Taking a look at the television copy of Sunday's game against the Jets and offering some fourth quarter observations:
1) Patriots SS James Ihedigbo continued to show aggression into the fourth quarter, particularly on a second-and-6 run by the Jets' Shonn Greene. Coming off the right edge on a designed blitz, Ihedigbo got low on pulling LG Matt Slauson, undercutting the offensive lineman and grabbing the ankles of Greene as he tried to cut through the hole. DE Mark Anderson also recovered well on the play, getting muscled inside by TE Dustin Keller before fighting his way back outside to help Ihedigbo make the stop on Greene.
2) On the ensuing third-and-6, Patriots CB Kyle Arrington had a head-scratcher of a miscue while covering WR Derrick Mason in the slot. Lined up about 7 yards off the line, Arrington followed Mason on his route before fading in the opposite direction when Mason broke towards the middle of the field. LB Brandon Spikes, who was an inside zone, wasn't yet in position to pick up Mason's route. If Arrington was in man coverage, he should have been tied to Mason on the slant route in this situation, which led to a first down. A few plays later, Arrington stopped in coverage on WR Santonio Holmes as he faded towards the pylon on his route, with SS James Ihedigbo also not yet in position to make a play. This time, Arrington's apparent lapse in coverage resulted in a touchdown.
3) While the Patriots struggled at times with stretch running plays earlier in the game, it was a first down stretch play to the left by RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis that kept the chains moving on the Patriots' final drive. While previous plays saw the defensive line stacked with bodies, this play only had a down lineman over TE Rob Gronkowski and C Dan Connolly, leaving both LT Matt Light and LG Logan Mankins free to immediately track into the second level on the snap. With Gronkowski sealing the outside and Mankins and WR Wes Welker sealing the inside, Green-Ellis had a clear outside running lane, with Light leading the way. On previous plays, the pressure from the defensive line shooting the gaps never allowed this hole to develop.
4) Two plays later, however, on a second-and-4, the Patriots tried a similar stretch run to the right side. The Jets had two defensive lineman towards the inside, as well as OLB Calvin Pace on the outside shoulder of TE Aaron Hernandez. At the snap, Pace drove Hernandez back, closing the edge off for Green-Ellis, making it tougher for him to turn the corner. In addition, DT Ropati Pitoitua overpowered RG Brian Waters, riding him outside before shedding the block to make the stop, forcing a third down. Pitoitua would cause similar problems later on the drive, pushing LT Matt Light into the backfield on second-and-4, causing Green-Ellis to run more laterally before turning the corner, short of the first down.