Monday, December 31, 2018

Patriots-Jets Takeaways, Metrics: Trey Flowers Flashes Value Before Free Agency

By Doug Kyed
December 31, 2018

You have to search pretty hard to find a flaw in the New England Patriots’ 38-3 win over the New York Jets in their season finale.

The Patriots’ passing attack got back on track, they ran the ball decently well, halted the Jets’ running backs and limited rookie quarterback Sam Darnold to under 200 yards. The Jets weren’t exactly the most challenging Week 17 opponent, but the Patriots did enough to boost confidence heading into the postseason.

Most importantly, the Patriots’ best players — namely quarterback Tom Brady, defensive end Trey Flowers and cornerback Stephon Gilmore — performed very well.

Check out this week’s takeaways and metrics. All stats via Pro Football Focus.

CB Keion Crossen: three catches on three targets, 60 yards
CB JC Jackson: 5-8, 56 yards, PBU
LB Dont’a Hightower: 3-3, 22 yards
S Duron Harmon: 1-1, 17 yards
CB Stephon Gilmore: 2-6, 7 yards, two PBUs
CB Jason McCourty: 1-1, 3 yards
LB Elandon Roberts: 1-2, 2 yards
S Patrick Chung: 0-2
LB Kyle Van Noy: 0-1
S Devin McCourty: 0-1, PBU

— Darnold was smart to go after the Patriots’ rookie cornerbacks. Crossen only played 39 total defensive snaps on the season, so he was an easy target while on the field for 13 plays. Jackson didn’t allow a touchdown all year and this was the most yards he let up in a game his entire rookie season. He outmuscled Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson for his pass breakup late in the game.

— Gilmore shadowed and ultimately shut down Jets No. 1 wideout Robby Anderson.

— It was a good day for Patriots safeties. Chung and McCourty finished the year strong after some early-season hiccups.

DE Trey Flowers: sack, six hurries
DT Lawrence Guy: sack, hurry
DE Derek Rivers: sack, hurry
LB Kyle Van Noy: QB hit, hurry
DE John Simon: QB hit, hurry
DT Adam Butler: sack
CB JC Jackson: sack
S Patrick Chung: hurry

— Flowers is set to become a free agent after the season. He led the Patriots with 7.5 sacks this year, which is a new career high for the four-year veteran. He also forced a fumble in the run game. He was dominant across the board Sunday. The Patriots have nothing close to a replacement for Flowers on their current 53-man roster. He’s as close to a must-sign as the Patriots have had hit free agency in the Bill Belichick era.

— Rivers registered the first sack of his career. He was surprisingly active after a long stretch of healthy scratches.

— Defensive ends Deatrich Wise Jr. and Ufomba Kamalu, linebacker Dont’a Hightower, defensive tackles Malcom Brown and Danny Shelton and cornerback Jonathan Jones failed to generate pressures despite pass-rush snaps.

DE Trey Flowers: four stops
LB Elandon Roberts: three stops
DT Lawrence Guy: two stops
DE Deatrich Wise Jr.: two stops
DT Danny Shelton: one stop
LB Dont’a Hightower: one stop
CB Stephon Gilmore: one stop
S Patrick Chung: one stop
LB Kyle Van Noy: one missed tackle

— The Patriots limited Jets running backs to 3.5 yards per carry, though they did let up a 28-yard scramble to Darnold.

— Jets starting running back Elijah McGuire carried the ball 18 times for 41 yards with his longest run going for 17 yards.

— Roberts had perhaps his best game in a season in which he’s shown growth as the team’s No. 3 linebacker.

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