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Week 17 Game Recap: New York Jets 6, New England Patriots 26


What you need to know

New York Jets

The 2017 New York Jets season ended in a whimper. Down five starters on offense (McCown, Forte, Seferian-Jenkins, Shell, and Winters), the offense sputtered and the defense didn't offer much resistance against Tom Brady, Brandin Cooks, and Dion Lewis. Bryce Petty struggled (again) and the coaching staff did not play Christian Hackenberg. Two seasons on the roster, no regular season snaps for New York's 2016 2nd rounder. Bilal Powell was deployed in workhorse fashion, Robby Anderson was concussed after taking a cheap shot from Stephon Gillmore, and Neal Sterling led the team in receiving yardage. Needless to say, It'll be an interesting offseason in Florham Park.

New England Patriots

Thanks to a strong effort from Tom Brady and Dion Lewis, New England secured the top seed in the AFC playoffs. Rex Burkhead, James White, and Mike Gillislee were all inactive, leaving lead back duties to Lewis. Lewis was dynamic as an inside runner, outside runner, and as a receiver as he accounted for 133 total yards and two touchdowns. Brady tossed two easy touchdown passes, one to Lewis and one to Brandin Cooks. Both touchdown passes were beautifully designed and the playmakers scored with ease. Rob Gronkowski was active and played, but was not targeted. New addition, James Harrison, accounted for two sacks and looked spry.

New York Jets

QB Bryce Petty, 59 offensive snaps, Pass: 19 - 36 - 232 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0
Another week, another poor performance from Petty. New York went 0-for-12 on third downs and was sacked for a safety as Petty's slow decision making led to missed opportunities. New York opted to rotate its offensive lineman throughout the game, giving New England defenders opportunities to tee-off on back-up caliber players. Petty did lose his favorite target, Robby Anderson to a concussion early-on, and opted to lock onto back-up tight end, Neal Sterling. Sterling, who was deployed as an intermediate option, ran wide open when New England deployed zone looks. A lot of completions to Sterling were easy pitch and catches. Petty enters 2018 on the final year of his rookie contract.

RB Bilal Powell, 30 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 46 - 0, Rec: 1 - 10 - 0 (2 targets)
It was a long afternoon for New York's rushing attack. Powell was deployed in workhorse fashion, but did not find much room to work. Powell had a long run of 24 yards on a toss sweep. Otherwise, he was bottled up by an inspired New England defense that locked up the AFC's top seed. Powell enters 2018 on the final year of his 3-year contract.

RB Elijah McGuire, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - -6 - 0, Rec: 3 - 16 - 0 (6 targets)
McGuire capped off his rookie season with a forgettable performance against New England's front seven. McGuire was quickly corralled by New England run stoppers and made three catches for 15 yards. His overall development has been impressive and he's a player to watch in 2018.

RB Matt Forte
Matt Forte was inactive. New York could opt to cut him in the off-season for a small cap hit.

WR Jermaine Kearse, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 59 - 0 (7 targets)
After Anderson departed with a concussion, Kearse took over as the team's top receiver. Kearse made several tough grabs over the middle of the field, including a catch-and-run for 22 yards on a deep crossing route.

WR Robby Anderson, 33 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 1 - 0, Rec: 1 - 2 - 0 (3 targets)
Robby Anderson made one catch for a short gain before suffering a concussion. Stephon Gilmore delivered a cheap hit that led to this concussion. Anderson fell 50 yards short of 1,000 yards, but overall, had a productive season.

WR Chad Hansen, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 15 - 0 (4 targets)
When given snaps, the rookie from Cal displayed impressive route running skills. Hansen had one grab for a 15-yards on a sideline route. Hansen did a nice job of separating and using his hands to catch the ball. He's a player worth watching in 2018.

WR ArDarius Stewart, 22 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 46 - 0 (2 targets)
The rookie from Alabama flashed his big play ability in this game. In the fourth quarter, Stewart dusted his ex-team mate, Cyrus Jones, for a 46-yard gain. Stewart ran a deep seam route and Petty hit him in stride.

TE Neal Sterling, 32 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 74 - 0 (8 targets)
Starting in place of Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Sterling led the team in receiving yardage. Sterling worked the seams and made several big grabs. Sterling had a long catch and run of 35 yards on a deep post route.


New England Patriots

QB Tom Brady, 80 offensive snaps, Pass: 18 - 37 - 190 - 2 TD / 0 INT
Tom Brady capped an MVP-caliber season with an easy win over an uninterested New York Jet defense. New England's offense opted to play Ďfull tilt' in the first half while methodically calling plays in the second half. During the first quarter, Brady took turns playing pitch-and-catch with Danny Amendola, Brandin Cooks, and Dion Lewis. In fact, Brady hit Amendola on a key fourth down to extend a drive that culminated with a 3-yard touchdown run by Lewis. In the second quarter, Brady delivered touchdown strikes to Cooks and Lewis. Midway through the second quarter, Brady hit Cooks on a post route for a 5-yard touchdown. Brady and Cooks benefitted from some good fortune as Buster Skrine and Mo Claiborne collided on the play, leaving Cooks uncovered. Late in the second quarter, Brady hit Lewis on a shallow crossing route for a 5-yard score. On the touchdown strike, Brady waited for Lewis to streak across the line of scrimmage before hitting him in stride and allowing him to use his speed to beat a defender to the pylon. New England held a 21-3 lead at halftime and orchestrated a very conservative second half game plan.

RB Dion Lewis, 52 offensive snaps, Rush: 26 - 93 - 1, Rec: 6 - 40 - 1 (7 targets)
Dion Lewis was dynamic. Functioning as the team's Žbellcow', Lewis was deployed as a runner and as a receiver. As a runner, Lewis ran with toughness between the tackles and with speed on the edges. In the first quarter, Lewis scored the game's first touchdown on a stretch play. Lewis was hit before breaking the plane, but a strong second effort capped off a 9-yard scoring run. In the second quarter, Lewis scored his second touchdown. Brady waited for Lewis to streak across the line of scrimmage before hitting him in stride and allowing him to use his speed to beat a defender to the pylon. Going into the playoffs, Lewis is arguably New England's best playmaker and should be featured early and often.

RB Brandon Bolden, 34 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 46 - 0, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (4 targets)
Bolden served as Dion Lewis' back-up and spelled Lewis throughout the game. Bolden ripped off a few big runs, including a 20-yarder on an inside run.

WR Brandin Cooks, 78 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 8 - 0, Rec: 5 - 79 - 1 (11 targets)
Brandin Cooks was the team's leading receiver and feasted on an overmatched New York secondary. Running short, intermediate, and deep routes, Cooks displayed impressive speed and route running ability. In the second quarter, Cooks scored a post-route. Cooks benefitted from some good fortunate as Buster Skrine and Mo Claibourne collided on the play, leaving Cooks uncovered to complete the 5-yard scoring play. At times, Cooks had some trouble beating press coverage at the line of scrimmage, but when New England schemed him into space, he didn't have any trouble getting open. Cooks had a long play on 37 yards on a deep sideline route where he dusted a defender.

WR Danny Amendola, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 43 - 0 (7 targets)
Danny Amendola served as Brady's safety blanket over the middle. During the first half, Amendola converted key third and fourth down opportunities to put New England in the red zone. New York's nickel corners have struggled all season long, so Amendola didn't have any trouble winning at the line of scrimmage. Amendola had a long catch and run of 16 yards on a crossing route.

WR Phillip Dorsett, 45 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 26 - 0 (5 targets)
Phillip Dorsett is a maddening player. Blessed with great deep speed, Dorsett ran by New York's corners with ease, but missed a few big play opportunities by slowing down at the top of his route. He had a long gain of 11 yards on a sideline route, but could have had so much more. It'll be interested to see how much Brady trusts him in the playoffs.

TE Rob Gronkowski, 58 offensive snaps
Rob Gronkowski was active and played, but functioned as a blocker. He ran a few routes, but Brady did not target him.