Patriots-Jets Takeaways: Banged-Up Tom Brady Stays Upright; Run Game Thrives

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The New England Patriots have allowed 17 or fewer points in the last two weeks, and the team still ranks 30th in points allowed this season. That just shows how deep a hole the Patriots’ defense dug itself into at the start of the season.

The unit is on the right track now, however. It’s still letting up a ton of yards, especially through the air, but the defense has returned to its “bend but don’t break” ways.

Here are our assorted takeaways from the Patriots’ 24-17 Week 6 win over the New York Jets.

— The Patriots didn’t suffer any major injuries against the Jets, which perhaps was the best news of the day, especially since their secondary was missing its No. 1 and 3 cornerbacks in Stephon Gilmore and Eric Rowe. They would have been in a serious bind if any of their three cornerbacks suffered injuries Sunday.

— New England’s run defense was fantastic against the Jets. It let up just 2.4 yards per carry to running backs and 3.1 yards per carry overall.

— The Patriots’ rushing attack was equally impressive, averaging 4.7 yards per carry. Running back Mike Gillislee still hasn’t ripped off a big play, but he’s slowly increased his yards per carry to 3.7 on the season. Dion Lewis had his second straight impressive game, as he’s seen his workload increase.

Now we’re left wondering what Rex Burkhead’s role will be when he returns from his rib injury. Could Burkhead be traded rather than Lewis?

— Lewis forced four missed tackles on just 11 carries, according to Pro Football Focus.

PASS PROTECTION
Quarterback Tom Brady wasn’t sacked all game, and it seems part of the reason the Jets never brought him down is because he was getting rid of the ball faster.

Coming into Week 6, Brady was taking 2.67 seconds to throw and 2.56 seconds to attempt, per PFF. In Week 6, he took just 2.54 seconds to throw and attempt. Brady was hit just four times by Jets defenders, according to official NFL stats. That’s down from six times in Week 5, seven times in Week 4 and eight times in Week 3. It was critical that the Patriots’ offensive line protected Brady better, since the quarterback was coming into the game with a left shoulder injury.

Here’s Pro Football Focus’ pass protection stats. They don’t credit the Jets with as many QB hits as the NFL’s official stats.

Nate Solder: one QB hit, one hurry
Shaq Mason: one hurry
Joe Thuney: one hurry
James White: one hurry

— Center David Andrews and right tackle Marcus Cannon didn’t allow any pressures.

PASS RUSH
Patriots fans really like to complain about the team’s pass rush, but it get the job done when needed. The Patriots recorded four sacks Sunday, their most in one game all season. New England had two sacks on the Jets’ final drive when it desperately needed a stop.

Here are PFF’s pass-rush stats:

Kyle Van Noy: two sacks, QB hit, two hurries
Dont’a Hightower: sack, QB hit, hurry
Deatrich Wise: QB hit, two hurries
Trey Flowers: three hurries
Malcom Brown: sack, hurry
Malcolm Butler: QB hit, hurry
Duron Harmon: hurry
Cassius Marsh: hurry
Adam Butler: hurry
Lawrence Guy: hurry

— Van Noy had his best game of the season. He now is tied with Flowers for the team lead in sacks on the season with 3.5.

PASS COVERAGE
The Patriots have yet to allow fewer than 300 passing yards to the opponent’s starting quarterback. That’s obviously less than ideal, though they’re beginning to allow fewer points.

Here are PFF’s pass coverage stats:

Malcolm Butler: 4-10, 114 yards, TD, INT, PBU
Devin McCourty: 5-6, 59 yards, INT, PBU
Dont’a Hightower: 5-5, 51 yards
Jonathan Jones: 2-3, 35 yards, two PBUs
Jordan Richards: 4-4, 25 yards
Johnson Bademosi: 2-2, 23 yards
Patrick Chung: 3-6, 16 yards, PBU
Duron Haron: 2-3, 15 yards
Kyle Van Noy: 2-2, 13 yards
Elandon Roberts: 1-1, 9 yards, TD
Trey Flowers: 1-1, 2 yards

— Butler admitted he messed up on the touchdown he allowed to Jets wide receiver Jeremy Kerley. Butler went for the ball and pass breakup rather than the safe play and would have brought down Kerley before he scored if he didn’t sell out for the deflection.

Butler had an up-and-down game, as he forced two turnovers, including a controversial play in which Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins fumbled the ball out of the end zone.

— Bademosi played first defensive snaps of the season and was targeted just twice. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him get more snaps moving forward.

— Roberts bit on play action and slipped as he went to cover Seferian-Jenkins.

PASS ACCURACY
Here are PFF’s drop stats:

Chris Hogan: one drop
Brandin Cooks: one drop
Rob Gronkowski: one drop

— Cooks has the second-highest drop rate in the NFL with five drops on 39 targets, according to PFF. He also ranks fourth in the NFL in receiving yards and tops all wide receivers with double-digit receptions in yards per catch. So, there’s some good to take with the drops.

— Brady had three passes dropped, one throwaway and two attempts batted down at the line. He finished 20 of 38 for 257 yards with two touchdowns and one interception and had one of his least accurate performances of the season, rivaled only by Week 1.

— Brady was 4 of 10 for 102 yards with an interception on passes over 16 yards. He was 1 of 6 for 42 yards with an interception on passes 20 yards or over.

Thumbnail photo via Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports Images

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