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takeaways from the Patriots’ 24-17 win over the Je Topic: takeaways from the Patriots’ 24-17 win over the Je

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Quote Angel92 Replybullet Topic: takeaways from the Patriots’ 24-17 win over the Je
    Posted: 19Oct2017 at 8:19am
Five takeaways from the Patriots’ 24-17 win over the Jets, which moves New England back into sole possession of first place in the AFC East…
All’s well that ends well, Patriots fans could argue, but two Rob Gronkowski touchdowns and a pleasing final result doesn’t excuse the first-quarter failures that put New England in a hole before Brady’s Bunch even had a chance to take the field.
Given the circumstances, it just shouldn’t have happened. While not an official bye week, having last played two Thursdays ago gave the Pats a full 10 days to prepare for a division foe. The Jets and their 38-year-old journeyman quarterback came in as one of the NFL’s weakest attacks. And even worse than that in the early going of games, having scored just seven first-quarter points over the season’s first five games.
So when the Patriots pinned their hosts at the 12-yard line on the opening kickoff, they put themselves in prime position to take the upper hand. Their position looked even better when New York, football’s ninth-worst team on third down, was still at their 12 after a couple of misfires. But the Jets got the yards they needed. The next set of downs, they converted third and eight. Then third and six. Then third and one, the last being a touchdown that capped an 88-yard march.
After Mike Gillislee fumbled, the Jets put together a 78-yard possession – to go up 14-0 – and the Patriots were in an uphill fight they could never have expected to be waging. As much blame as the players have taken for the breakdowns that have resulted in New England’s underwhelming start to the campaign, when those busted coverages and viewed in conjunction with a start like Sunday’s it’s impossible not to shift a bigger portion of the blame upon the coaching staff.
With extra time to prepare, against a familiar opponent, in a road test against a team that had won three straight to tie New England atop the AFC East, the Patriots came out underprepared, seemingly strategically as well as emotionally, and never more so than on the most critical downs. Even if the adjustments came eventually, that’s not a good sign moving forward.
Early in the second quarter Malcolm Butler was beaten for a touchdown by Jeremy Kerley, the modern-day Jerricho Cotchery in terms of otherwise-average Jets receivers who always seem to show up against the Patriots – though Butler made up for it in a way that made him as responsible for this victory as anyone.
With New York pushing for points late in the first half, and on the cusp of field goal range, Butler exploded in front of the targeted receiver and snagged his second interception of the season. That gave the Pats possession with 35 seconds before the half, at their own 37, and keyed by a long completion to Brandin Cooks Brady worked his magic and New England made it to intermission in a tied game.
Eventually the Pats opened up a 10-point lead, and with the Jets threatening to cut into it midway through the fourth quarter, Butler showed up again. This time he was trailing the play from the back side, and just before tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins was about to fall into the end zone, Butler joined Duron Harmon in making the tackle and knocked the ball free. Seferian-Jenkins didn’t regain possession until his body was out of bounds, so instead of a touchdown for the Jets, replay officials ruled it a touchback, and the Patriots got the ball at the 20 yard line going the other way. Given the time and circumstances, that was the type of play that could later be looked at as a season-turning strip.

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