Best and Worst: Patriots 24, Jets 17
BEST EGO BOOST
WORST BUBBLE BURST
With the Patriots putting together a decent drive late in the first quarter, Mike Gillislee took a handoff right and – after finding some room – allowed himself to be stripped by Jets linebacker Darron Lee. The Jets recovered at their 22 with 51 seconds left in the quarter.
The number of plays on which the Patriots had absolutely nobody within 5 yards of Jets receivers in the first quarter was eye-popping. Had to be about four times receptions were made, Jets turned around and saw no Patriot close to them. Not how they draw it up. The Jets had five plays of 10 or more yards in the first 15 minutes.
SOMEHOW, EVEN WORSE
A demoralizing first quarter for the Patriots was followed by a depressing start to the second. The Jets picked up a third-and-5 with a 16-yard gain then – on the next play – Jeremy Kerley got past a gambling Malcolm Butler and pulled in a 31-yard touchdown pass to put New York up 14-0.
RECESS WITH THE SIXTH GRADERS
When it’s all done for No. 87 and people wonder what it was he did that was unique, someone should roll tape of the 25-yard completion that got the Patriots off their goal line in the second quarter. Gronk merely reached up and leaned over the defensive back in coverage the same way the older kids in the neighborhood did back in da day.
ALMOST GAVE IT BACK
Right after the completion to Gronk, Brady tried to go back to the well with Gronk and his somewhat slowly thrown pass was nearly picked (and certainly should have been) by Buster Skrine.
COUPLE BREAKS FROM THE REFS
Gronk picked up a 24-yard pass interference call on rookie Jamal Adams in the second quarter on a play where Adams did make contact and never located the ball. Adams might have had a hard time turning his head though because Gronk had his hand around Adams’ helmet. There was also a flag for Devin McCourty’s helmet-to-helmet hit on a defenseless receiver which was picked up. McCourty did get the helmet, it appeared on replay.
PICK’S AS GOOD AS A PUNT
In the second quarter, Brady took a shot on a second-and-7 play from his 21 and was picked at the Jets 22. It was the equivalent of a 57-yard punt so the level of harm done was minor.
ANOTHER LOG ON THE FIRE
During a half of ignominious occurrences, kicker Stephen Gostkowski got in on the act pushing a 47-yard field goal wide to the right. It was his first field goal miss of the
EALY DOES IT
Patriot-for-a-minute Kony Ealy got into the act with consecutive pass bat-downs on Tom Brady late in the first half.
BUTLER, AGENT OF CHANGE
Malcolm Butler’s interception of Josh McCown with 40 seconds left in the half set the stage for a quick deluge of Patriots points as New England put up touchdowns right before and right after halftime.
KISS THE COOKS
Brandin Cooks hauled in a perfect over-the-shoulder bomb dropped in by Tom Brady with 15 seconds left in the half that set up the first Rob Gronkowski touchdown of the day with 12 seconds left in the half.
On the opening drive of the second half, Gronk got loose in the secondary and – after safety Marcus Maye fanned on an attempt to undercut the route – hauled in a dart from Brady that he was able to turn into a 33-yard touchdown.
FOURTH AND FOREVER
With the Jets seeming to realize they were on the ropes and needed a big shot, they tried to answer the Patriots touchdown by going for it on fourth-and-1 from the Patriots 34. Reasonable decision. It was too close to punt, too far to try the field goal, why not? The Jets tried to throw and Devin McCourty picked it off (unwisely since it cost the Pats 6 yards in field position). The Patriots went down and banged in a field goal to make it 24-14.
GILLISLEE OFF ICE
After his first half fumble, Mike Gillislee spent a long time on the sidelines before re-emerging in the third quarter and being a part of the Patriots field goal drive that made it 24-14.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins appeared to score a touchdown with 8:31 to go that narrowed the Pats' lead to 24-21, but . . . the replay officials/ruled that the bobble you see at left was a fumble out of the end zone. That, my friends, is a touchback, which means not only wasn't it a touchdown but it was a turnover, with the Pats getting possession. Seferian-Jenkins re-secured the ball when he hit the ground, making it a particularly rough outcome for the Jets.