarter. The second came on a pass deflected by wideout Quincy Enunwa in the fourth quarter. Butler also recovered a fumble forced by linebacker Elandon Roberts in the second quarter. Off of Butler's turnovers, the Patriots scored two touchdowns and a field goal. 

* For a defense that had some difficulty creating turnovers through the middle portion of the season, Matt Patricia's unit had its hands all over the football. And Butler wasn't the only one. With just under five minutes remaining in the second quarter, Ryan Fitzpatrick threw a long pass down the sideline to Brandon Marshall that was picked by Eric Rowe. That led to an 18-yard touchdown catch by tight end Matt Lengel. 

* It wasn't a bad way for Lengel to finally get on the stat sheet. The second-year player, used mostly as a blocking tight end since being signed off the Bengals practice squad back in Week 9, had never caught a pass in a regular-season NFL game until reeling in his score. Lengel, who was a member of the Northeastern football team before it was disbanded, did all he could to emerse himself in the Patriots offense when he first arrived. Judging by Tom Brady's willingness to throw one his way in the red zone, it seems as though he's been picking things up OK.

* The Jets were inept in more ways than one at Gillette Stadium, and it seemed as though they were more than ready for the 2016 campaign to come to a close. The quarterback play was not good -- Petty and Fitzpatrick had completed just four passs combined late into the third quarter; the coaching was questionable at times -- the Jets called a timeout near the end of the first half that actually helped the Patriots put points on the board before the break; and the play was sloppy. (They were called for false start on "everyone but the center" in the third.)

* Michael Floyd saw his first action as a member of the Patriots and saw three targets. Tom Brady tried to hit him deep down the sideline in the first quarter, but Floyd caught the pass out of bounds. When Jimmy Garoppolo entered, he targeted Floyd in the back of the end zone and the two were unable to connect. (Had Garoppolo thrown it a moment sooner when Floyd was coming out of his break, they may have had a touchdown.) Floyd caught his first pass with just over four minutes let in the game for six yards. 

Eric Ebron signs two-year deal with Colts

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Eric Ebron signs two-year deal with Colts

Former Lions tight end Eric Ebron is signing a two-year deal worth $15 million with the Colts, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Ebron was rumored to be a potential target for the Patriots, especially after new Pats running back Jeremy Hill tried recruiting him to the team.

The 24-year-old had 53 receptions for 574 yards and four touchdowns a season ago with Detroit. 


Patriots release Shea McClellin

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Patriots release Shea McClellin

Shea McClellin will be blocking kicks for somebody else next season. 

The Patriots announced Monday they've released the veteran linebacker, ending his tenure with the team after two seasons.  ESPN's Field Yates broke the news.

The Pats signed McClellin to a three-year deal prior to the 2016 season, but that was the only season in which he played for the team. McClellin missed all of last season due to injury. Prior to coming to New England, McClellin played four seasons with the Bears, who chose him 19th overall in 2012. 

McClellin's biggest contribution with the Pats came when he blocked a Justin Tucker kick in Week 14 of the 2016 season against the Ravens.