Patriots-Bills Takeaways, Metrics: Secondary, Running Backs Excel


December 24, 2018

We’ve written about New England Patriots rookie cornerback JC Jackson a lot over the last four weeks, and it still might not be enough.

Jackson has probably been the Patriots’ best overall player this month when he’s allowed just nine catches on 19 targets for 86 yards with an interception and two pass breakups. He’s let up just 18 catches on 36 targets for 213 yards with three interceptions all season. He leads the NFL in passer rating allowed.

How did he go undrafted again?

Jackson didn’t deliver the Patriots’ only impressive performance in their 24-12 win over the Buffalo Bills. Check out this week’s takeaways and advanced metrics.

All stats via Pro Football Focus.

CB Jason McCourty: 4-8, 61 yards, TD, INT, PBU
LB Dont’a Hightower: 3-3, 38 yards
LB Elandon Roberts: 2-2, 30 yards
CB Jonathan Jones: 2-5, 22 yards
CB Keion Crossen: 2-2, 18 yards
FS Devin McCourty: 2-3, 16 yards
CB Stephon Gilmore: 1-6, 16 yards, PBU
SS Patrick Chung: 3-7, 9 yards
LB Kyle Van Noy: 1-1, 7 yards
CB JC Jackson: 0-1, INT

— Jason McCourty was knocked down by Jackson on the touchdown he allowed. It’s to be forgiven by both players. They were both fantastic. We had McCourty down for just one reception allowed on seven targets, so it will be interesting to see where we strayed from PFF in our rewatch.

— Jackson is somehow getting better and better every week. He has three interceptions now, and he has yet to allow a touchdown. He played every snap. It was his most impressive performance of the season.

— Gilmore got lucky when Bills wide receiver Robert Foster lost a ball in the sun. Otherwise, Gilmore was great.

DE Trey Flowers: QB hit, four hurries
DE Deatrich Wise: QB hit, three hurries
LB Kyle Van Noy: QB hit, two hurries
DT Adam Butler: two hurries
DT Lawrence Guy: QB hit
DT Malcom Brown: hurry
LB Dont’a Hightower: hurry
DT Danny Shelton: hurry
DE Ufomba Kamalu: hurry

— The Patriots didn’t register a sack but they pressured Allen all game. Bills quarterback Josh Allen completed just 2-of-12 passes for 50 yards with a touchdown and interception while under pressure.

— Flowers also had the teams’ highest pressure rate at 16.1 percent.

— Defensive end John Simon failed to register a pressure on 15 pass rush snaps.

DT Lawrence Guy: two stops
SS Patrick Chung: two stops
DT Danny Shelton: stop
DT Malcom Brown: stop
DE Ufomba Kamalu: stop
DE Trey Flowers: stop
LB Elandon Roberts: stop

— The Patriots allowed just 3.2 yards per carry to running backs Keith Ford and LeSean McCoy. McCoy had just 7 yards after contact on six carries.

— Chung was injured on the first play of the game, came back and had his best game of the season.

— Kamalu had a 4-yard tackle for loss on his first snap with the Patriots.

LT Trent Brown: six hurries
LG Joe Thuney: hurry
RG Shaq Mason: hurry
QB Tom Brady: hurry
RB James White: hurry

— Center David Andrews, right tackle Marcus Cannon, tight end Rob Gronkowski, tight end Dwayne Allen and running back Sony Michel didn’t allow any pressures.

— Brown had a difficult matchup against Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes. Hughes entered the game second in the NFL in total pressures.

— The Bills’ lone sack came after a pressure from Hughes against Brown.

— Of quarterback Tom Brady’s 11 incompletions, three were dropped, one was thrown away and one was batted at the line of scrimmage. Wide receiver Julian Edelman had two drops. Tight end Rob Gronkowski also dropped a pass.

— Brady threw two interceptions. One came on the drop by Rob Gronkowski. The other occurred because of miscommunication with running back Rex Burkhead.

— Brady didn’t attempt a single pass of that traveled 20 yards downfield. He was 0-for-4 on passes that traveled 10-to-19 yards. He was 13-of-20 with a touchdown and two interceptions on short passes.

WR Cordarrelle Patterson: 10.5 yards after contact per carry, forced two missed tackles
RB James White: 4 yacpc
RB Sony Michel: 3.5 yacpc, forced four missed tackles
RB Rex Burkhead: 2.5 yacpc, forced two missed tackles
WR Phillip Dorsett: 2.5 yacpc

— Patterson was fantastic before leaving the game with a knee injury. He stayed on the sideline after the injury but was moving gingerly in the locker room after the game. He had a chance at a 100-yard rushing performance if he stayed healthy. He gained 66 yards on four carries.

— Michel had his best game of the season based on his advanced metrics. He carried the ball 18 times for 116 yards.

— The Patriots’ rushing attack has been frustratingly inconsistent, but it was the strength of the offense Sunday. It’s anyone’s guess which Patriots team is going to show up in the postseason.

For more grades, advanced statistics and more at Pro Football Focus, go to

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