Pats Vs. Jets First Half Thoughts
As the New England Patriots head to halftime of their regular season finale against the New York Jets, leading 21-3, here are some first half thoughts:
A Cold One- At the game's start, the low temperature of just 13 degrees was recorded as the lowest regular season game temp in franchise history. Only a 2004 playoff game against the Tennessee Titans had a lower starting temperature, in fact. With a significant windchill that made it feel like -2 degrees on the field, it was no surprise that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady decided to employ his scuba suit for under his uniform. Throughout the first half of play, it was clear that players on both teams were struggling to adjust to the cold weather. With the temperature likely to drop further down as the game goes on, look to see if it factors into the remaining two quarters.
A Quick Start- The Pats, contrary to their typical form, elected to receive the ball, after winning the coin toss. Though the team usually defers to the second half, they must have seen something they liked and wasted little time trying to expose it. The Pats took the ball and moved it 75 yards down the field, on 13 plays, into the end zone. Quarterback Tom Brady completed six of seven passes on that opening drive for 50 yards, including going a perfect four 4-4 for 43 yards to wide out Danny Amendola. Running back Dion Lewis accounted for the remaining 32 yards on the drive, including the 3-yard rush into the end zone to end the drive with a score.
A Struggle In The Middle- After the hot start, the Patriot offense seemed to lose their way a bit, in the middle of the first half. New England was forced to punt the ball on their next three drives, having totaled only 18 yards of offense on 13 plays in that sequence. The line also seemed to struggle against the New York front, which kept bringing pressure on Brady.
Finishing Strong- Though they stumbled through the end of the first and beginning of the second quarter, the Patriot offense righted the ship and finished the half on a strong note. New England scored touchdowns on their final two drives of the half, to balloon their lead to 18 points. It was a stretch in which they ran 19 plays an totaled 131 yards.
Dion Doing His Thing- With Rex Burkhead, James White and Mike Gillislee all inactive this week, due to injuries, and Brandon Bolden as his only teammate in the backfield with his, Patriots running back Dion Lewis carried the load once again for the team, through the first half. Lewis played most of the first half snaps, rushing for 47 yards on 16 carries and catching another five passes for 32 yards. Lewis also got into the end zone twice, in the first half, running the ball in from three yards out on the opening drive and catching a touchdown pass just before the half.
Harrison On The Field- Linebacker James Harrison was on the field for the Patriots defense for multiple plays in the first half. While most plays were ran to the opposite side of the field, when he was in the game, Harrison did record one tackle in the first half.