DO YOUR JOB
An Account of the 2022 New England Patriots Season
The Jets settled the Wilson-Jones QB debate, and the Pats defense could be one of the best in recent years. PIC: David Silverman
The Jets were favored by nearly a field goal coming into Foxboro after a few interesting wins. But, as fate would have it, the Pats would not allow their win-streak over their in-division adversaries from New Jersey to come out on top.
With the 10-3 win that featured all the twists and turns in the fourth quarter, the Patriots extended their win streak over the Jets to 14 straight; it's the 7th-straight sweep. Indeed, you have to go back to 2015 for the last Jets win in this rivalry. It's also now 14 straight wins over the Jets at home, whose last win at Gillette Stadium came in 2011.
What a dismal day it was, and to be clear, for both teams. The Pats were unable to gain any offensive momentum, despite Mac setting a record-nearing completion percentage. The play-calling under Matt Patricia reached an all-time low. We had to sit through both teams make mistake after mistake. But finally, the special teams took it into their own hands with an 84-yard punt return for a touchdown to put the game on ice.
Another lockdown day for the defense
A few quick hitters to quantify how good this defense truly has been:
Pats limited Jets to 103 total offensive yards; 4th-fewest in franchise history
Pats don't allow a touchdown in 2nd straight game
For as bad as the Patriots offense was, their defense went to extremes to ensure the Jets were worse. They only surrendered 103 total yards to the Jets, and TWO YARDS - yes, two - of total offense in the second half. It was a total team effort defensively, starting with Ja'Whaun Bentley recording 8 tackles. Matt Judon set his career high 13 sacks on this one - a huge third down that came early in the fourth quarter.
Marcus Jones, the special teams extraordinaire
Of course, Marcus Jones became the hero on Sunday afternoon, racking up the first punt return touchdown of the NFL season.
Scene set: 3-3 tie, 26 seconds left, abysmal offense on both sides. The Jets have just played themselves into yet another 4th down situation. The punt unit comes out. So, obviously, in hopes the other team will just run out the clock and force overtime, you're expected to punt it as far as you can, but out of bounds...right?
Surely, Braden Mann thought pinning the Pats inside their own 20 yard line would be enough. But Jones, who is fresh off his award-winning season as the Paul Hornung winner (for most versatile player) at Houston, had other plans.
I personally listened to this on the radio on my drive back to Connecticut for Thanksgiving. The product on 98.5 The Sports Hub, courtesy of Bob Socci and Scott Zolak, didn't disappoint.
Jones' college resume was exceptional. Here's a glimpse:
2017 (Troy): 30 kick returns, 879 yards, 3 TD's; 14 punts, 121 yards; 2 INT's, one pick six
2018 (Troy): 23 kick returns, 584 yards, 1 TD; 8 passes broken up, 1 INT
2019 (Houston): Transferred & sat out
2020 (Houston): 17 punt returns, 337 yards, 1 TD; 1 INT
2021 (Houston): 100-yard kick return TD with 17 seconds left vs. #19 SMU - won game 44-37
Marcus Jones' punt return is the second-longest go-ahead 4th quarter touchdown in Patriots history. The only one that registered for longer yardage? A 91-yard field goal return by Ron Burton in 1962...when the team name was still the "Boston Patriots."
Up Next: A Thanksgiving matchup against the Minnesota Vikings awaits the Pats. Overall, the Pats are 4-1 all-time on Thanksgiving. We'll break down past Thanksgiving games in a separate blog. Since the last time out was the infamous Mark Sanchez Butt Fumble, you'd have to think the Pats are in for a little bit more of a test against a Vikings team that is hungry for revenge after being blown out by the Cowboys at home.