Best and Worst: Patriots 38, Jets 3
FOXBORO -- The Patriots started well and never let up as they clinched a first-round bye -- and put together a nice tuneup for the playoffs, to boot -- with a 38-3 rout of the Jets. Here's the best and worst of the Pats' 11th victory of the year.
Dont'a Hightower started the Patriots day with a hammering of Jets running back Elijah McGuire for a 1-yard loss. A good signal that Hightower, who was in the middle much of the game, and the Patriots rush defense keeps improving.
CRAZY LEGS HOGAN
Chris Hogan, who isn’t the most elusive wideout in the Patriots stable, actually took a wide receiver screen on the Patriots second drive and made a Jets defender miss, picking up 9.
Rob Gronkowski made his first catch of the day on the Patriots second drive –a 14-yard pickup. On the next play, Gronk drew a linebacker and safety help over the top that sucked attention away from James White who took a Brady checkdown and sailed in from 17 yards away.
VAN NOY MIXED BAG
There are strong points to Kyle Van Noy’s game and weak points. On the Jets second drive, McGuire walked past him in the hole and gained 17 because Van Noy just didn’t have the lateral speed to head him off. Later in the drive, Sam Darnold scrambled for 28 yards through an area Van Noy occupied before wandering off. But he also delivered some pressure in blitz situations, combining on a game that resulted in a Derek Rivers sack before the half then scoring on a scoop-and-score out of halftime (pictured).
TRYING LIKE HELL
Back judge Greg Yette saw a downfield pass that bounced off Devin McCourty then bounced off the ground before being secured by Robby Anderson as a touchdown in the first half. He signaled the score from distance then, when disabused of his mistake, had a stunned expression as if everyone else got it wrong.
GETTING AN EXTENSION
Tom Brady rolled to his right during the Patriots first drive of the second quarter and had a third-and-18 incompletion turned into a first down when Jets defender Henry Anderson (96, pictured) gave him a solid nudge after Brady released the ball.
Brady had a wide open Chris Hogan open in the end zone but overshot him badly in the second quarter.
THROW OF THE YEAR
Tom Brady, after a couple of weeks looking less-than-Bradyish, threw a scoring pass when he was flushed to his right, escaped with quickness and threw on the dead run accurately to Phillip Dorsett (pictured).
Gronk had one of his best looking plays of the season in the third quarter when he had a long catch-and-run complete with tackle-shaking power. The gain was wiped out by an illegal screen set by Dwayne Allen but it was an encouraging play for Gronk who looked to be moving very well.
Brady’s 18-yard touchdown throw to Rex Burkhead (pictured) was also one of the best of his season. He finished the first half 16-of-22 for 165 with three touchdowns, and wound up 24-for-233 for 250 yards and four touchdowns before being relieved by Brian Hoyer with just over two minutes to go.