New England Patriots Week 16 Takeaways

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FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 24: Martellus Bennett #88 of the New England Patriots celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the New York Jets during the first half at Gillette Stadium on December 24, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

In their second and final contest of the season, the New England Patriots pummelled the New York Jets, 41-3.

The Patriots now sit at 13-2 and remain the lone number one seed in the AFC. The Jets, now 4-11, are staggering towards the off-season. Early on, the Patriots defense set the tone, and Tom Brady threw three touchdowns to smother the lowly Jets, whose horrific season was summed up in four quarters this afternoon. Here are three takeaways from the Patriots-Jets Christmas Eve matchup.

New England Patriots Week 16 Takeaways

Defense Continues to Shine

Right out of the gate, defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and the Patriots defense had the Jets struggling to take off.

Between the first two drives, the Jets ran six plays and lost six yards. The Patriots had two sacks and three quarterback hits in the first quarter, keeping second-year quarterback Bryce Petty uncomfortable from the get-go. Petty, in his second start since taking over for Ryan Fitzpatrick, was intercepted by cornerback Malcolm Butler on one of the few first quarter passes that he got off cleanly. He left the game early in the second quarter with a shoulder injury, finishing his day with no completions on three attempts.

Just six seconds into the second quarter, Jets running back Khiry Robinson fumbled after a thunderous hit from linebacker Elandon Roberts. The ball was then scooped up by Malcolm Butler, which led to a Patriots field goal eight plays later. Three drives later, cornerback Eric Rowe recorded his first pick as a Patriot, exposing an atrocious underthrow by Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick came in for an injured Bryce Petty, and quickly added to his league-leading 15 interceptions.

Three first half takeaways speak to the Patriots defensive growth. After suffering to force turnovers for most of the season, the defense now has ten takeaways in its last four games, including another interception by Butler in the third quarter. They remain the hardest defense in the league to score against, allowing just 15.7 points per game.

Brady Back in Stride

Tom Brady never takes divisional games lightly, regardless of the standings.

The future Hall-of-Famer was six of eight for 70 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter alone. He spread the ball around early, completing those six passes to four different receivers.

Brady had a noticeable sense of urgency throughout the game. After a lackluster performance against the Denver Broncos a week before, he was impeccably accurate, placing the ball only where his receiver could get to it. The Jets pass coverage was stout, especially in the red zone, but Brady still managed to be efficient. One of his best throws of the day was his second touchdown, an 18-yard bullet caught by tight end Matt Lengel for his first ever career catch and a heck of a Christmas present.

Brady left in the third quarter with a 34-0 lead. He finished 17 of 27 with 214 yards and three touchdowns, adding to his case for the league’s Most Valuable Player.

Jets Mess of a Season Continues

An embarrassing loss on Christmas Eve embodies the entire New York Jets season.

A defense with such huge expectations has been nothing short of horrendous. A head coach brought in to rejuvenate the defense has done nothing of the sort. A record-setting offense a year ago now has the worst turnover differential in football.

Every aspect of the game was ugly for the Jets. They had nothing going offensively. They were forced to settle for a fourth-quarter field goal just to get on the scoreboard. Through three quarters, Jets quarterbacks had completed four passes to receivers, and three passes to Patriots defenders. The lone bright spot was Bilal Powell, who grinded out 60 tough yards on 15 carries

The Jets defense, once thought to be fearsome, never stood a chance. They allowed nearly five yards per play, surrendering 325 total yards of offense. Nothing they threw at Tom Brady and the rest of the Patriots’ offense seemed to phase them.

Now 13-2, the Patriots can practically taste home-field advantage. After forfeiting home-field late last season with ill-timed blunders, New England is now in the driver’s seat. An Oakland loss later this afternoon will seal the number one seed. Even if Oakland beats the Indianapolis Colts today, the Patriots can still clinch with a win in Miami next week.

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