First impressions: Great escape for Brady and the Pats


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Here are some quick-hit impressions from the Patriots' come-from-behind 22-17 victory over the Jets.


* When the Patriots needed Tom Brady, he gave them his best. With five minutes remaining in the game, beginning on his own 17-yard line, he drove the team down the field with ease on a night where previously he'd struggled for every yard. He completed passes to Julian Edelman and Dion Lewis for 40 combined yards on back-to-back plays. On fourth and four, he hit James White . . . for four. He found Chris Hogan wide open for 25 yards when the Jets defense lost its head for a play and let the speedster run free down the seam. After the two-minute warning, Brady stayed hot and his Malcolm Mitchell on an out-route near the front corner of the end zone -- with Darrelle Revis in coverage -- for six. It was a masterful drive, and not a moment too soon for the Patriots offense. 

* The Patriots knew they'd have their hands full with coach Todd Bowles' defensive front, but were those players considered game-wreckers? Because that's exactly what they were. Brady wasn't sacked, but he was hit five times and pressured often enough that it seemed as though his accuracy was affected. Not every pressure and hit was on the Patriots offensive line, though they were responsible for their fair share. There were occasions where the Jets didn't bite on Patriots play fakes and got into the backfield without issue. One pressure and two hits were the result of play-fakes gone wrong. Joe Thuney was in the middle of things on two quarterback hits, and Marcus Cannon -- who had to deal with Muhammad Wilkerson for portions of the afternoon -- seemed to be in the mix among those responsible on four quarterback pressures. 

* Brady may have been dealing with some lingering soreness, leading to a handful of passes that sailed over the heads of their targets or just barely out of reach. In the third quarter, Brady missed James White on third down, which led to a Stephen Gostkowski field goal. In the fourth, Brady threw one over the head of Chris Hogan, leading to a punt. Later in the final frame, Brady just barely missed Malcolm Mitchell for a long touchdown down the sideline, leading to another Stephen Gostkowski field goal that cut the Jets' lead to 17-16.  

* Gostkowski continues to have a roller-coaster season. He missed a 39-yarder at the end of the first half that would have given the Patriots their first lead of the game headed into the locker room. He made field goals from 28 yards, 29 yards and 41 yards, and he knocked down his only extra-point attempt. The miss will nag at him, though. 

* The Patriots offense had trouble moving the football with Rob Gronkowski in the lineup, but when he left the field with 2:10 left in the first quarter, it certainly didn't help Brady's cause. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels leaned heavily upon Martellus Bennett with Gronkowski out, even handing one off to the big 6-foot-7 tight end in order to come up with different methods to make some traction. On the handoff, Bennett suffered what appeared to be an ankle injury but only missed a handful of plays before returning. Bennett has been dealing with an ankle injury that has limited him in practice since Week 5. He finished the game with three catches for 22 yards and had a drop late in the fourth quarter. 

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