Final, Patriots 26-6: And that will do it for the New England Patriots’ 2017 regular season.
The Patriots breezed past the New York Jets on a historically cold afternoon at Gillette Stadium to finish the season 13-3, securing the No. 1 seed in the AFC and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
For the second week in a row, Dion Lewis powered the Patriots’ offense, rushing a career-high 26 times for 93 yards and a touchdown and catching six passes for 40 yards and another score.
Veteran linebacker James Harrison played well in his Patriots debut, finishing with five tackles and tallying sacks on each of the game’s final two plays.
New England now will get to sit back and watch next weekend as eight playoff teams square off in the wild-card round. They’ll return to action the following weekend when they’ll host a divisional-matchup for the eighth consecutive season.
Fourth quarter, 5:59, Patriots 26-6: As if things couldn’t get any worse for Bryce Petty and the Jets’ offense, Eric Lee sacked Petty in the end zone for a safety.
Tom Brady’s afternoon now is over. It’s Brian Hoyer time.
Fourth quarter, 6:42, Patriots 24-6: The Patriots got a 20-yard run out of Brandon Bolden and benefited from yet another Jets third-down penalty before punting it away.
Matthew Slater, a Pro Bowler for the seventh consecutive season, downed Ryan Allen’s punt at the 4-yard line for the second time in as many tries.
Fourth quarter, 10:28, Patriots 24-6: The Jets picked up 15 yards on an unnecessary roughness penalty on Stephon Gilmore and 46 on a deep pass to ArDarius Stewart but managed just a field goal, which doesn’t help them a whole lot given the lopsided score.
And really, they were lucky to get that, as Devin McCourty had an easy interception bounce off his hands.
Gilmore’s penalty came after he drilled wide receiver Robby Anderson in the head with his shoulder following an incompletion. Anderson is being evaluated for a concussion.
Fourth quarter, 13:31, Patriots 24-3: Tom Brady and Brandin Cooks finally connected on a deep pass (37 yards), but an intentional grounding penalty later in the drive pushed the Patriots out of field goal position.
Matthew Slater downed Ryan Allen’s punt inside the Jets’ 5-yard line, though, creating a difficult situation for Bryce Petty to operate in.
Fourth quarter, 15:00, Patriots 24-3: The Jets finished the third quarter without a first down, going three-and-out on four consecutive drives.
Third quarter, 1:29, Patriots 24-3: The Patriots finally found some traction on their third possession of the half, thanks to Dion Lewis.
Lewis carried the ball six times for 36 yards as New England mounted a 12-play, 77-yard drive that also included a 21-yard completion to Brandin Cooks. Tom Brady misfired on a pass to Cooks in the end zone, however, forcing the Patriots to settle for three points.
With 24 carries and 29 touches, Lewis has tied his career highs set just last week.
Third quarter, 7:58, Patriots 21-3: ANOTHER three-and-out. That’s five in a row. This is not a very aesthetically pleasing football game.
The Jets’ latest drive did give us a late contender for video clip of the year, though, courtesy of Johnson Bademosi.
Third quarter, 9:25, Patriots 21-3: Brandon Bolden had a pass bounce off his hands on third down, forcing the Patriots to punt. All four drives by both teams in this half have resulted in three-and-outs.
Third quarter, 10:33, Patriots 21-3: The Jets’ offense looks lifeless in this second half. They’ve gone three-and-out on each of their first two drives here in the third.
One note from their latest possession: Bryce Petty’s deep pass to Chad Hansen that fell incomplete marked the first time the Jets QB had targeted either Stephon Gilmore or Malcolm Butler all game. He’s staying far away from both of the Patriots’ starting cornerbacks.
Third quarter, 11:27, Patriots 21-3: The Patriots’ offense begins the second half with a three-and-out. Tom Brady chucked a pass deep to Brandin Cooks on third-and-4 and was not fortunate enough to draw a penalty this time.
Third quarter, 12:53, Patriots 21-3: Robby Anderson, meet James Harrison.
Harrison finished off the first series of the second half by drilling Anderson short of the line to gain on third-and-5. It was the veteran linebacker’s first solo tackle as a member of the Patriots, and it resulted in a Jets punt.
Halftime, Patriots 21-3: This game sure has turned in the last few minutes. The Patriots enter halftime up 18 points after scoring two touchdowns in the final 4:14 of the first half.
Tom Brady set up the second — a 5-yard pass to Dion Lewis — by throwing a block on a Brandin Cooks reverse to help the wide receiver pick up 12 yards on third-and-1.
Penalties have been a major factor in this game so far. The Jets have committed six for 64 yards — including one on third down during New England’s latest scoring drive — while the Patriots have committed just one for 15 yards.
Second quarter, 2:00, Patriots 14-3: Two costly Jets penalties and some friendly fire in the New York secondary allowed the Patriots to score their second touchdown of the afternoon.
A defensive holding penalty on third-and-10 extended the drive, and a defensive pass interference call on second-and-8 resulted in a 39-yard pickup for New England. It also resulted in some pain for Jets safety Marcus Maye, who committed the penalty, then dropped a potential interception, then absorbed a shoulder to the face from teammate Jamal Adams.
More Jet-on-Jet crime freed Cooks for a 5-yard touchdown that capped the drive.
The Patriots followed up that score by forcing a Jets three-and-out, with Marquis Flowers sacking Bryce Petty on third down to bring out the punting unit. Flowers has 3 1/2 sacks in the last six quarters after failing to tally a single one over his first 46 NFL games.
Second quarter, 8:37, Patriots 7-3: Bryce Petty, everyone:
The Jets gained 14 yards on a short pass to Jermaine Kearse but zero on the next three plays before punting the ball away.
Second quarter, 10:54, Patriots 7-3: The Patriots’ offense has been stuck in neutral since its game-opening touchdown drive.
New England has gained 18 total yards over its last three possessions, and Tom Brady has just 69 passing yards on 14 attempts.
Second quarter, 12:33, Patriots 7-3: On the first play of their latest possession, the Jets picked up 35 yards on a Bryce Petty pass to Neal Sterling, plus an extra 15 yards for a roughing the passer on Malcom Brown.
It was a great throw by Petty, who exploited a hole in the Patriots’ zone coverage.
New York again was unable to find the end zone, however, notching just one additional first down before Chandler Catanzaro shanked a 40-yard field goal.
First quarter, 0:26, Patriots 7-3: Quick drive for the Patriots. Another sloppy offensive series.
First quarter, 1:42, Patriots 7-3: The Patriots surrendered gains of 22, 24 and 15 yards on the Jets’ latest drive but kept New York out of the end zone.
Lawrence Guy played a key role in that effort, dropping running back Elijah McGuire 8 yards deep in the backfield on first down. James Harrison, who made his Patriots debut earlier in the drive, also did a nice job of setting the edge on the following play to stop McGuire in the backfield again.
The Jets settled for a 48-yard Chandler Catanzaro field goal.
First quarter, 4:52, Patriots 7-0: The Patriots couldn’t get much going on their second possession. They picked up a free first down when Buster Skrine was called for holding on Brandin Cooks, but Tom Brady threw incomplete to Cooks on each of the next two snaps and was sacked by David Bass on third down.
First quarter, 7:39, Patriots 7-0: The Jets’ first offensive series summed up in one GIF:
New York picked up 5 yards on three plays and was forced to punt.
First quarter, 9:30, Patriots 7-0: A heavy dose of Dion Lewis and a few clutch catches by Danny Amendola allowed the Patriots to find the end zone on the game’s opening drive.
Lewis carried the ball six times for 25 yards, the last of which resulted in a 3-yard touchdown.
Amendola caught four passes on four targets for 43 yards, including back-to-back receptions on third-and-13 and fourth-and-2 to extend the drive. Brandin Cooks also had one catch for 7 yards to help set up Lewis’ score.
First quarter, 15:00, 0-0: In a departure from the norm, the Patriots won the opening coin toss and chose to receive rather than defer.
With a game-time temperature of 13 degrees (and a wind chill of negative-2), this officially is the coldest regular-season home game in Patriots history.
One other pregame note: James Harrison, who is playing in his first game for the Patriots, stood apart from his teammates during the national anthem.
12:27 p.m.: Despite the ice cold-conditions, every Patriots offensive player (with the exception of quarterbacks Tom Brady and Brian Hoyer) is wearing short sleeves today. Most of the Patriots’ defense opted for long sleeves.
11:35 a.m.: The Patriots will get a boost on defense today from linebacker Kyle Van Noy, who officially is active after missing the past three games with a calf injury.
Edge rushers James Harrison and Eric Lee also are active for New England. Linebacker David Harris, a former Jet, is a healthy scratch. He also was inactive for the first Patriots-Jets matchup earlier this season.
11:25 a.m.: Mental warfare from Bill Belichick:
10:43 a.m.: It’s about 9 degrees right now at Gillette Stadium. This is what Bill Belichick is wearing:
10 a.m. ET: Greetings from the frozen tundra of Gillette Stadium.
The temperature in Foxboro, Mass., currently is in single digits and isn’t expected to top 13 degrees all day, which would make today’s Week 17 matchup between the New England Patriots and New York Jets the coldest regular-season game in Patriots history. (A 1977 game against the Miami Dolphins, which had a kickoff temp of 14 degrees, currently holds that honor.)
New England will be shorthanded for this ice-cold contest, especially on offense. Running backs Rex Burkhead and Mike Gillislee already have been ruled out, and James White, who is listed as questionable, is not expected to play, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. That leaves Dion Lewis and Brandon Bolden (and fullback James Develin) as the Patriots’ only available backs.
Wide receiver Chris Hogan also is expected to sit out, a source told NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, as he continues to recover from a shoulder injury suffered in Week 8. Hogan returned to action in Week 14, but he clearly was not 100 percent and proceeded to miss the next two games.
Another no-go for the Patriots: wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell. Mitchell, who has spent the entire season on injured reserve, returned to practice this week but was not added to the 53-man roster yesterday, making him ineligible to play in this one.
On defense, the Patriots will be without defensive tackle Alan Branch and could down a few more front-seven players, as linebacker Kyle Van Noy and defensive end Eric Lee both are listed as questionable. Safety Devin McCourty is, as well. Veteran linebacker James Harrison, on the other hand, is expected to make his Patriots debut today after signing with the team earlier this week.
The Patriots, who already have secured a first-round playoff bye, can clinch home-field advantage with a win today or a Pittsburgh Steelers loss to the Cleveland Browns. Pittsburgh plans to rest several of its stars, including quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and running back Le’Veon Bell.
Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. ET, but be sure to check back throughout the morning for full pregame coverage.
Thumbnail photo via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports Images
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