The New England Patriots gave their fans an early Christmas present with a Christmas Eve thumping of the New York Jets.
Other than missing an open Julian Edelman in the end zone on third down there were few criticisms to be made after such a shellacking. Instead of being the motivated divisional foe with a great defensive game plan in their pocket, the Jets looked to be a team ready to pack it in for the holiday season and just get out of Foxboro, MA.
Before turning to the Miami Dolphins and New England’s battle for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, let’s take one last look at the five takeaways from Christmas Eve and the Patriots 41-3 win over their AFC East rivals.
Offensive Line Stepped Up:
The New York Jets almost beat the Patriots earlier this season with quarterback Tom Brady needing a fourth quarter comeback and a Ryan Fitzpatrick turnover inside of two minutes. The Jets did not sack Brady in that match-up but they had Brady under pressure with three and four man rushes and flooding the passing lanes.
On Saturday, the Jets barely laid a finger on Brady. Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, and Leonard Williams all struggled to win their individual battles inside and and generate any consistent pressure. Outside linebackers Jordan Jenkins and Freddie Bishop were nearly invisible.
Per ProFootballFocus.com, Brady was pressured just six times on 28 dropbacks on Saturday. Doug Kyed at NESN.com in his game tracking had tackles Nate Solder and Marcus Cannon pitching shutouts in pass protection.
What was also of note was the run blocking by the offensive line. The Patriots three-headed running back combined for 37 rushing attempts for 116 yards. While not huge numbers in the yards per attempt category, the Patriots were able to continue to rush well enough to help keep opposing defenses honest and respect the run and not be able to tee off on the quarterback.