FOXBORO, Mass. — All went as planned for the New England Patriots as they clinched the No. 1 seed in the AFC with a dominant 26-6 win over the New York Jets.
The Patriots’ defense particularly finished the regular season strong in a game in which they were supposed to impress. They allowed just 257 total net yards to the Jets. They were especially stout against the run, allowing just 2.1 yards per carry. Outside of a 24-yard run by Bilal Powell, the Patriots allowed just 16 rushing yards on 18 carries.
RB DION LEWIS
Lewis carried the Patriots’ offense to 133 of their 330 total net yards. He carried the ball 26 times for 93 yards with a touchdown and caught six passes on seven targets for 40 yards with another TD.
It’s unlikely the Patriots wanted to give their starting running back 32 touches in Week 17, but with Mike Gillislee, Rex Burkhead and James White out, it was necessary.
Brandon Bolden picked up the rest of the slack with nine carries for 46 yards and one catch for 7 yards.
DT LAWRENCE GUY
Guy was the Patriots’ best defensive player. He had five total tackles, including one for a 1-yard loss and another for an 8-yard loss. The other three tackles all were within 2 yards of the line of scrimmage.
LB MARQUIS FLOWERS
Flowers has been on a tear as of late. After recording 2.5 sacks in Week 16, he added another one against Jets quarterback Bryce Petty. He had three total tackles.
LB JAMES HARRISON
Harrison made an early impact by setting the edge on a tackle for loss. He also delivered a big hit in coverage on a 2-yard gain by Robby Anderson and had two sacks late in the fourth quarter. It was just his second and third sacks of the season.
Harrison has to be a happy camper after finally getting playing time this season. He was on the field for more than 20 snaps and only had 40 in 16 weeks with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
PATRIOTS STARTING CBs
Petty didn’t have much success throwing to anyone, but he had particular trouble targeting Patriots starting cornerbacks.
Stephon Gilmore allowed two catches on four targets for 12 yards with a pass breakup. Malcolm Butler didn’t allow any receptions and was targeted just twice. Eric Rowe allowed just one 12-yard catch on two targets.
DE ERIC LEE
After a few quiet weeks, Lee delivered the dagger with a safety in the fourth quarter that brought Brian Hoyer into the game.
TE ROB GRONKOWSKI
He stayed healthy and finished the season with 69 catches. Let’s give it to him.
Thumbnail photo via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports Images