Malcolm Mitchell beats Revis as Patriots slip past Jets

Rookie wideout Malcolm Mitchell beat Darrelle Revis' coverage for a pair of touchdowns, leading the New England Patriots (9-2) to a nail-biting 22-17 victory over the New York Jets (3-8) in Week 12. Here's what we learned:

  1. Each of the previous six matchups between these two AFC East rivals had been decided by six points or fewer. This one followed the same script. As they are wont to do, the Jets pushed a slightly gimpy Tom Brady out of his comfort zone, pressuring him up the middle for three quarters. Minus All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots' offense failed to manufacture a big play until passes of 23, 24 and 25 yards to Chris Hogan, Julian Edelman and Hogan again in the fourth quarter. Down 17-16 with just under three minutes remaining, Bill Belichick eschewed a 54-yard field-goal attempt on fourth-and-4. James White rewarded him with a first down, setting up Mitchell's game-winning touchdown versus the ghost of Revis.
  1. While preseason sensation A.J. Derby is playing meaningful snaps for the Broncos, the Patriots are bemoaning their lack of quality tight-end depth. A month after drawing praise from Tony Gonzalez as the greatest tight-end duo in NFL history, Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett were too injured to do much damage Sunday. Gronkowski never returned after exiting with a back issue late in the first quarter. Bennett appeared to aggravate an ankle injury that has been dogging him since Week 5. If the dynamic tight-end duo isn't healthy, Brady's offense devolves into a methodical, dink-and-dunk horizontal attack with little margin for error.
  1. This game displayed the yin and the yang of Ryan Fitzpatrick as Todd Bowles' chosen quarterback. Fitzpatrick kept the score competitive against the AFC's dominant superpower, making a handful of big throws to Quincy Enunwa and Brandon Marshall. He was also stripped by Chris Long with the game on the line, symbolic of a Jets two-minute offense that has yet to produce a point this season. Even with the spate of untimely miscues the past two months, there's no question Fitzpatrick runs a smoother, more variable offense than raw second-year signal-caller Bryce Petty. Can Bowles sell Petty to his veteran locker room before mid-December in a lost season?
  1. Enunwa deserves praise for a trio of highlight-reel catches en route to a team-high 109 yards. Robby Anderson has shown flashes of potential suggesting he has a chance to be next year's version of Enunwa as a breakout receiver, but the undrafted rookie out of Temple needs to add 10-15 pounds of muscle to his slight frame.
  1. Curious as to how the Patriots would utilize pass-catching specialists Dion Lewis and James White now that Lewis is healthy? Although both backs remain active in Brady's aerial attack, the coaches clearly have more faith in Lewis as a runner. Lewis has 11 rushing attempts compared to zero for White over the past two weeks.
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