Welcome to another edition of Bumper Old School Analysis as we review the Patriots-Jets game from Sunday afternoon.
Let's go old school and recap how the Jets played in depth on a position-by-position basis:
Quarterback - Sam as it ever was
After the game, Sam Darnold remarked how embarrassing it was to lose 38-3, but he was one of the last people who should be apologizing because he actually played quite well in a tough situation, although he was a bit erratic early on. He ended up 16-of-28 for 167 yards, with two passes dropped and a few others arguably also catchable. He also added a 28-yard run.
Darnold drove the Jets down inside the 10 twice, but the Jets turned the ball over on downs each time. He also had a fumble returned for a touchdown, the first time he's lost the ball while getting hit all season.
The usual deep dive with more in-depth coverage of Darnold's performance will follow tomorrow.
Running Backs - McGuire you running up the middle?
If you look at the box score, you might think the Jets did a pretty good job in the running game, because they racked up 104 yards on 23 carries. However, 12 of Elijah McGuire's 18 carries were stopped for a gain of one yard or less.
To McGuire's credit, he kept plugging away and did have a few nice plays, including a 17-yard run and a 17-yard catch. However, he also lost a fumble for the second time this month.
Interestingly, when not giving the ball anyone other than McGuire, the Jets had success. In addition to Darnold's long scramble, Trenton Cannon and the debuting De'Angelo Henderson combined for 32 yards on four carries.
However, Henderson didn't help his case to return next year when he also fumbled in the last minute. As for Cannon, he failed to come up with an over-the-shoulder catch after getting a step on Kyle Van Noy down the sideline.
The Jets continue to persevere with the Dakota Dozier on offense experiment, but he actually played more snaps as an extra tight end this week and even lined up once in the slot. As a fullback, he badly whiffed on his lead block on a fourth down run that was stuffed.
Offensive Line - Brent Torment
Obviously, the percentage of runs that were stuffed at the line had a lot to do with the offensive line. Each of the starters were responsible for runs failing.
Right guard Brian Winters in particular had a really bad first half, allowing a number of runs to be blown up. However he was more effective in the second half. Right tackle Brent Qvale was also effective on a few second half runs, but had a holding penalty and also false started in the first half.
Jonotthan Harrison's best block of the day sprung Henderson for his 13-yard run on the last play only for it to end with Henderson losing a fumble. Otherwise he got stood up at the line of scrimmage a few times.
On the left side, Spencer Long had a few good combo blocks with Kelvin Beachum, but also some negative plays, including a couple where he overshot his target in space. Beachum also got beaten at the point of attack a few times.
In pass protection, the Jets didn't give up a sack until the last play of the first half, but the Patriots ended up with four. One of the sacks saw Qvale badly beaten off the edge. Another was a coverage sack after Harrison gave up interior pressure. The third saw Winters beaten into the backfield and Darnold went down as the pocket collapsed. Finally, the one which saw Darnold's fumble returned for a touchdown came as Qvale was beaten off the edge and Darnold tried to step up.
Beachum, Long and Harrison otherwise held up quite well in pass protection, but Winters got beaten a couple of other times and Qvale gave up a hit.
The Jets obviously need to upgrade their offensive line and an injection of youth and potential is essential. However, don't be surprised to see most of the lineman that have played this year back in camp next summer.
Receivers - Deontay runs wilder
After having been productive over the past three weeks, this was a quiet game for Robby Anderson and Chris Herndon. Anderson caught three passes for 24 yards and Herndon had just one catch for eight yards.
Herndon, whose blocking has definitely improved over the course of the season, had a couple of missed blocks on runs that were stuffed and also gave up a pressure in pass protection, although that was the play where Darnold ran for a big gain.
Anderson almost came up with the ball on three other plays and arguably should have drawn a defensive penalty on three separate occasions, but the Patriots were able to keep him quiet by employing Stephon Gilmore in tight coverage and constantly rolling safety help to that side.
With Quincy Enunwa and Jermaine Kearse both out, the Patriots obviously schemed to take Anderson and Herndon out of the game. The only other receiver to really take advantage of this was Deontay Burnett, who stepped up with five catches for 73 yards.
Burnett, who had a couple of nice sideline catches, looks like a keeper for next season. It seems baffling that he was inactive while Rishard Matthews was getting reps earlier in the season.
Andre Roberts was the other receiver to get significant reps, ending up with three catches for 28 yards, including one nice snag over the middle.
Charone Peake and new addition JJ Jones were each in for a couple of plays. Jones got credit for a short catch, even though he lost the ball as he was going out of bounds. He also did a great job of blocking on this play:
At tight end, Jordan Leggett had one first down catch underneath, but also was unsuccessfully targeted three times, including two on plays that might actually have been intended for a receiver further downfield as he tipped a high ball down the seam.
Clive Walford was in the starting line-up as the Jets opened up in a three-tight end set. He only played one other snap though.
Defensive Line - Hank draws a blank
The Jets weren't dominated up front as badly as they were in the first meeting between these two teams, but still gave up 131 yards on the ground.
Leonard Williams had a productive game despite being constantly double teamed. He ended up with six tackles, including a sack and a tackle for loss, although they both came in the fourth quarter.
It was a quiet game for Henry Anderson, though. He didn't officially register a tackle or a hit and was called for a roughing the passer penalty on a 3rd-and-18 incompletion, although this was a clear flop by Tom Brady.
Steve McLendon and Mike Pennel combined for five tackles and each was also credited with a hit on Brady. McLendon had a tackle for loss, but Pennel was flagged once for illegal hands to the face.
Nathan Shepherd also had a quiet game, although he chased Brady from the pocket on one play. He had one missed tackle in the hole.
Linebackers - Struggling to Cope
A common problem throughout the season once again reared its head as the Patriots ran a lot of end around, misdirection or jet sweep type plays to get outside. Frankie Luvu, Bronson Kaufusi, Brandon Copeland and Jordan Jenkins were all caught inside on such plays.
Kaufusi and Copeland each batted a pass down at the line, but Jenkins was the only one of the four to register a pressure as he got around the edge just once. Luvu and Kaufusi also failed to record a tackle, while Copeland and Jenkins had one each with Copeland's coming on a short pass.
Over the course of the year, this group has produced more than expected but their lack of production in this game with the Jets reluctant to blitz too often underlines how getting a quality edge rusher should be an offseason priority.
On the inside, Neville Hewitt and Avery Williamson had six tackles each but were taken out of multiple plays at the second level and each gave up a touchdown in coverage.
This was probably Williamson's worst play against the run:
Defensive Backs - Fully Bones'd
With Trumaine Johnson and Darryl Roberts benched and Morris Claiborne missing his first game of the season, this was an interesting test for some of the Jets' young cornerbacks.
Rashard Robinson got the start and Derrick Jones entered the game in nickel packages with Buster Skrine reverting to the slot.
Robinson was generally playing too far off his man and gave up six catches on seven targets, including a touchdown, as a result.
However, Jones only gave up 18 yards on four targets and made some important open field tackles. It's interesting that he was more impressive than Robinson given how Todd Bowles had heaped praised on Robinson but left Jones on the inactive list all year.
As for Skrine, he was credited with a pass defensed, but also gave up several catches, including a 20-yarder. The Patriots final touchdown was something we've seen many times this year, as Skrine's man ran a crossing route and nobody picked him up. Clearly Skrine and Hewitt weren't on the same page on that play, as Hewitt would have been the only other player in position to cover the open receiver.
Rookie Parry Nickerson stepped in for an injured Skrine a couple of times but was in for just three snaps in total.
Team MVP Jamal Adams once again was productive as he racked up 11 tackles. However, more impressive than that was how he impacted the Patriots' running game with some fierce run blitzes.
Perhaps this one didn't affect the run, but this is incredible physicality from a safety:
Finally, Rontez Miles played every snap as the free safety in place of Roberts and held up well. Most of his five tackles came down the field, but he was in on one run stuff and had a touchdown saving tackle in the open field.
Special Teams - Keep it away from Dre
Miles also had a good game on special teams, as he was credited with two tackles and almost forced a fumble. Cannon, who came on really strong over the course of the season, also had two special teams tackles, blowing up a punt return on one.
In the kicking game, Lachlan Edwards had decent numbers on his five punts but Jason Myers didn't get to kick much because the Jets kept going for it on fourth down. Myers missed out on the chance to break some franchise records, but by making his lone attempt, he did tie Nick Folk's record for the most accurate season kicking field goals in franchise history.
In the return game, Andre Roberts didn't get many chances to improve on his amazing season, although he had kickoff returns of 32 and 27 yards. The Patriots opted to keep the ball away from him and the Jets were woefully ill-prepared for this as Herndon inexplicably took a fair catch at the 22 on one and Kaufusi muffed another and had to fall on it.
This was a brutal way to end the season, but the most important thing is that Darnold still played pretty well so the optimism over his solid finish to the year is not lost.
It was quite apparent that several players were going through the motions, which is hardly surprising with no playing time to be earned and little to be gained from impressing the coaching staff.
The blown coverages were disappointing, but nothing new - and probably also to be expected with a few mainstays missing.
None of this reflects well upon Bowles and his staff and clearly big changes are forthcoming both in terms of the coaching staff and the roster. We can only hope that whoever comes in next fares much better.