Shawn Hochuli and his officiating crew didn’t do New England Patriots running back Sony Michel any favors Sunday.
The Patriots were penalized on Michel runs of 25 and 16 yards in their 27-13 win over the New York Jets in Week 12. Michel wound up losing 39 yards from his game total on the two plays.
Left tackle Trent Brown, who thought the game was called “kinda tight” by Hochuli and his crew, was called for holding on Michel’s 25-yard run and a 13-yard run by James White. The Patriots were called for 11 penalties Sunday, blowing by their previous season-high of seven penalties in Week 7.
“On my two, I was a little iffy,” Brown said. “Because it’s stuff I’ve been doing all season. It’s like, ‘Oh, whoa.'”
Fortunately for Michel and Brown, the rookie running back otherwise had a career game. We’ll get into that a little later.
Here are this week’s takeaways and metrics.
DE Trey Flowers: sack, three QB hits, three hurries on 46 rushes
DE Deatrich Wise Jr.: sack, two QB hits, hurry on 24 rushes
LB Kyle Van Noy: two QB hits, hurry on 25 rushes
LB Dont’a Hightower: QB hit, two hurries on nine rushes
DT Adam Butler: QB hit, two hurries on 31 rushes
DE Adrian Clayborn: three hurries on 28 rushes
DE John Simon: hurry on 19 rushes
DT Lawrence Guy: hurry on 16 rushes
SS Patrick Chung: hurry on nine rushes
FS Duron Harmon: hurry on three rushes
— Context here is important. Hightower brought pressure on 33 percent of his pass-rush snaps. Hightower took on a lighter workload than usual. It’s worth asking Patriots head coach Bill Belichick why that was the case.
— Flowers played a ton of snaps, but he also had one of his most productive games of the season.
— Wise has been inconsistent this season, so it was good to see him bring pressure on 16.7 percent of pass-rush opportunities.
— Butler had his most productive game of the season from a pass-rushing perspective.
CB Jonathan Jones: four catches on four targets, 57 yards, TD
LB Dont’a Hightower: 3-4, 45 yards
CB Jason McCourty: 2-6, 44 yards, PBU
SS Patrick Chung: 7-8, 40 yards
LB Kyle Van Noy: 3-4, 29 yards, PBU
LB Elandon Roberts: 3-3, 22 yards
CB Stephon Gilmore: 1-5, 17 yards, INT, PBU
FS Duron Harmon: 1-1, 8 yards
CB JC Jackson: 1-2, 8 yards
FS Devin McCourty: 1-3, 6 yards
— Gilmore was back to being Gilly Lock after a down performance against the Tennessee Titans in Week 10.
— Jones struggled from the slot and was eventually replaced in three-cornerback sets by Jackson, who played outside with Jason McCourty kicking inside to the slot.
It will be interesting to see if rookie Duke Dawson, a healthy scratch in his first career game Sunday, sees opportunities in the slot next week. The Patriots also could decide to shadow Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen, who spends 57.5 percent of his snaps in the slot, with either Gilmore or Jason McCourty.
— Roberts missed a tackle on a 19-yard catch and run by Jets running back Isaiah Crowell. Four plays later, Roberts brought down tight end Chris Herndon after a catch for a 1-yard loss.
DT Lawrence Guy: four stops
LB Kyle Van Noy: stop
S Patrick Chung: stop
— The Patriots allowed 4.9 yards per carry overall. Take out quarterback Josh McCown’s carries, and they let up 4.1 yards per carry to running backs. Still not great. The Jets probably would have been smart to run the ball more.
— Guy was the Patriots’ best run defender. Among his top moments, Guy stopped Crowell for no gain on the first play of the game.
— Of quarterback Tom Brady’s 11 incompletions, only nine were aimed. Brady was hit as he threw twice. Running back James White also dropped a pass.
— Brady was 2-of-3 for 54 yards with a touchdown on deep passes.
— Brady was 3-of-6 for 68 yards with a touchdown on plays when he was under pressure. He was just 2-of-5 for 24 yards when blitzed.
C David Andrews: three hurries
RG Shaq Mason: QB hit, hurry
OT LaAdrian Waddle: QB hit
— Starting offensive linemen Trent Brown, Joe Thuney and Marcus Cannon all were clean in pass protection. Tight end Rob Gronkowski, running backs James White and Sony Michel and fullback James Develin also didn’t allow any pressures.
— Andrews gave up three pressures only one other time this season, in Week 7.
Sony Michel, who ran the ball 21 times for 133 yards with a touchdown, had the best game of his young career by a wide margin. He averaged 3.19 yards after contact and forced six missed tackles. He came into the game averaging 2.45 yards after contact and just 1.4 forced missed tackles per game.
James White averaged 1.78 yards after contact. His 73 rushing yards on nine attempts were a career high.
Thumbnail photo via Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports Images