Pats throttle Jets with eye on home-field advantage

The Patriots (13-2) throttled a sleepwalking Jets team, 41-3 on Saturday afternoon in Foxborough from the opening whistle. Here's what we learned...

  1. What did we expect? Bill Belichick does not sleepwalk through football games, but there was every opportunity to on Saturday. The Patriots scored their first two touchdowns of the game on simple post routes with no safety help over the top. The second was scored by Matt Lengel, a 25-year-old man from Mechanicsburg, Pa., who has never caught a pass in a professional football game before. When Brady is extremely comfortable, his drop backs take on a near-rhythmic consistency, with a little bounce just before he releases the football. On Saturday, a complete lack of awareness from the Jets secondary allowed the league's best quarterback to operate like a metronome and complete passes like this.
  1. In fairness to Jets coach Todd Bowles, on Saturday we saw why the team has been so hesitant to throw their young quarterbacks into the fire. Truly, I get it now. This is not a professional-grade offense and if they believed Christian Hackenberg has any sort of fragility in his makeup, there was no reason to subject him to the pounding that Bryce Petty and Ryan Fitzpatrick took on Sunday. Petty injured his shoulder after having to make a tackle on a Khiry Robinson fumble and did not return. This was a week after he was nearly split in half by Cameron Wake and Ndamukong Suh. Fitzpatrick was constantly on the run. I wonder if getting squeezed out of the QB situation next year might end up being the best thing that could possibly happen to Petty, who certainly won't develop here. As for Hackenberg ... good luck in 2017.
  1. Saturday will be the third time in four weeks that the Jets (4-11) have had their effort seriously questioned. The 41-10 blowout loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Monday Night Football back on Dec. 5 turned out to be a sign of things to come instead of an outlier. A four-touchdown performance by Matt Moore a week ago in a 34-13 win was the next step. This offseason, Jets owner Woody Johnson -- or whomever runs his football operations -- needs to make a decision that could have long-term ramifications for the franchise. What is really the problem here? The effort, or the talent?
  1. There is an art form to the short-yardage touchdown and LeGarrette Blount has perfected it. When we talk about Pro Bowl snubs, Blount's name has to be high on the list (he flew so under the radar that he even missed my snubs list). Blount came into the day seventh in rushing yards (1,060) but first in rushing touchdowns (15). He added two more against a still-talented Jets defense line to bring his total to 17. He could very well become the first Patriot to finish with the league lead in rushing touchdowns on the season. His ability to single-handedly convert the Patriots into a monster on the ground is invaluable in January.
  1. Personal troubles aside, Michael Floyd got some reps in New England on Sunday. Sporting No. 14, the former Cardinals first-round pick caught one pass for six yards. I counted three targets, with one near touchdown from Jimmy Garoppolo.
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