FOXBOROUGH — The rivalry between the Patriots and Jets is heating up again.
The Patriots came away with a 30-23 win on Sunday, but the Jets made it clear they will not be pushovers under new head coach Todd Bowles.
After this Week 7 win, the Patriots hold a two-game lead in the AFC East. The Jets will get another chance to show what they’re made of in Week 16, when the Patriots travel to MetLife Stadium for the second meeting between these two teams.
Here’s a handful of takeaways from the first meeting between the Patriots and Bowles’ Jets.
1. Patriots would not let Jets’ rushing game beat them: The Patriots have always subscribed to the theory that taking away an opponent’s biggest strength will force it to rely on a weakness. Facing the run-heavy Jets, the Patriots’ defense came out with a loaded box of seven or more defenders. As a result, the Jets had just 52 rushing yards on 18 carries in the first half. They finished the game with 29 carries for just 89 yards. Running back Chris Ivory, who appeared to be battling a leg injury throughout the game, had just nine carries for 11 yards in the first half, and finished with 17 carries for 41 yards. Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was the Jets’ leading rusher in the first half with four carries for 27 yards and finished the game with five carries for 29 yards.
2. Patriots’ offense started slow: The Jets kept the Patriots from getting off to a fast start by keeping the ball. In the first quarter, the Jets ran 26 plays on offense, while the Patriots ran just eight. That early disparity was a result of suffocating pressure by the Jets defense that forced the Patriots to go three-and-out on back-to-back drives to start the game. Meanwhile, the Jets offense was able to prolong their first two drives of the game with third-down conversions. Fitzpatrick lost a fumble on the second play of the game, but that did not keep the Jets from finding some rhythm on offense.
3. Drops kept Patriots’ offense out of sync: The Patriots’ offense appeared to be out of sync for long stretches during Sunday’s game. Tom Brady had 20 incompletions on the day, but 11 of them were the result of drops. Wide receiver Brandon LaFell had four drops in the first half alone, and added two more in the second half. Julian Edelman had a drop in the end zone on the first drive of the second half.
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PHOTOS: Patriots vs. Jets
4. Danny Amendola comes up big, again: After a breakout performance against the Colts last week, wide receiver Danny Amendola hauled in eight receptions for 86 yards against the Jets. He pulled in the go-ahead touchdown catch with 7:16 remaining in the fourth quarter. On a day when drops were a problem for the Patriots, Amendola didn’t have any on Sunday.
5. Quick turnaround: The Patriots don’t have much time to bask in the afterglow of this victory. In just four days, they host the Miami Dolphins (3-3) at Gillette Stadium. The Dolphins fired head coach Joe Philbin after a 1-3 start to the season, but have outscored opponents 82-36 in two wins since. The Dolphins aren’t going to make things easy for the Patriots, either. They employ a defensive strategy that should look similar to what the Jets brought, with a suffocating defensive line that can get after Brady.