Winners and Losers From the Patriots Week 9 Victory

The New England Patriots put an end to their four-game losing streak on Monday night by defeating the New York Jets 30-27. With the win, the Patriots now stand at 3-5. There’s no denying New England still has a ton of work to do if they hope to reach the playoffs, but it’s nice to see the Patriots finally get a win. In addition to coming away with a victory, the Patriots also had a couple of outstanding individual performances. We’ll discuss all those incredible performances, as well the players that struggled in this week’s edition of “Winners and Losers”.

Winners

Cam Newton

After taking steps forward last week against the Bills, Cam Newton played one of his best games as a Patriot Monday night against the Jets. Newton threw for 274 yards and had a completion percentage of 77.1%. He also ran for two rushing touchdowns. Most importantly, Newton didn’t have any turnovers. He took care of the ball and he took what the defense gave him. In the first half, Newton played a bit more conservative, taking his check-downs often, but in the second half he took some more shots in the intermediate range and it paid off. Newton also made some HUGE clutch throws late in the game. His game-tying and game-winning drives featured some of his best throws.

Let’s not forget the classic Newton pocket movement we saw in this one. It’s safe to say any confidence issues he had previously are now gone.

The Patriots passing game is likely always going to be handicapped until they get more weapons at wide receiver and tight end, but the offense Josh McDaniels has run the past two weeks seems to have made Newton much more comfortable. At the end of the day, it felt good seeing Newton lead this team to victory. He’s owned some previous bad performances, but he came through big-time in this one.

Jakobi Meyers

Ever since Jakobi Meyers was inserted into the starting lineup in Week 7 following N’Keal Harry’s in-game injury against the 49ers, he has clearly been the Patriots’ best wide receiver. Meyers had his best performance of the season Monday night with 12 receptions for 169 yards.

The biggest thing that stands out when watching Meyers is how open he gets on most of his catches. He isn’t the fastest guy, in fact, his athleticism as a whole was the biggest knock on him coming out of college, however, he still constantly finds his way open. Why? Meyers is a good route runner and a very smart and instinctive football player. Meyers consistently finds the soft spot in zones and he creates just enough separation in man coverage. Plus, his chemistry with Newton is undeniable. They just work well together. Meyers isn’t an ideal number one receiver, but he’s showing more than enough to earn himself a spot in the Patriots future receiving core.

Nick Folk

Nick Folk has been nothing but dependable for the Patriots this season. He went 3/3 on field goals against the Jets, including a 51-yard game-winner. Remember, Folk came into the Week 9 matchup with a back injury. It’s an impressive performance from a guy that deserves a ton of recognition for how good he’s been in 2020. Folk is 14/16 on field goals and the two misses came in Week 1 and Week 2.

Rushing Attack

The Patriots rushing attack may get overlooked by the phenomenal performances by Newton and Meyers, but Damien Harris, Rex Burkhead, and the offensive line put in some work in the trenches. Harris had 14 carries for 71 yards. That’s another game for Harris over five yards per carry. As we’ve said in what feels like after every game, Harris just always runs hard and never seems to pick up negative yards. He’s always moving forward.

Harris did suffer an injury in the game so his availability could be questionable moving forward.

Burkhead, on the other hand, had an excellent game as a change of pace running back. He especially excelled in the second half, when he was a big part of the Patriots’ success moving the ball. Overall, he had 56 yards on 12 carries. His shiftiness made him very hard for the Jets defense to bring him down. We should also mention the Patriots offensive line. It’s no secret the Patriots are a run-first team, yet the offensive line still finds a way to open up holes in a loaded box time after time. The only linemen that had any real struggles run blocking on Monday night was David Andrews.

Losers

J.C. Jackson

One thing Monday night taught us is that Stephon Gilmore is still extremely valuable to the Patriots secondary. J.C. Jackson is a great young corner and he has a bright future, but he had a rough game against the Jets. Yes, he made a late interception that gave the Patriots a chance to tie the game, but for the most part, Monday night was a real struggle. Jackson had a bad defensive pass interference penalty and he got beat for multiple long receptions. The most costly was the 50-yard touchdown bomb he gave up to Breshad Perriman.

As previously stated, Jackson salvaged his performance a bit late in the game, but it’s hard to ignore that he was a large reason Joe Flacco shredded the Patriots secondary via 262 passing yards and three passing touchdowns. That being said, we expect him to adjust and improve moving forward. Plus, if Gilmore gets back soon that will pay major dividends.

The Defensive Pass Rush

The Patriots defensive front struggled on Monday to get any type of pass rush against a below-average Jets offensive line. Even more concerning is the fact the Jets best linemen, Mekhi Becton was knocked out of the game early, and the defensive front still couldn’t get home to the quarterback. Flacco often sat in the pocket for what seemed like an eternity. The New England secondary deserves blame for their bad performance, but the lack of any kind of pass rush surely contributed to some of the issues. In the NFL, if you can’t generate pressure someone is bound to eventually get open. When the Patriots did get pressure it often came at the expense of blitzing extra defenders and giving up a big pass play.

Deatrich Wise was by far the Patriots’ most effective pass rusher. Wise had the only sack on the night and two quarterback hits. Chase Winovich played more this week, but he was unable to get generate anything more than a couple of quarterback hurries. There just isn’t a go-to-pass rusher for the Patriots on the edge or the interior. It’s very very hard for the Patriots to get any pressure from a defensive lineman not named Wise and Winovich and even with those two players it’s not always a consistent thing. It will be interesting to see how the Patriots try and get to the quarterback moving forward because what we saw Monday night wasn’t good enough.

Jason McCourty

Jason McCourty joined fellow corner J.C. Jackson in struggling against the Jets wide receivers. Like Jackson, McCourty gave up several catches that resulted in major yardage for the likes of Denzel Mims and Jamison Crowder. One of those big plays was a touchdown pass to Crowder right before halftime. It was a great throw and catch though, so that play, in particular, could be argued as simply better offense. However, some of the catches allowed to the rookie Mims just weren’t pretty. McCourty allowed the catch in the clip below and then struggled to bring Mims down in the open field.

Just like Jackson, McCourty will be aided by the return of Gilmore. McCourty is a savvy veteran and he’s going to have some nice games down the stretch but at this point in his career, he’s best served as a number three corner.

Let us know your winners and losers from Monday’s game!

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