The New England Patriots got the win on Thursday night. That cannot be overlooked, no matter how much the offense struggled at times. This team is 2-0, and we couldn’t say that after week 2 last season.
The Patriots defense had a great game, one of the best I’ve seen from the Pats D in a long time. The defensive line kept pressure on Geno Smith the entire game, and managed 4 sacks and had 9 total quarterback hits. They were able to generate pressure with four rushers on several occasions, which helped out the coverage. Chandler Jones was in Smith’s face all night; Rob Ninkovich held the edge the whole game, and reduced Smith’s ability to get out of the pocket.
I think the Pats defensive line gets the game ball, but their secondary was not that far behind. There were a few plays where they broke down in coverage, and the Jets were able to capitalize on some of them. But when you get 4 turnovers from the secondary, the Patriots will win almost every time.
The Pats only committed 3 penalties, one fewer than last week against Buffalo. The Jets were only given 1 first down by a Patriots penalty, and that was a big reason they won. This team looks very disciplined, and I expect this to be a big strength for the rest of the season.
Stevan Ridley had yet another disappointing game. Other than a couple good reads for decent gains, Ridley was quiet in the run game. I expected him to show up and have a big night, especially with all the questions in the passing game. The final score would have been much different if the Pats brought a strong running game with them.
The good news for Ridley (but bad news for Pats fans) is that LeGarrette Blount also didn’t do anything special in this game. The loss of Shane Vereen could prove a little more costly to the run game than we anticipated. Hopefully Stevan Ridley turns it around quickly, because the next three games are against much better defenses, and two of them are playoff teams.
The receiving corps had a few good plays on Thursday, but there is plenty of room for improvement. Tom Brady doesn’t have that chemistry with the young receivers yet, and it showed last night. Brady looked to Julian Edelman early and often; these two are clearly on the same page. It’s too early to hit the panic button, because I think these rookies have great potential and should improve as the season goes on.
The rookies were made starters a little earlier than they would have been without all these injuries on offense. Basically, they were put in a situation they weren’t quite prepared for. As soon as Rob Gronkowski returns to action, a lot of the pressure will be lifted from the rooks. Throw in a healthy Danny Amendola, and this offense will be firing on all cylinders.