We'll get into all the positional ratings and reviews, gamecharts, 3 up/3 down and nine video breakdowns in a minute, but we need to start by giving some love to the unit that actually deserved to be talked about after the 27-13 win over Jets...
Lost in all the talk about the Patriots' offensive performance against the Jets was the fact that overall, the defense had a pretty nice day for itself.
(Seriously, has there ever been more wasted written and spoken words about a 27-point offensive output against a Jets' defense that is the epitome of average -- 15th in overall defensive DVOA, 15th vs. pass, 19th vs. rush -- and allowed 41 points and 214 rushing yards to the Bills on the same field in New York's last game, where the Bills put up 31 in the first half, by the way? The way everyone's been talking up Rob Gronkowski, Sony Michel and the offense, you would have thought the Patriots put up a 50-burger on the '85 Bears. But we digress...)
Sure, there were some issues — especially in the first quarter — and some nagging mistakes you'd expect to be cleaned up by now, especially against a unit that's 30th in DVOA. But in the absence of a clear barometer via the opponent, you're looking for execution and improvement in a few key areas.
The Patriots got that against the Jets. Let's take a look at the promising signs:
Of course this happens. The Patriots' defense has been dogged all year about its lack of a pass rush and they finally unleash consistent pressure against the Jets ... and no one says a word about it.
But it was there. In levels that we haven't seen in at least a few years.