New England Patriots: Week 17 Wrap-up (New York Jets edition)
By Hal Bent
Keep an eye on Jets returner Andre Roberts in 2019.
The veteran is on his fifth team but earned his first Pro Bowl nod this season as a special teams returner. He leads the NFL in average yards per punt return with 14.7 and kick-off returns with an average yards per kick return of 29.3 (all statistics from Pro Football Reference unless otherwise notated).
He returned a kickoff 99-yards for a touchdown two weeks ago against Green Bay, and then followed it up with another 51-yard return when the Packers kicked the ball to him after taking the lead late in regulation. The return allowed the Jets to tie the game and go to overtime.
With the struggles New England had on special teams coverage in 2018, it’s a wonder Roberts didn’t do more damage on Sunday. He was mostly contained on the day, though he did average nearly 30 yards on his two kick returns.
Roberts was also actually pressed into service as a wide receiver this week, with starting receivers Quincy Enunwa and Jermaine Kearse both missing the game due to injuries. He finished as the Jets’ second-leading receiver with 3 catches for 28 yards.
Although his numbers against New England don’t exactly jump off the page, keep in mind that the Jets as a whole suffered a terrible day against the Patriots. Roberts’ versatility and veteran leadership, combined with his Pro Bowl nod, should make him a player worth remembering next season when these teams lock horns again.