ReFo: Patriots @ Jets, Week 16
In a game billed as Rex Ryan’s last game against the Patriots as the head coach of the Jets, Ryan’s team once again gave the Patriots a tough fight. For the second time this year, however, the Patriots were able to block a game-winning field goal attempt and are now either a win, or a Denver loss away from clinching home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Here are the key performances from the game.
New England Patriots – Performances of Note
Dont’a Hightower, LB: +3.6
Breakdown: Hightower’s excellent season continued as the linebacker earned positive grades in run defense, pass coverage and pass rushing. The third-year player continues to lead all inside linebackers with a +27.2 grade. Hightower had a sack and a hurry in 12 pass rushes, and was the only Patriots defender with a green coverage grade.
Signature Play: On 3rd-and-4 with 6:08 left in the game, Hightower took advantage of an excellent blitz design that confused the Jets’ pass protection, and sacked Geno Smith for a 10-yard loss. The change in field position was a factor in the missed field goal on the next play that would have given the Jets the lead.
Vince Wilfork, DL: +1.8
Breakdown: Wilfork earned a positive run defense grade (+3.0) for the sixth consecutive game, and now ranks fifth among 3-4 defensive ends with a +15.1 run defense grade for the season. The former Hurricane had four stops, and combined with Sealver Siliga and Alan Branch to help hold the Jets to 3.6 yards per carry.
Signature Play: Wilfork made the play of the game, blocking Nick Folk’s go-ahead field goal attempt on the Jets’ final play of the fourth quarter.
Patrick Chung, SS: -1.8
Breakdown: Tough day in coverage for Chung, allowing all three passes in his direction to be completed for 60 yards and a touchdown. Chung allowed gains of 15 and 20 yards to Jeff Cumberland, and a 25-yard catch to Jeremy Kerley, giving Geno Smith a perfect 158.3 passer rating on those three plays.
Signature Play: On the 20-yard touchdown catch to Cumberland in the second quarter, Chung bit hard on play action and had no chance of recovering in time. Chung had no deep safety to help him out, giving Smith an easy touchdown throw.
New York Jets – Performances of Note
Sheldon Richardson, DL: +2.0
Breakdown: Richardson earned a +2.4 pass rush grade after recording three hurries and a sack of Tom Brady. Richardson ranks fourth among 3-4 defensive ends in Pass Rushing Productivity, and has earned positive pass rushing grades in five consecutive games.
Signature Play: Richardson’s sack of Brady was a big one, as there were 48 seconds left in the half and New England was looking to use their two remaining timeouts and put points on the board. After Richardson and Calvin Pace combined to take the QB down at the New England 10, The Patriots chose to kneel the ball and end the half.
Willie Colon, RG: -3.2
Breakdown: Colon spent a good amount of the game lined up across from Wilfork, and lost the matchup decisively. Colon finished with a -3.7 run blocking grade, and allowed a sack and a hit in pass protection.
Signature Stat: Run blocking has been a major issue for Colon all season, and he now ranks 76th among guards in that area.
Demario Davis, ILB: +2.3 and David Harris, ILB: +2.8
Breakdown: Each inside linebacker had a sack, and earned positive grades in run defense. They really shined in coverage yesterday, combining for a +3.9 grade after Brady was 3-7 for 13 yards when targeting the pair.
Signature Play: When Davis and Harris were covering Rob Gronkowski, Brady was 2-3 for 9 yards including a pass defensed.
PFF Game Ball
Vince Wilfork had a solid game in run defense, but his win-preserving field goal block late in the fourth quarter earns him the game ball.