After each game, we've been highlighting three defensive and three offensive players and looking in detail at their performance. We'll start today with the defense:
With Trumaine Johnson and Morris Claiborne out, this gave us a look at some fresh faces at the cornerback position, including Derrick Jones who played the first defensive snaps of his career having been drafted in the sixth round last season.
Jones was a camp standout, played well in preseason and has looked like a potential special teams contributor, but remained inactive all season despite being on the 53-man roster all year. He had played in three games, but only on special teams last season.
Jones entered the game in nickel packages with starter Buster Skrine reverting to the slot, but he held up well in 38 snaps overall as he didn't give up a single first down.
Jones twice came up and made an open field tackle on a short pass on the outside and also made this play, where he came up to make a third down stop in the red zone, forcing the Patriots to settle for a field goal:
Can it be that after all this time, the one guy they wouldn't give any reps to was the only one who could play zone defense without making a mistake?
Jones also did a good job of ensuring Chris Hogan ran out of room at the back of the end zone on an incompletion and contributed in the running game when he crashed down on the edge on a 3rd-and-short run that was stopped short of the marker.
The only negative he had saw him miss a tackle downfield on a running play, but Rontez Miles bailed him out with a good tackle to ensure it wasn't a much bigger gain.
On the basis of this performance, it will be interesting to see if Jones gets more of a shot at cracking the rotation with the new coaching staff.
Work 'shard, play 'shard
Rashard Robinson was also elevated due to the absences, this time into a starter's role as he played every snap. However, he didn't fare quite so well.
Robinson was targeted six times in the first half, with all six being successfully completed, including one for a touchdown, as he lost contact with Phillip Dorsett at the back of the end zone when the play was extended. Most of these plays were because Robinson was playing too far off so the Patriots took an easy eight or so yards, but he also gave up an 18-yard gain over the middle on a play where he was draped all over the receiver.
On New England's first scoring drive, he gave up three catches including a 3rd-and-3 conversion where he was playing too far off and this play where he missed a tackle:
He also had one other bad missed tackle, although that play didn't count, as Rob Gronkowski's long catch and run was negated by a penalty.
He got some respite in the second half, though, as he wasn't targeted. Tom Brady only threw 11 passes, completing eight, after half time.
For the season, Robinson was targeted nine times and all nine were completed for 126 yards and a touchdown. As a Jet last year, Robinson gave up three catches for 98 yards and a touchdown on four targets. He should be in camp next year, but he's going to be a longshot to make the team unless he turns things around.
This is the end, my only McLend
Steve McLendon has been a solid player for the Jets over the past three seasons, but he's almost 33 now and out of contract at the end of the season, so this may be the last game he plays for the Jets.
McLendon's only two tackles of the game officially were a tackle near the line on a short yardage conversion and a meaningless tackle for loss on the final series. He had one other negated by a penalty.
However, despite not making many direct contributions, McLendon helped blow up three other runs with good penetration. On this play, he lined up at end and got some penetration against a double-team to leverage his way into a running lane to help bottle up a short yardage stuff:
McLendon's contributions as a run stuffer are well documented, but he gives a good effort and makes contributions against the pass from time to time. On one play, he got upfield on the left guard to pressure a Brady throw and on another, he was initially double-teamed, but when the center vacated, he drove the right guard back and shed his block to flush Brady from the pocket.
By all accounts, McLendon has been a solid veteran leader, so perhaps the Jets will look to sign him to a low-cost deal to retain him for one more year if he's not yet ready to retire. If not, then Mike Pennel looks set to step up to be the starting nose next year, unless they add someone else.
We'll be back with the 3-on-O tomorrow.