By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — It was probably closer for a lot longer than most Patriots fans would have liked, but the Patriots managed to walk out of MetLife Stadium with a 14-point victory over a divisional opponent on Sunday afternoon.
It was a game that was tied 10-10 at halftime and remained tied at 13-all late into the third quarter, before the Patriots hit the accelerator and finished strong to win 27-13.
As one might reasonably assume, there was a fair share of both Ups and Downs from the 60 minutes of football between the Patriots and Jets.
The rookie was all the way back on Sunday, as he set a new career high with 133 rushing yards. He also scored the final touchdown of the day.
His afternoon appeared to be in peril in the third quarter, when he was twisted uncomfortably to the turf by two Jets players.
But after receiving treatment on the sideline, Michel returned to the game. On his first carry after suffering the injury, he burst through a hole and ran for 33 yards. Michel also broke a 31-yard run on the first play of the second half.
The Patriots’ tenacious receiver played like a man possessed on Sunday. He caught four passes for 84 yards and a touchdown, including:
–A 36-yard catch-and-run on the Patriots’ opening drive
–A 21-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown, where he willed himself across the goal line amid a group of Jets defenders
–A 16-yard catch to set up a goal-to-go series for the Patriots’ final touchdown
Edelman gets bonus points, too, for throwing a block on a Jets punt that led to a touchback instead of a potential downed punt inside the 2-yard line.
Trey Flowers/Stephon Gilmore
When a strong pass rush can combine with solid coverage, it can be a thing of beauty. That took place in this game late in the first half, when Josh McCown tried to connect with Robby Anderson on a deep ball from the Patriots’ 41-yard line. But McCown wasn’t able to release the ball like he wanted, as Trey Flowers was bearing down on the quarterback. John Simon was also in the backfield, pressuring McCown.
Stephon Gilmore was also in tight coverage on Anderson, and he was able to read the ball, step in front of the receiver, and make the interception — despite Anderson draped all over his back.
The pick — obviously — kept the Jets from scoring in a game the Patriots led by just three points at the time.
Flowers recorded four QB hits on the day, including a sack.
Not dead yet.
The career of the Patriots’ tight end had been declared dead by a New York newspaper earlier this week, but that proclamation proved to be premature.
Gronkowski reeled in a 34-yard touchdown up the seam to tie the game at 7-7 late in the first quarter, making the Jets pay for accepting an offensive pass interference on the play prior.
Gronkowski finished with just three catches, but for 54 yards and the touchdown.
Cordarrelle Patterson sprung into action during Michel’s absence, and he moved the chains on a fourth-and-1 run. … Tom Brady was efficient, if not perfect, completing 20 of 31 passes for 283 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions while taking zero sacks. … Rob Gronkowski and James Develin were immense in the blocking game, as was the offensive line, helping Michel and James White to combine for 206 yards on the ground. … Josh Gordon caught five passes for 70 yards, including a key 17-yard grab on a third-and-10 on New England’s final scoring drive. … Patrick Chung was the surest tackler on the field, leading all players with 13 total tackles (seven solo). …
The Patriots got off to a rough start. It went something like this.
–Brady took too long to get a pass to Gronkowski on a third-and-10, leading to a broken up pass.
–With the Patriots at the Jets’ 40-yard line, Ryan Allen punted into the end zone. Matthew Slater couldn’t keep it in the field of play, leading to a punt that netted 20 yards.
–Elandon Roberts missed Isaiah Crowell in the backfield on a second-and-12, leading to a gain of 19.
–Deatrich Wise got penalized for roughing the passer on a third-down stop, keeping the Jets’ drive alive.
–Jonathan Jones got beat by Jermaine Kearse for a touchdown.
–Danny Shelton was penalized 15 yards for hitting the long snapper on the PAT.
That was a particularly sloppy stretch of play from the Patriots, one that led to an early 7-0 deficit.
The Patriots were penalized 11 times for 105 yards. Their previous high for a single game this season was seven penalties.
Now, some of that had to do with an eager officiating crew led by Shawn Hochuli, but some potential penalties in the second half went uncalled. Discipline was clearly an issue for Bill Belichick’s team on Sunday.
That included a pair of holding penalties on Trent Brown. One negated a 25-yard run by Michel, and the other would have negated a 13-yard run by James White on a third-and-3. The only reason it didn’t negate that run was because David Andrew committed a chop block on the same play. The Patriots ended up punting that drive, which was a clear picture of how badly the penalties can hurt.
Third Down Tom
Brady had a good game overall, and he did connect with Gronkowski for a touchdown on a third down. But some of his throws were clearly off, most noticeably when they came on third downs.
On the Patriots’ first drive, Brady was late in getting a pass to Gronkowski, leading to an incompletion. In the second quarter on a third-and-long, Brady hummed a ball at James White for an incompletion, eliminating the possibility of White making people miss in the open field. Late in the second quarter, Brady threw what should have been a jump ball in the end zone for Gronkowski, but the pass sailed out of bounds. (Brady was pressured on that play.)
In total, the Patriots were just 5-for-12 on third downs on the day. With some better passes on a few third downs, it could have been a slightly different day.
The Patriots won by 14 points, but they remain a work in progress. The early sequence that led to them trailing 7-0 early has already been spotlighted, and overall the first-half execution was lacking, especially offensively. It resulted in the Patriots heading into halftime tied at 10-10 against a Jets team that headed to halftime trailing 31-3 against a Matt Barkley-led Buffalo Bills team in their last game.
Considering the Patriots have some much-publicized issues on the road, and considering they had two weeks to prepare for a game against a 3-7 Jets team, a 10-10 halftime score was not what anybody in New England was hoping to see.
The positive is that the Patriots turned it around by outscoring the Jets 17-3 in the second half. But against a better opponent, the Patriots may not have such an opportunity to make up for lost time.