By Danny Cox
It’s really hard to figure out this New England Patriots team as their up-and-down season was reflected in the highs and lows of Sunday’s 24-17 win over the New York Jets. After falling behind 14-0, the Pats found a way to come back and jump out to a commanding lead before falling apart yet again—and almost falling victim to lackluster play once more.
They may be 4-2, but the Patriots have a lot of problems to fix that may not be as easy to overcome later in the season.
Once again, the offense was outgained by New England’s opponent and the explosiveness just wasn’t there. Tom Brady was a bit off as he completed 20-of-38 pass attempts for 257 yards and two touchdowns. Brady also threw one interception while running back Mike Gillislee lost a fumble on the day.
Brandin Cooks had another impressive day with 93 yards while Rob Gronkowski picked up 83 yards and two touchdowns on six receptions. The numbers don’t look too bad overall, but they don’t seem to be very Patriots-esque, and it took them far too long to get things started.
Defensively, the Patriots fell back to how they looked in the earlier part of the season, which doesn’t spell good news for them going forward. They did pick off Josh McCown twice, and picked up one fumble while racking up four sacks, but the secondary failed them once again.
Against the run, Matt Forte and company were kept in check for almost the entire game, but McCown threw for 354 yards and two touchdowns, which helped the Jets pull ahead 14-0 in the early second quarter. The Jets aren’t a bad team, but if the Pats can’t stop them, it will be even more difficult to stop the elite teams in the NFL.
Special Teams: B
Stephen Gostkowski hit all three extra point attempts and one of his two field goal attempts. Ryan Allen punted four times for a decent average on the day.
Dion Lewis had one kick return for just 17 yards and Danny Amendola returned three punts for 20 total yards. The return game is not giving New England much help at all and early-season injuries are primarily to blame.
Early on, the Patriots were being blown out before finding their rhythm and evening up the game right before halftime. But why did it take them so long? From there, they jumped out ahead with a dominating early run in the first 17 minutes of the second half before falling apart on offense and defense yet again. If not for a controversial call that took away Jets’ tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins’ late game touchdown, things may have ended quite differently.
Head coach Bill Belichick really needs to figure out what is wrong with his squad as it seems as if everyone is having trouble getting going this year. It’s not just the defense or special teams that are dealing with problems; Tom Brady and the offense are experiencing their own struggles as well.
At 4-2, they’re sitting on top of the AFC East, but they have a very tough road ahead with opponents such as the Falcons, Chargers, and Broncos. Scraping by and figuring out how to win is not the Patriots way, and it won’t continue for the rest of 2017.