Bill Belichick has made it a habit over the years to defer his option to the second half anytime the Patriots win the opening coin toss. Better than 90 percent of the time New England has the option, Belichick has opted to go for the double possession at the end of the first half and at the start of the second.
Sunday against the Jets was one exception. Matthew Slater was informed he had the choice after the Jets guessed wrong, and the special teams ace informed referee Brad Allen that the Patriots would take the ball. It made sense for a couple of reasons. First, it gave the Patriots the chance to grab a quick lead and make the Jets play from behind on a cold, blustery day to close the season. Second, the weather didn't figure to improve as the game progressed, and the conditions might be even more difficult on offense during the second half.
That choice proved to be the right one and it led to an early satisfying moment for New England. Tom Brady took the ball and immediately marched the offense 75 yards on 13 plays to take a 7-0 lead against a Jets team that was playing out the string. The game was never really in jeopardy after that possession.
Dion Lewis carried six times on the drive, picking up 25 yards including the final 3 for a touchdown. Brady also contributed on the drive, completing 6 of 7 passes for 50 yards including a 7-yard connection with Danny Amendola to convert on fourth-and-two from the Jets 21.
It all added up to executing the plan of taking control early and providing the fans with a satisfying victory over the rival Jets.