4 takeaways from Patriots’ 28-14 comeback win over Jets in Week 17

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Isaiah Houde
·4 min read
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The New England Patriots ended their 2020 campaign on a high note after defeating the New York Jets 28-14 in Week 17.

Cam Newton likely played his last game as a Patriot, but he left it all on the field. The 31-year-old finished the game with 11 rushes for 79 yards, while throwing 21-of-30 for 242 yards and three touchdowns. Newton discussed the mental toughness he had throughout the season and that was visible against the Jets, considering the circumstances of missing the playoffs and a probable departure.

The Patriots were down 14-7 at the start of the third quarter and gained momentum from Newton’s receiving touchdown. New England was on fire in the second half and left things on a positive note. Things will look very different in 2021, but a few players proved their worth and others clearly were checked out.

Here’s four takeaways from the victory.

Cam Newton played his heart out, despite circumstances

Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Newton didn't need to finish the season strong. He's constantly heard everyone beg for Stidham to take over. He's likely parting ways this offseason. There's no hope for playoffs. He's on a one-year deal worth $1 million. For every reason, Newton could've gave the job to Stidham and sat out the final game. But, he put his heart into the game and willed the Patriots to a 7-9 record. He caught the Patriots' first touchdown pass from a quarterback and completed the comeback with a smile. https://twitter.com/Patriots/status/1345830129138851841?s=20 With talent surrounding him, Newton proved he's a capable quarterback that has the work ethic to lift the energy of an entire franchise. The Patriots couldn't give him the pieces he needed, but he accepted that and moved forward with a positive attitude. There's still a place for Newton in the NFL.

Sony Michel should be the No. 1 running back in 2021

(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

The Patriots' running back situation became complicated this season. Sony Michel had a solid start over the first three games of the year, but his season was put on pause after he hit the injured reserve list with a quad injury. Michel nearly had 1,000 yards rushing over his first two seasons and was on pace to get similar numbers if he played all year. With his absence, second-year back Damien Harris took over as the starter, but he could never really get his rhythm going. Rex Burkhead's season ended on a gruesome injury and that left a huge hole in the backfield. Michel is still on contract for one more season and has earned the top spot going forward. The third-year back finished Week 17 with 16 rushes for 17 yards, along with three catches for 60 yards and his first receiving touchdown. He's averaging a career-high 5.9 yards per carry this season and his success hasn't been dependent on the offensive line. Michel is the team's power back and should be an instrumental piece next season. https://twitter.com/Patriots/status/1345835367585501188?s=20

Chase Winovich, Kyle Dugger and Jakobi Meyers are bright spots going forward

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Chase Winovich's presence was felt. The second-year pass rusher proved he had top-notch potential all season and he put an exclamation on that against the Jets. Winovich entered the game with an interception, 3.5 sacks, 43 tackles, four tackles for loss and nine quarterback hits. He finished the game with six tackles, two sacks and one pass deflected. Kyle Dugger, second-round pick from DII Lenoir-Rhyne, will be a solidified starter in the near future. Despite having lesser competition in college, Dugger's game has translated entirely and he left the Jets matchup with the second-most tackles (6). Jakobi Meyers will no longer be overlooked. He had six receptions for 68 yards against the Jets, along with the touchdown pass. He entered the game with 53 receptions for 661 yards -- both team highs. The Patriots found a gem with the undrafted second-year player and he'll have a 53-man spot waiting for him. https://twitter.com/MikeReiss/status/1345825273997045768?s=20

J.C. Jackson could be cornerstone piece for the future

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

J.C. Jackson recorded his ninth interception for the season, which is tied with Ty Law in franchise history. https://twitter.com/Patriots/status/1345832472718827522?s=20 The 25-year-old is in his third season with the Patriots and continues to prove why every team was wrong to pass up on him. New England found him as an undrafted product and never looked back. Jackson will likely earn a solid check from the Patriots, as they look to move forward past the 31-year-old Stephon Gilmore. Gilmore ended this season on the injured reserve list with a quad injury and he's got one more year on contract. The Patriots could trade him to get more value this offseason, leaving Jackson as lead corner. The future is unclear and a lot of decision need to be made, but paying Jackson should be a priority.