The New England Patriots pulled away with a 22-17 win over the New York Jets on Sunday to get back to .500 and improve to 4-4 on the season. With that, we take a look at the five players most responsible for the win.
5. Rhamondre Stevenson
The second-year running back may have solely carried the Patriots' offense to victory.
Stevenson was a force in both the passing and ground games. He had 71 rushing yards on 16 carries and seven receptions for 72 yards for what might have been the most well-rounded performance of his young career.
That might not have been the impressive thing about Stevenson's performance on Sunday, though. With the Patriots' offensive line consistently beaten by the Jets' front seven, Stevenson showed out, recording 83 yards after contact on just his carries alone, per Pro Football Focus. That means that he turned negative runs into positive gains on Sunday.
There were a pair of instances in which Stevenson made plays that should've resulted in non-noteworthy plays. The first came on the opening play of the Patriots' second drive when he shed a couple tackles behind the left side of the offensive line, churning for a 14-yard gain. That play got the Patriots' rolling on the drive, which resulted in a field goal and their first points of the game.
This week in "Rhamondre Stevenson WHOOP" pic.twitter.com/bOhGLp4yg4
— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) October 31, 2022
Stevenson's second big play of the game was on New England's opening play of the second half. After taking a handoff to the left, Stevenson met immediate traffic at the line of scrimmage. Not only was he able to get out of it though, he turned right and ran upfield and broke two more tackles for a 27-yard gain. The carry set the Patriots up for their only touchdown of the day and was possibly a difference-maker in the win.
A pretty impressive run by @dreeday32 to start the Pats 2nd half!
📺: #NEvsNYJ on CBS
📱: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/FzCADVP5Ro pic.twitter.com/pno32YpS6i
— NFL (@NFL) October 30, 2022
4. Jakobi Meyers
The veteran wideout continued to show why he's a safety valve for Mac Jones and other Patriots quarterbacks. He got open quickly on many plays to record nine receptions on 12 targets for 60 yards.
Meyers made an impact on two of the Patriots' first two third-down situations, picking up first downs on passes short of the sticks for gains of 16 and 13 yards, respectively.
Meyers' top moment of the day though came at the beginning of the second half. With the Patriots stuck in a fourth-and-1 spot at the Jets' 5-yard line, Meyers ran a perfectly executed route to not only slip open for a quick reception, but he also found the open space to score a touchdown.
Old enough to remember when Jakobi Meyers couldn’t score TDs https://t.co/if9gphAOVF
— Mojo Markets (@mojo) October 30, 2022
Meyers added a few more receptions in the game, catching short, quick strikes from Jones to help the Patriots move the ball down the field in possessions that resulted in field goals.
3. Matthew Judon
2. Deatrich Wise Jr.
Entering the game, Matthew Judon was the NFL's leading sack-getter with 8.5 sacks. He didn't add to his total on Sunday, but he made a huge impact.
New England appeared to deploy its star pass-rusher as a blitzer too much. Yet, he recorded seven pressures on Wilson's 44 dropbacks. His first big pressure came late in the first half, when he rushed to Zach Wilson untouched, forcing the Jets quarterback to throw earlier than he would've liked. Wilson had to throw the ball of his backfoot, which resulted in an easy interception for Patriots linebacker Ja'Whaun Bentley.
Second career pick for @NVBentley33!
📺: #NEvsNYJ on @NFLonCBS pic.twitter.com/a0w93yWa9w
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) October 30, 2022
Late in the third quarter, Judon didn't blitz Wilson right away as he covered Jets tight end Tyler Conklin for a bit first. Once Conklin released, Judon ran toward Wilson, getting the quarterback to roll far right. Wilson attempted to throw the ball away, but the ball landed in Devin McCourty's hands instead.
🚨 INTERCEPTION 🚨
Zach Wilson tried to throw the ball away, but it ends up in the hands of Devin McCourty!pic.twitter.com/2Xy60NmjuR
— Patriots Nation (@PatsNationCP) October 30, 2022
Judon didn't have as much of an impact on McCourty's second interception it looked like. His initial pressure got Wilson to roll out of the pocket though, where Deatrich Wise got in Wilson's face before he threw it to McCourty.
Devin McCourty AGAIN! 😱
📺: #NEvsNYJ on CBS
📱: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/FzCADVP5Ro pic.twitter.com/4bz1lx3MEc
— NFL (@NFL) October 30, 2022
There was a lot of that for the Patriots on Sunday as Judon and Wise combined for 15 pressures (seven for Judon and eight for Wise), and there were moments where Judon played a bit more contained, too. A stellar performance for the Patriots' edge duo.
1. Devin McCourty
Even though Judon and Wise may have done the “hard work” for him, someone still had to catch the ball, right? McCourty made an impressive play to keep his feet inbounds for his first interception. The second one was likely just being in the right place at the right time. Still, the veteran safety knows where he has to be at almost all times, which allowed him to make those plays.