The New England Patriots cut one of the best wide receivers in the NFL on Friday. They were without their third-down back in Week 3. They lost their best receiver to an injury before halftime Sunday. They had one tight end and played without a fullback.
And they didn’t seem to miss a beat in their 30-14 win over the New York Jets. Watch out next week, 3-0 Buffalo Bills.
All stats via Pro Football Focus.
OLB Kyle Van Noy: sack, five hurries
OLB Jamie Collins: two sacks
LB Dont’a Hightower: sack, QB hit
DE Michael Bennett: sack, hurry
DT Adam Butler: sack, hurry
DE Deatrich Wise: QB hit, hurry
OLB Chase Winovich: sack
OLB John Simon: hurry
— Defensive tackles Danny Shelton and Lawrence Guy, safeties Patrick Chung and Devin McCourty and linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley received pass-rush snaps but didn’t register any pressures.
— Bennett has played just 81 of a possible 179 defensive snaps this season. He’s taken on a lesser role than expected early but did contribute with the sack.
— Hightower’s two pressures came on just nine pass-rush snaps.
— Van Noy was uber-productive on a team-leading 27 pass-rush snaps. He also led the team with 50 defensive snaps.
— Winovich had the fastest sack at 3.1 seconds.
— Collins has been one of the biggest defensive playmakers in the NFL so far this season.
CB JC Jackson: one catch on two targets, 23 yards
LB Elandon Roberts: 2-3, 20 yards
CB Stephon Gilmore: 3-4, 19 yards, pass breakup
CB Jason McCourty: 3-5, 16 yards
CB Jonathan Jones: 1-2, 15 yards
SS Patrick Chung: 1-1, 5 yards
FS Duron Harmon: 0-1
LB Jamie Collins: 1-1, 0 yards
FS Devin McCourty: interception
— They haven’t played quality quarterbacks over the last two weeks, but it’s been almost impossible to throw on the Patriots’ secondary.
— None of the Patriots’ cornerbacks are allowing a passer rating over 69.1 on the season.
— Devin McCourty hasn’t allowed a catch this season, and he has three interceptions.
OLB Jamie Collins: five stops
CB Jason McCourty: three stops
OLB Kyle Van Noy: two stops
DT Adam Butler: two stops
LB Elandon Roberts: two stops
CB Stephon Gilmore: two stops, missed tackle
SS Patrick Chung: two stops, missed tackle
LB Dont’a Hightower: two stops, missed tackle
DT Danny Shelton: stop
DT Lawrence Guy: stop
OLB John Simon: stop
DE Michael Bennett: stop
LB Ja’Whaun Bentley: stop
FS Duron Harmon: stop
— The Patriots let up just 36 yards on 20 carries. They’ve allowed just 2.3 yards per carry on the season.
— Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins, Duron Harmon, Elandon Roberts and John Simon had tackles for loss. Collins was involved in three tackles for loss in the run game.
— Quarterback Tom Brady threw for an 81.6 percent accuracy rate. Among his 14 incompletions, three were dropped, three were thrown away and one came when he was hit while throwing. Overall, he went 28-of-42 for 306 yards with two touchdowns.
— Brady was 1-of-3 for 28 yards on deep passes.
— He got rid of the ball extremely quickly, taking just 2.18 seconds to throw.
Rex Burkhead: 2.09 yards after contact per attempt, two forced missed tackles
Sony Michel: 1.56 yards after contact per attempt, one forced missed tackle
Brandon Bolden: 1 yard after contact per attempt, one forced missed tackle
— Michel, who carried the ball nine times for 11 yards with a touchdown, ranks dead last among 48 qualified running backs in PFF’s elusive rating through three games. He’s only forced one missed tackle and averages 1.67 yards after contact per attempt.
— Michel has only been targeted once in the passing game, and the pass was inaccurate. The Patriots’ offense might need to get a little less predictable when Michel is on the field. They’re running on 60.1 percent of his snaps. We think Michel will get better this season, but he’s currently being outplayed by Burkhead.
Neither player had much room to run Sunday, but when Michel faced a defender, he went down. On two runs when Burkhead similarly met a defender at the line of scrimmage, he powered through or spun off for 5- and 6-yard runs.
It would be nice to see Michel use his power, a juke or a spin move to at least try to avoid a tackle. And he’s going to be facing a loaded box if the Patriots don’t start using him more as a pass-catcher. He did show nice vision on his 5-yard touchdown run. The Patriots’ rushing attack definitely missed fullback James Develin on Sunday.
— Burkhead was more effective than Michel. He carried the ball 11 times for 47 yards with a touchdown. He also caught six passes for 22 yards with James White out for the birth of his son.
Josh Gordon: two drops
Julian Edelman: one drop
— Jakobi Meyers (24 routes), Phillip Dorsett (20 routes) and Julian Edelman (18 routes) all spent significant time in the slot. Edelman caught four passes for 40 yards out of the slot. Dorsett caught five-of-five slot targets for 42 yards with a touchdown. Meyers caught two passes on two targets out of the slot for 38 yards.
— Gordon made some amazing catches despite suffering multiple injuries.
C Ted Karras: sack, two hurries
QB Tom Brady: two QB hits
LG Joe Thuney: hurry
RG Shaq Mason: hurry
LT Marshall Newhouse: hurry
— Right tackle Marcus Cannon, tight end Ryan Izzo and running backs Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead and Brandon Bolden all took pass-blocking snaps but didn’t allow any pressures.
— The performances of Newhouse, who’s new to the offense, and Cannon, who’s returning from a shoulder injury, were most encouraging.
— Offensive linemen Jermaine Eluemunor and James Ferentz each played two snaps but both came on running plays.
For more grades, advanced statistics and more at Pro Football Focus, go to ProFootballFocus.com.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images