By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Patriots had to eke out a last-second win against a team with no wins. Their 30-27 victory over the Jets gets the Pats to 3-5 and still afloat in the loss column in the AFC, but it felt like a loss having to come from behind and beat such a bad team. But there were things to like in the end.
Here are the Patriots’ “ups” and “downs” from Monday’s win over the Jets.
WR Jakobi Meyers. The second-year pro is officially entrenched as the No. 1 wide receiver now. He led all Patriots receivers with 14 targets, 12 catches, and 169 yards against the Jets. Damiere Byrd had a decent game as well, helping set up the Pats’ game-tying touchdown drive in the fourth quarter with a 31-yard catch-and-run.
K Nick Folk. I thought this guy couldn’t hit the long one? Not only did Folk make a kick from 51 yards, he did it in the closing seconds to give the Patriots a gotta-have-it walkoff win. They didn’t have to chance it in overtime thanks to Folk’s clutch boot.
RG Shaq Mason. The Patriots had success running the ball up the middle for much of the night, and Mason keyed a lot of that with his blocking. If not for getting pushed back on a fourth-down turnover, David Andrews would have been an easy “up” as well.
RBs Rex Burkhead and Damien Harris. Both of the Patriots’ backs of choice on the ground took advantage of nice holes through the middle of the point of attack and ran hard. It was Burkhead’s best game since Week 3 against the Raiders and Harris’ second strong performance in a row.
CB J.C. Jackson. Despite a late interception that gave the Patriots a chance to tie the game late in the fourth quarter, Jackson was a huge reason why the Patriots were down on the scoreboard in the first place. Joe Flacco burned Jackson deep down the field for two touchdowns, one of which saw Jackson just slip and fall to leave Breshad Perriman wide open. Jackson has been a very good corner for the Patriots since his career started in 2018, but he may not be ready for No. 1 cornerback status just yet after taking a step back this week.
CB Jason McCourty. Though Jackson got burned for the biggest plays, McCourty didn’t help matters with a 42-yard pass interference flag that helped set up a Jets touchdown in the final minute of the first half. The Patriots’ seemingly deep cornerback position has been put to the test without Stephon Gilmore in back-to-back games, and now it’s clear after the Jets torched them how valuable No. 24 is.
Patriots front-seven. Tashawn Bower’s early missed tackle against Frank Gore, which went from a loss of yardage to a third-down conversion on the Jets’ opening drive, set the stage for another lackluster night by a depleted front-seven. It’s not totally fair to single out Bower. But his mere presence at the start of the game is an indictment on the Patriots’ roster-building and lack of depth on the defensive line and at linebacker.
Next ups & downs come after the Patriots’ game against the Ravens next Sunday night.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff or send him a nasty email at firstname.lastname@example.org.