NE-NYJ grades: Brady, Hightower lead Patriots past Jets

Highest-graded players and top takeaways from the Patriots' Week 12 AFC East win over the Jets.

| 7 months ago
Tom Brady

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

NE-NYJ grades: Brady, Hightower lead Patriots past Jets

New England Patriots 22, New York Jets 17

Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the New England Patriots’ 22-17 Week 12 victory over the New York Jets:

New England Patriots

Quarterback grade: Tom Brady, 83.1

Slow start ends with Brady of old

The bum knee acquired in Week 11 against the 49ers appeared to hinder QB Tom Brady’s accuracy throughout the first quarter on Sunday. However, Brady would emerge in the fourth quarter to complete 10-of-16 passes for 124 yards and the game-deciding 8-yard touchdown on an out-route to WR Malcolm Mitchell. Brady excelled when targeting receivers between 10 and 19 yards downfield against the Jets, completing all four such targets for 60 yards and, despite the modest statistical output for Brady’s reputation, collected another victory for New England.

Tom Brady vs pressure

Top offensive grades:

WR Malcolm Mitchell, 79.3

LT Nate Solder, 78.8

RG Shaquille Mason, 77.9

HB LeGarrette Blount, 73.7

WR Chris Hogan, 72.0

Injuries allow newcomers to contribute

TE Rob Gronkowski left early in the first quarter due to a back injury after failing to collect either of his targets. TE Martellus Bennett would injure his ankle on the first play of the third quarter and, despite returning to log a total of 58 snaps, provided next to nothing the rest of the way. Thankfully for New England, rookie wideout Malcolm Mitchell, offseason free-agent acquisition Chris Hogan, and a recent activation from injured reserve, HB Dion Lewis, helped pave the way to victory. Lewis earned the game’s highest receiving grade (82.3), highlighted by a pair of clutch receptions in the fourth quarter. While HB LeGarrette Blount appeared to do more dancing in the backfield than expected from the north-south bruiser, he managed to break off a pair of 23-yard runs—the second of which was recorded in the final minutes.

Top defensive grades:

LB Dont’a Hightower, 83.3

ED Chris Long, 83.0

S Devin McCourty, 81.9

DI Malcom Brown, 79.8

CB Logan Ryan, 74.6

Patriots’ defense does just enough to secure the win

The Patriots’ defenders were only able to collect one sack and one hit on the quarterback, but they also only missed a single tackle. CB Malcolm Butler (69.0) permitted each of his six targeted coverage responsibilities to secure the football for 106 yards, a perfect passer rating allowed (158.3), and both of New York’s receiving touchdowns. MLB Dont’a Hightower was stout in run defense, and edge rusher Chris Long emerged as the star performer for the unit after forcing a strip-sack on the Jets’ final play.

New York Jets

Quarterback grade: Ryan Fitzpatrick, 84.6

Another “Fitz-magic” sighting on Sunday

While he didn’t come away with the victory, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick finally submitted a performance that should cement his place as the team’s starter. Fitzpatrick found little resistance from the New England secondary, and recorded a 142.7 passer rating when blitzed.

Ryan Fitzpatrick vs pressure

Top offensive grades:

WR Quincy Enunwa, 79.8

WR Brandon Marshall, 77.5

HB Bilal Powell, 74.8

RG Brian Winters, 68.3

HB Matt Forte, 67.2

Jets’ passing offense exceeds expectations

While the backfield would only average 2.8 yards over 23 attempts with a long of 7 yards, the passing game shredded the New England secondary. Wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Quincy Enunwa were responsible for most of the damage, combining for 11 receptions, 175 yards, and both touchdowns.

Top defensive grades:

LB David Harris, 85.5

SS Calvin Pryor, 82.2

FS Marcus Gilchrist, 75.9

RE Leonard Williams, 75.7

LB Darron Lee, 75.7

New York defense falters late

New York would maintain its steady run defense by allowing 4.2 yards per attempt, limiting New England receivers to a 6.5-yard-per-target average. However, Patriots QB Tom Brady took advantage of soft coverage from the Jets’ cornerbacks—Darrelle Revis (55.5 game grade) and Buster Skrine (50.0)—to send New York to a 3-8 record. Rookie ILB Darron Lee out of Ohio State led the team with eight solo tackles and three assists, and ILB David Harris recorded the game-high grade (85.5) after recording four stops and seven solo tackles.

PFF Game-Ball Winner: Tom Brady, QB, Patriots

PFF’s player grading process includes multiple reviews, which may change the grade initially published in order to increase its accuracy. Learn more about how we grade and access grades for every player through each week of the NFL season by subscribing to Player Grades.

| Analyst

Wes is an analyst and fantasy correspondent at Pro Football Focus. He's been with the company since 2014, and his work has been featured on DraftKings Playbook and FantasyPros.

  • AJ

    I know Brady didn’t get sacked, but how many times was he hit? Before this game, I was anticipating that from now through the end of the season, Brady would be taking a lot of hits because of the teams left on the schedule.

    • Sam Serra

      True, and things will only get worser now that his knee is banged up, this will make him even less mobile than usual.

      • Robert Anasi

        Jets only recorded 4 QB hits for the game and none after the first quarter – pretty poor showing against a hobbled senior citizen. Against a good Jets line, the Patriots OL really stepped up (granted, Brady was getting rid of the ball quick).

  • j James

    Jesus you suck. Kiss the jets ass a little more maybe? From NY probably.

    • crosseyedlemon

      Next you’ll be blaming New Yorkers for the butt kicking Trump gave you. It’s possible the Patriots need a president for their booster club so why don’t you campaign for that.

      • j James

        I’m a Republican you ass. The avatar is called satire. Look it up not that you know what a dictionary is

      • j James

        And you lost. Lol. The jets suck. Like their fans.