EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Every game seems the same at this point for the New England Patriots’ defense.
They don’t pass the eye test, allow somewhere around 17 points and too many long drives but give their offense a chance to win. It was the same old story Sunday in the Patriots’ 22-17 win over the New York Jets.
Here’s who stood out positively and negatively in the Patriots’ win.
WR MALCOLM MITCHELL
The rookie wide receiver caught his second and third career touchdown passes in Week 12. He also had a ball go off his finger tips midway through the fourth quarter, forcing the Patriots to settle for a field goal, but that can be excused for his key catches.
Mitchell caught his 4-yard and 8-yard scores over former Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis. Burning Revis isn’t quite as impressive as it was in years past, but it’s still an accomplishment for a rookie wide receiver who has made major strides in the past two games.
CB LOGAN RYAN
Ryan allowed two catches for 15 yards on four targets with two pass breakups while manning the slot for the Patriots. Ryan struggled midway through the season but has found his stride as he’s been moved into the nickel role.
Ryan recorded six tackles despite letting up just one catch.
QB TOM BRADY
Brady’s knee obviously was bothering him against the Jets, but he responded by going 30 of 50 for 286 yards with two touchdowns and a game-winning drive.
The Patriots’ defense did a solid job defending the run, allowing just 2.8 yards per carry to the Jets’ offense, including just 27 yards on 13 carries to Matt Forte.
Defensive tackle Malcom Brown led the team with seven tackles and forced an intentional grounding penalty. Alan Branch was flagged for offsides, but he also blocked a field goal and notched six tackles. Defensive end Chris Long forced a turnover on a strip sack with less than two minutes to go in the game. Trey Flowers recovered it, giving the Patriots two turnovers. They hadn’t forced one in over a month.
CB MALCOLM BUTLER
Butler forced and recovered a fumble, but it still was his worst game this season, allowing seven catches on seven targets for 119 yards with two touchdowns.
Quincy Enunwa gave Butler the most trouble, but he also had a tough time covering Brandon Marshall.
K STEPHEN GOSTKOWSKI
The kicker missed his fourth field goal of the season to end the first half. Gostkowski went just two games without a missed extra point or field goal. He’s now gone two games in a row with a miss.
It’s been a rough season for Gostkowski.
Thumbnail photo via Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports Images