News & Analysis

NFL Week 9 PFF ReFocused: New England Patriots 30, New York Jets 27

Nov 9, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) rushes for a touchdown as New York Jets defensive end Bryce Huff (47) defends during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

This AFC East bout between the 0-8 New York Jets and the 2-5 New England Patriots was expected to be far from exciting, but a down-to-the-wire finish dashed those assumptions.

After building a 7-3 first-quarter lead, Cam Newton and company trailed Joe Flacco and his squad the rest of the way. Yet, after back-to-back horrendous possessions by the Jets, the Patriots found themselves in a 27-27 game with one minute to drive down the field and potentially avoid overtime. And after failing to succeed in such situations in multiple contests this season, Newton took the reins of the offense and set Nick Folk up for the game-winning 51-yard field goal, securing a come-from-behind victory, 30-27.

Editor's note: All of PFF's grades and advanced stats from this game will be finalized and made available to ELITE subscribers within 24 hours of the final whistle.

STORY OF THE GAME

It was not pretty, but the Patriots handed the Jets their ninth loss of the season, putting New York in prime position for the No. 1 overall pick and the opportunity to draft quarterback Trevor Lawrence. New England, meanwhile, had endured four straight losses before Monday night and still sits firmly behind the Buffalo Bills and the Miami Dolphins in the division. 

Newton took the defeats to heart and would not let his team falter this week, even when it looked bleak entering the second half. He completed 27-of-35 passes for 274 yards, avoiding turnover-worthy plays and taking what the defense gave him. He carried the rock 10 times and gained only 16 yards, but he was able to score two touchdowns and picked up multiple short first downs on quarterback sneaks.

Newton was pressured seven times but got rid of the football quickly and did not allow any sacks. He dominated most in the red zone, where he completed all four of his passes, enabling his two plunges into the endzone. He now has eight rushing touchdowns in the red zone, which are the most from a quarterback this season and the second-most from any player — behind only Dalvin Cook’s nine scores. 

A key reason for Newton’s success was Jakobi Meyers getting open seemingly every play. He had by far the best outing of his young career, hauling in 12 receptions for a whopping 169 yards, gashing the Jets' secondary with reckless abandon. The ground game was led by Damien Harris and Rex Burkhead, who combined for 26 carries, 127 yards and one touchdown. 

The Jets were underdogs in the contest with Sam Darnold injured, but Flacco gave them life. He completed 72% of his passes for 262 yards and three touchdowns. His 10.5 yards per attempt were the fourth-most this week, and his 13.7-yard average depth of target was the fourth-highest in a game this season.

Flacco was high-flying up until his final two possessions, the first of which was fresh off a Patriots touchdown, and he immediately gave the ball back on an ill-advised, deep interception. On the very next drive, he took a horrendous sack on third down despite the checkdown being open with just under a minute left, affording the Patriots one more possession to win the game. 

Breshad Perriman was a major factor in Flacco’s success, as he was open deep on multiple occasions, reeling in five passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns — both of which came on targets 20-plus yards downfield. It would not have been a Jets game without head coach Adam Gase forcing the ball to Frank Gore, who was given 13 carries that he turned into an inefficient 46 scoreless yards. 

Nov 9, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Jets safety Ashtyn Davis (32) gets ready to make a catch during practice before the game against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin R. Wexler/NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK

ROOKIE WATCH

There were plenty of rookies on the field tonight, mainly stemming from the Jets’ sideline. First-round offensive tackle Mekhi Becton played well but was forced out due to injury and registered only 15 snaps. Receiver Denzel Mims was explosive, as three of his four receptions went for 15 or more yards en route to his 62 total yards. Running back La’Mical Perine is still confined to the backup role behind the ageless wonder that is Gore, and thus, he had just eight touches for 38 scoreless yards. 

Defensively, safety Ashtyn Davis shined, making a nice play on the ball on a late third down and picking up two tackles in coverage, one of which constituted a defensive stop. Cornerback Bryce Hall and edge defender Bryce Huff both saw over 20 snaps, but neither was able to make a real impact. 

For the Patriots, offensive lineman Michael Onwenu was the only rookie to see over 10 snaps on the night. He continued his elite play this season, allowing zero quarterback pressures on 36 reps in pass protection and creating lanes in the run game. 

ELITE subscribers can view player grades, advanced statistics, positional snap counts and more in Premium Stats 2.0.

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