David Harris returned on Sunday and the struggling Demario Davis had a productive game, but there were still some breakdowns in the linebacker corps.
It was good to see Harris back in the lineup and he mostly played well, although he did blow the coverage on the game-tying touchdown. Harris perhaps expected there to be someone inside to help out, but that wasn't the case as Rontez Miles had vacated the middle to double-team Rob Gronkowski on the outside.
Harris had six tackles -- one for a loss -- and made one good play in coverage. However, he was beaten for two first downs in coverage on a third-down and a fourth-down and was also blocked out of one running play. He did miss a tackle, although he slowed the runner up for a teammate to make the stop at the line.
Demario Davis and Erin Henderson again split time alongside Harris with Davis continuing to look better in a part-time role. This five-game winning streak coincides exactly with Davis being handed a reduced role. The Jets did also run quite a few packages with Harris as the only inside linebacker.
Davis had eight tackles -- one for a loss -- and made one good play in coverage. He got caught inside once, overpursued once on a running play and gave up an easy first-down in coverage. Henderson was also productive, as he was in on four run-stuffs, but he did get beaten for a first down in coverage.
There was one bad coverage breakdown which saw Gronkowski left completely uncovered, although it wasn't obvious whether that was the responsibility of Davis, Harris or safety Calvin Pryor.
Lorenzo Mauldin did a good job as a pass-rusher again, with a sack, two hits and two pressures off the edge. However, perhaps the best sign from him was when he was able to shed a Gronkowski block to get in on a run-stuff. Mauldin wasn't flawless, though, because he did get fooled on an end-around and also jumped offside once. He's definitely emerging well down the stretch, though.
Mauldin was used as an edge-rusher on the right side, primarily with his hand in the dirt. He saw time in both the nickel and dime packages, as the Jets exclusively went with four-man fronts.
In the dime package, Harris was the only linebacker with four cornerbacks in the game. Mauldin wasn't just employed as a pass-rusher this week, though, as the Patriots ran nine times with him in the game and he dropped into coverage four times. Both were season-highs.
The Jets missed Mauldin when he had to come out of the game on fourth-and-nine due to an injury. Calvin Pace replaced him but wasn't quick enough to pressure Tom Brady on a stunt as the Patriots converted. Pace, who played a season-low 17 snaps, almost got to Brady a couple of times and was in on one run-stop, although he didn't officially get credit for any tackles.
On the bench, Trevor Reilly and Jamari Lattimore did not get any reps this week.
Next up: The Jets' secondary benefited from New England having a few guys out, but were still tested at times in coverage…