With a week 17 win over the New York Jets, the New England Patriots cap off an 11-5 season and record their tenth straight first-round bye. The offense and defense both came up huge in yet another divisional win for the Patriots this season. Both Kyle Van Noy and Devin McCourty recovered fumbles alongside Tom Brady‘s four touchdown passes to pour on a bad day for Sam Darnold and the Jets.
Kyle Van Noy, New England Patriots Defense Stymie the New York Jets in Week 17
KVN, Flowers and Gilmore Big Winners on Defense
The Jets may have been without several key players on offense this week, but the Patriots defensive efforts have to be lauded. Darnold came into this game as one of the hotter quarterbacks in the NFL, and the Patriots held their own. Darnold completed 16 of 28 passes for 167 yards and no touchdowns. Trey Flowers, Adam Butler, Lawrence Guy and Derek Rivers all found their way into the Jets backfield to record sacks on the rookie quarterback. Flowers was a disruption machine along the defensive front, hardly allowing Darnold the time to let plays develop all game.
Flowers, Butler and Jonathan Jones all forced fumbles during the contest, and Van Noy scored his second touchdown of the season off the fumble Butler forced from Darnold.
As expected, Robby Anderson saw a lot of Stephon Gilmore in today’s contest, and it was no competition for the Patriots Pro Bowler. Anderson had averaged 104 receiving yards over his last three games but came away from this one with only 24. Across the field, the undrafted free agent J.C. Jackson led the team in tackles, including one tackle for loss, and one pass breakup. The Jackson and Jason McCourty rotation continues to pay off for the Patriots secondary.
Devin McCourty put up two tackles, a pass broken up and a recovered fumble that set the Pats up for a quick score before heading to the locker room to be evaluated for a head injury in the third quarter.
Devin McCourty is being evaluated for a concussion in the locker room.
— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) December 30, 2018
Thankfully, McCourty will have plenty of time to recover before the Patriots appearance in the AFC Divisional Round in the second weekend of January.
Offense Spreads the Love
The Patriots proved once again that they can move the ball at will both on the ground and through the air. Josh McDaniels dialed up a very balanced offensive attack against the Jets to close out the season, and the Patriots executed, gathering 375 total yards on 33 passing attempts and 30 rushing attempts.
Four different pass-catchers caught touchdowns in the blowout in Foxborough, including Phillip Dorsett, who has been largely absent from the offense since week four. Both Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan contributed heavily to the win with more than 60 receiving yards apiece. Hogan was expected to be the top receiver against a decimated Jets secondary this week, and the third-year Patriot handily led the team in targets with 11.
Dorsett and Edelman both saw a couple of effective rushing attempts this week in the absence of Cordarrelle Patterson thanks to some rare seal blocks from Trent Brown. Unfortunately, it was still more down than up for Brown once again. The first-year Patriot was called for yet another holding penalty and was beat off the edge a few times. Marcus Cannon also allowed a couple past him, including the lone sack on Brady.
Quick Hits from Week 17
- The Patriots are the only NFL team undefeated at home in 2018
- Thirteenth first-round bye since 2001
- 6,000+ career completions for Brady
- Michel comes up 69 yards short of 1,000 in his rookie season
- Dorsett has caught 100 percent of his targets since September 30
- According to a tweet from NESN’s Doug Kyed, Brady finishes the 2018 season with a better passer rating than he did in 2014
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