By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots wrapped a nice bow on their regular season finale at Gillette Stadium, crushing the abysmal New York Jets 41-13 on Saturday.
It was Bill Belichick’s 200th regular season win in New England, and at 13-2 the Patriots are now one step closer to the top seed in the AFC. They need an Oakland loss on Saturday night or a win over the Dolphins next Sunday in Miami to make sure the road to Super Bowl LI goes through Foxboro.
Just about everything was going right for the Patriots, while the Jets were just an absolute mess. They called a timeout before the half that allowed the Patriots to score another touchdown. They had a false start on “everyone but the center.” They also kicked a field goal when they were at the New England 11, down 41-0.
There was no Butt Fumble, but the whole game was essentially a Butt Fumble for the Jets. We could sit here and talk about how bad the Jets are long into the night, but that would be cruel to you.
We usually pick four “downs” from each game, but that just isn’t going to happen with a beat down like Saturday’s. So grab some hot chocolate and a candy cane and take a look at everything that went right for the Patriots on Christmas Eve:
Keeping Opponents Off The Board
Yes, it was the Jets. But the Pats defense has allowed just a field goal in each of their last two games, and just 73 points in their last six games — just over 12 points per game. The defense is allowing just 15.7 points per game for the season.
Some of this is because the Jets are a terrible football team, but the Patriots forced four turnovers on the afternoon. They’ve forced 12 turnovers in their last five games.
After getting snubbed from a Pro Bowl he likely wouldn’t be playing in anyways, Butler had himself an afternoon on Saturday. He picked off Bryce Petty on New York’s second drive of the day, tipping away the QB’s bid for Robby Anderson and coming down with the ball.
On New York’s next drive, Butler was there to fall on a loose football caused by a hard hit by Elandon Roberts on Khiry Robinson. He capped off his afternoon with another pick in the third quarter, coming down with an overthrow by Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The non-Pro Bowler has now been in on five of New England’s last 12 turnovers, and has four picks on the season.
Tom Brady: Mobile Quarterback
Brady was his usual self, completing 17 of his 27 passes for 214 yards and three touchdowns in his three quarters of work. He also showed off his moves with his legs, avoiding a Jets rush in the third quarter with a fancy spin move, which bought him more time to hit Julian Edelam for a 28-yard strike. The play set up a touchdown run by LeGarrette Blount a few plays later.
Brady was serenaded with MVP chants during the third quarter before he took his spot on the bench. With 25 touchdowns and just two interceptions, he’s certainly made a great case for the award.
Two More Touchdowns For Blount
The big running back scored his 16th and 17th touchdowns of the season, which ties him with Curtis Martin for the third-best total in team history. He leads the NFL in rushing scores this season.
Nice Gift For Matt Lengel
The little-known tight end made his first career reception, an 18-yard touchdown from Tom Brady. Not a bad little story to bring to the Christmas table this year.
Lengel will also be celebrating his 26th birthday on Tuesday, so a pretty good week for the tight end.
For Brady, Lengel is the 64th different player he has thrown a touchdown to in his career. That’s the second-highest total in NFL history behind Vinny Testaverde, who hit 70 different players for touchdowns.
Michael Floyd Gets Involved
It was a soft landing for newcomer Michael Floyd, who was eased into the New England offense in his Patriots debut. Floyd played 18 snaps (via ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss) with 16 of those coming in the second half, finishing with a six-yard grab off a Jimmy Garoppolo pass in the fourth quarter.
Editor’s notes: These are nitpicks. It’s okay if you stop reading now.
Offense Stalls On Opening Drive
After the D forced a quick three-and-out, the offense couldn’t answer with seven points. Brady and company drove to the New York 11, but Brady didn’t see a wide open Julian Edelman in the end zone, and they instead had to settle for three points.
They were pretty good after that, though.
Yards Per Carry
With 114 yards on 40 attempts, the Pats averaged just 2.8 yards per carry.
OK, that’s all we’re forcing for the “Downs” this week. Happy Holidays everyone!