Following the Patriots 27-25 win over the New York Jets, SB Nation's Jeff Gray highlighted 3 things we learned from Thursday Night. The Patriots are now 5-2 and hold a 1.5-game lead in the division, but Gray says New England appears to have total command of the AFC East once again.
But if last night's game taught us anything, it's that there are still a lot of holes in the Patriots' defense. Ben Volin of the Boston Globe says that New England's defense didn't do well in their first test without Jerod Mayo. After the game, the players blamed the team's poor defensive showing on a lack of communication.
"That's where the Patriots will miss Mayo most — in communicating the defense on the field and getting everyone lined up in the right place," wrote Volin. However, according to the players the issues weren't because of the turnover at linebacker. "[Casey] Walker said that the communication issues were on the defensive linemen, not Hightower."
Though the Patriots aren't great right now, Comcast SportsNet's Tom Curran says that because they play smart, they've been able to take advantage of other team's stupidity. He believes that most teams aren't capable of making smart teams like the Patriots pay for their weaknesses.
"The bigger guns are coming though. This harsh stretch of four games in 18 days is over for the Patriots, but now the competition goes up a notch in terms of talent and -- one supposes -- intelligence," writes Curran. "The opposing IQ will be rising after this short break. The Patriots will be smart to start boning up."
Elsewhere on CSNNE.com, Jimmy Toscano highlighted all the best and worst parts from last night's win. With roughly 8-minutes left in the fourth quarter, Danny Amendola caught his first touchdown pass of the 2014 season. Considering Amendola had been a ghost in the first six weeks of the season, Toscano jokingly called the catch the 'Best sign of the apocalypse.'
"Danny Amendola caught a touchdown pass! After returning kicks for the first time in his Pats career, Amendola actually had a pass thrown his way in a big spot in the fourth quarter," wrote Toscano.
Michael Whitmer further elaborated on Amendola's performance in an article in the Boston Globe. Whitmer says that nobody needed a productive night like Amendola and he finally came through with some big plays for the team. In addition to catching a crucial touchdown late in the fourth quarter, Amendola had a huge impact on special teams with an onside kick recovery and an average of 26.3 yards on kick return.
"Coming into Thursday's game, Amendola had made only four catches all season, and had been targeted just eight times in six games," explains Whitmer. "Against the Jets, Amendola caught only one pass. But it was the play of the game, a 19-yarder from Brady on third-and-goal with less than eight minutes left in the fourth quarter."
Danny Amendola's four-quarter touchdown and onside kick recovery earned him a spot on Cyrus Geller's 'Stock Watch' list over at Sports Illustrated's Fansided. For the first time this year, Amendola found himself on the positive side of the stock report along with the offensive line, Brandon LaFell, and Shane Vereen.
"Stepping in for Stevan Ridley is no easy task, but Vereen did a great job of that last night. He was big in both the running game and the passing game, finishing the contest with 16 total touches, 114 yards, and two receiving touchdowns," wrote Geller.
Brandon Browner made his season debut last night against the Jets, but according to Kyle Brasseur of ESPN Boston, he felt a little rusty. The last time Browner played in an NFL game was November 10 of last year so it's not surprising that he felt tired at times.