EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It's been a struggle for the New England Patriots' offense in the first half of Sunday's game against the New York Jets, as they are losing the battle at the line of scrimmage. Many predicted this would be a low-scoring game, as the Patriots are without top receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola, and that has played out as advertised with the Jets holding a 10-3 lead at the break.
Meanwhile, one of the storylines within the game is how the Patriots are easing veteran running back Steven Jackson into the mix after signing him to a one-year deal on Tuesday.
Jackson was charted on the field for three offensive snaps in the first half, and his first carry was a 5-yarder in which he plowed forward for a first down. Overall, he totaled three carries for 6 yards.
While Jackson's debut was notable as the team hopes he will be able to contribute more in the weeks to ocome, Brandon Bolden has played the highest total of snaps among Patriots running backs with 13, followed by "sub back" James White (8). Joey Iosefa has been on for two snaps, both as a fullback.
The limited weapons in the passing game is reflected in quarterback Tom Brady's modest stat line -- 8-of-10 for 67 yards. The Patriots tried some razzle-dazzle with a flea-flicker (Brady had tight end Rob Gronkowski but overthrew him) and even lining Brady up as a wide receiver on a direct snap to Bolden in a short-yardage situation.
Nothing has worked consistently.
Defensively, the Patriots' front seven that has been impressive the last two weeks has struggled against the physical Jets offensive line. The Jets have established their hard-charging running game (92 yards in the first half), which has made life easier for quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The Patriots get the ball to start the second half.