New England Patriots Grades: Run Defense Shines


Here are this week’s New England Patriots game grades.

Pass Offense: A+

Tom Brady (along with Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski) won this football game for the Patriots. Their game-plan was to simply abandon the running game, put the ball in the hands of the best quarterback of all time, and let him go win it for them. And he lived up to the task, as Brady accounted for 352 of New England’s 353 total yards. He led the team in rushing, completed 34 for passes for 355 yards (including at least seven dropped balls by his receivers), and he led the Pats on two incredibly clutch fourth quarter touchdown drives against the best defense in the league.

Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski were both awesome as well, coming up with clutch catch after clutch catch. This offense just keeps getting more dangerous as weapons continue to emerge every week. Once Brandon LaFell gets over his case of the drops, this offense is going to be ridiculous.

Rushing Offense: N/A

Running backs had five carries for one yard. The rushing offense was irrelevant.

Pass Defense: B-

It was an up and down day for the pass defense, as they were excellent on first and second down, but really struggled on third downs, particularly when the Jets were faced with long yardage situations. New York converted 8 of their 14 third downs, and the biggest reason why they kept allowing them to convert was because the Pats only rushed four, giving Fitzpatrick all kinds of time to find his receivers who were working against the Patriots’ man coverage for the majority of the game. I don’t fault the front seven, I fault the playcalling, and the secondary, which really struggled.

The Pats’ front seven had a fine game, but the secondary struggled, particularly Malcolm Butler who got completely worked by Eric Decker. I’m not too concerned about it since the Jets have a great receiving corps, but going forward, the Patriots have to get their third down defense fixed.

Run Defense: A+

Other than Brady’s brilliance, the run defense displayed by New England was the most impressive thing about Sunday’s game. Alan Branch, Dominique Easley, and Malcom Brown were phenomenal at controlling the line of scrimmage, Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich held the edge, and Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins were excellent in filling lanes, and making sure tackles.

When this group actually gameplans to stop the run, they are one of the best in the league at it. Hightower and Collins are arguably two of the three best inside linebackers in the NFL, and with a deep and explosive line in front of them, it is tough to run the ball against this unit.