What it means: It was an escape for the Patriots. Defensive tackle Chris Jones blocked Nick Folk's 58-yard field goal at the final gun to preserve the victory. Jones, of course, had been penalized last season in overtime against the Jets for pushing a teammate on a field-goal rush that ultimately helped the Jets win, which had Bill Belichick fuming. Now, one year later, he gets the block to preserve a win. What a storyline.
Amendola's redemption story. Wide receiver Danny Amendola was one of the big stories of the night. Phased out of the offense a bit in recent weeks as the Patriots haven't been running as many three-receiver sets, this was easily his best game of the season, with his back-shoulder touchdown catch in the fourth quarter a highlight-reel play. Amendola also looked shifty as a kickoff returner, the first time he's assumed that role this season, and successfully fielded an onside kick that could have been trouble. There was some good Amendola discussion in our weekly chat earlier Thursday, which reflects some of the anger from some fans that had been directed at Amendola, which is timely to revisit tonight.
Defense struggles. This was not a good night for the Patriots' defense, which struggled to get off blocks and tackle. Maybe they also were affected a bit by losing their signal-caller, linebacker Jerod Mayo, as well as the short week after playing a physical game on Sunday. Still, no excuses. They came up with the stops when needed, but this wasn't their best work. It will have to improve.
Game ball: Shane Vereen. The running back played inspired football, honoring injured teammate Stevan Ridley (torn ACL and MCL) by mimicking his touchdown celebration after a diving 49-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Vereen played more snaps than any Patriots running back, and it wasn't close. At halftime, Vereen had played 23 snaps, while Jonas Gray had eight and Brandon Bolden none. By game's end, it was Vereen with 48 snaps, Gray with 12 and Bolden with one.
Gronkowski's playing time: Tight end Rob Gronkowski's playing time continues to be tracked as it reflects how he's been rounding into form. Gronkowski was charted on the field for 54 of 60 offensive snaps (including penalties). Gronkowski's snap counts through the first six games: 38, 28, 42, 31, 64, and 58.
Injuries to monitor: None.
What's next: The Patriots host the Chicago Bears on Sunday, Oct. 26 at 1 p.m. ET.