Patriots-Jets Takeaways: Starting Cornerbacks Bounce Back In Big Way

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For the second straight year, the New England Patriots’ defense excelled in the area that matters most: preventing points.

The Patriots’ defense finished the 2017 season fifth in the NFL in points allowed with 18.5 per game. They entered Week 17 seventh but lowered that ranking in their 26-6 Week 17 win over the New York Jets.

The Patriots finished first in the NFL in points allowed in 2016, but they saw a drop-off due to injuries this season.

No one should have expected the Jets’ offense to go off Sunday in the frigid cold with Bryce Petty at quarterback, but the Patriots’ defense dominated them. The Patriots didn’t allow a single third-down conversion on 12 tries and let up just 247 total net yards, including 40 rushing yards on 19 carries.

Let’s get into this week’s takeaways, featuring charting stats via Pro Football Focus Elite.


— Tom Brady went 18 of 37 for just 190 yards with two touchdowns, and it certainly wasn’t his best performance of the season. Of his 19 incompletions, however, four were drops, two were throwaways, one was batted at the line and one came when he was hit while throwing. He had an accuracy percentage of just 66.7. It was his second least accurate performance of the season behind Week 1.

— Brady was just 1 of 5 on passes of 20 yards or more for 37 yards, though one of his incompletions was dropped.

— Phillip Dorsett, Brandin Cooks, Brandon Bolden and James Develin suffered drops.


— Brandon Bolden forced two missed tackles on just 10 touches. Dion Lewis forced five missed tackles on 32 offensive touches.

— Bolden averaged 3.33 yards after contact, while Lewis averaged 1.81 yards after contact.

— Lewis continued to prove he’s the Patriots’ third most valuable offensive player behind Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski.


OT Nate Solder: four hurries

OG Shaq Mason: QB hit, two hurries

OT Cameron Fleming: sack, hurry

RB Brandon Bolden: two hurries

TE Dwayne Allen: hurry

OG Joe Thuney: hurry

— The Patriots’ centers, David Andrews and Ted Karras, didn’t allow any pressures.

— Patriots offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle remains on the injury report with an ankle ailment. He came into the game late in the fourth quarter with backup quarterback Brian Hoyer, however, which suggests Fleming might have just leapfrogged him on the depth chart. We’ll see who starts at right tackle in the divisional round of the playoffs with two weeks off in between.


DT Adam Butler: four hurries

LB James Harrison: two sacks, hurry

DE Trey Flowers: QB hit, two hurries

DE Geneo Grissom: two hurries

DE Eric Lee: sack

LB Marquis Flowers: sack

DT Malcom Brown: QB hit

DE Deatrich Wise: hurry

— Harrison made an impressive debut with a sack and strip sack to close out the game.

— Lee and Flowers made their pressures count with sacks.

— Butler provided consistent pressure but couldn’t close.


CB Jonathan Jones: 3-5, 61 yards

LB Elandon Roberts: 2-2, 38 yards

SS Patrick Chung: 3-4, 38 yards

FS Devin McCourty: 2-4, 20 yards

CB Johnson Bademosi: 1-2, 15 yards

CB Eric Rowe: 1-4, 12 yards

CB Stephon Gilmore: 2-4, 12 yards

FS Duron Harmon: 1-1, 11 yards

SS Jordan Richards: 1-2, 10 yards

LB Marquis Flowers: 1-2, 9 yards

LB James Harrison: 1-2, 2 yards

CB Malcolm Butler: 0-2

— Gilmore and Butler were standouts on the corners. Jets quarterback Bryce Petty rarely looked their way. Eric Rowe also was barely targeted despite playing 25 snaps. Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson was held to just one catch on three targets for 2 yards. He had close to 1,000 yards on the season. It was a quality bounce-back performance for Gilmore and Butler, both of whom have struggled as of late.

— Roberts continues to struggle in coverage, which is an area of strength for Marquis Flowers.

— Jones was torched in just 20 coverage snaps.


— A stop constitutes a “loss” for the offense, according to Pro Football Focus.

DT Lawrence Guy: three stops

LB Marquis Flowers: two stops

DT Malcom Brown: two stops

DE Trey Flowers: two stops

FS Devin McCourty: two stops

LB Elandon Roberts: stop

CB Stephon Gilmore: stop

DT Ricky Jean Francois: stop

— Guy was all over the place in run defense. He had tackles for loss of 8 yards and 1 yard.

— Brown and Trey Flwoers continue to be two of the Patriots’ most consistent defenders.

Stats via Pro Football Focus Elite

Thumbnail photo via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports Images

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