The New England Patriots may have defeated the New York Jets 29-26, but that doesn’t stop a couple of units from receiving poor grades. Still, the good did outweigh the bad with the way certain players were able to step up in the game.
Patriots Pass Offense B
They don’t deserve any more than a “B” in this department, but Tom Brady played at a high level and the tight ends got the job done while Brandon Lloyd was shut down by Antonio Cromartie. In all fairness, Lloyd was agonizingly close to making a couple of terrific grabs, but he was still only able to come away with six receiving yards on eight targets.
Rob Gronkowski was absolutely essential on the Patriots final drive, and he was one of the most clutch players on the team. Brady was nearly flawless in the clutch and finished with a 95.2 QB Rating and a 72.1 TQBR in a performance than can be simply described as “solid”. With the running game being worse than anticipated and Lloyd shut down, Brady’s performance is all the more impressive and important given the surrounding circumstances. As usual, Sebastian Vollmer played a great game and continues to be one of the best tackles in the league this year.
Run Offense D+
The Patriots running game averaged 4.2 yards per carry which is an average total, but the Pats running game was inconsistent and did not take full advantage of a weakened Jets run defense with Sione Pouha and Kendrick Ellis out. Stevan Ridley averaged just 3.8 yards per carry and did not seem to get anything going in one of his worst performances of the season.
Even though Ridley struggled, Shane Vereen had a great game as the No. 2 back with 49 rushing yards on just eight carries. The Pats finished with 131 rushing yards in total, but you get the feeling that the Patriots did not run the ball as well as they should have. I was thoroughly disappointed with the uneven play from Ridley in this game.
Pass Defense D-
There is no way Jeremy Kerley should be getting 120 receiving yards in a game and averaging 17.1 yards per reception, but that’s exactly what he did against the Patriots on Sunday. Kyle Arrington was largely responsible for Kerley’s day, and the Jets were able to take complete advantage of the poor coverage from the Pats in the middle of the field. Mark Sanchez averaged eight yards per attempt and finished with a 90.3 QB Rating, even though he didn’t throw the ball that well as evidenced by his pick to Alfonzo Dennard.
Sanchez was inconsistent, but he had good numbers thanks to some continued poor play from the secondary and the Pats pass defense as a whole. The coverage in the middle of the field needs to get a lot better, as TE Dustin Keller was able to catch all seven passes thrown at him.
Run Defense A
As usual, the run defense takes top honors in this game, and a lot of that is due to some more incredible play from Brandon Spikes. He’s been the Pats MVP on defense this year, and he finished this game with ten tackles and made some good open-field tackles in the passing game. The Patriots run defense continues to show why it is arguably the best in the league, and the Jets much-talked about ground-and-pound did nothing in this game.
Shonn Greene averaged just 3.4 yards per attempt, and credit must also be given for run D stalwarts Jerod Mayo and Rob Ninkovich for continuing to make plays on defense and rack up tackle stats. Dont’a Hightower didn’t appear to be slowed down much by that hamstring injury, as he also put in a great game’s work against the Jets with seven tackles.
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