Finally, the New England Patriots have returned to the win column.
With each team making their best attempt at avoiding an 0-2 record (both overall and in the division), the Pats and Jets took the field at MetLife Stadium for their week two divisional matchup in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
In a battle of promising first-round rookies, Patriots quarterback Mac Jones outdueled the Jets’ Zach Wilson as New England defeated New York 25-6. Jones would finish the day completing 22 of 30 passes for 186 yards. Damien Harris and James White each contributed impressive rushing touchdowns.
For the Patriots, the story of the day would be poor play along the offensive line. With starting right tackle Trent Brown out with a calf injury, Yasir Durant would get the start. However, Durant struggled for much of the day, unable to keep pace with the aggressive Jets defensive front. Durant would eventually be relieved by Justin Herron in the second quarter. For the second straight week, quarterback Jones agains found himself under duress more often than not. Despite the win, the Pats lingering issues with red zone execution continue to be a concern.
Still, for as many issues that the Pats had along the o-line, the Jets would have greater, with regard to turnovers. Rookie quarterback Zach Wilson was intercepted four times, often leading to points for the Pats. Wilson finished Sunday completing 19 of 33 passes for 230 yards with the four picks.
First Half Highlights:
The Pats would strike first on Sunday, utilizing timely defense to facilitate an offensive score. New England used a delayed blitz to rattle Zach Wilson, goading him into a short pass to the middle intended for receiver Corey Davis. The Patriots secondary would tip the ball, which was intercepted by cornerback J.C. Jackson. Despite some difficulties in pass protection by their offensive line, the Pats would capitalize with a 46 yard field goal, the 36-year-old’s 30th straight.
Patriots 3, Jets 0
New England would once again turn a Wilson miscue into points on the board. This time, however, the Pats would add seven. Once again looking for Davis, Wilson threw deep right, only to be intercepted by safety Adrian Phillips. The Pats would take over at their own 28-yard line, and Jones would lead them 72 yards on six plays. The Pats quarterback found James White short left, off the screen for a 28 yard gain, for the biggest gain of the drive. White would take a seven-yard rush into the end zone, giving the Pats a 10-0 lead.
Patriots 10, Jets 0
The Jets would light the scoreboard for the first time on Sunday, thanks largely in part to a pick play against the Patriots man coverage. J.C. Jackson was picked, which led to a deep pass by Wilson to rookie receiver Elijah Moore for a 27-yard gain. Despite having the ball at the New England 22, the Patriots held with strong red zone coverage, particularly by defensive tackle Lawrence Guy and the Pats defensive line. Jets kicker Matt Ammendola hit the 21-yard field goal to put the Jets on the board.
Patriots 10, Jets 3
The Patriots would notch the final points of the half, with Mac Jones taking the team 38 yards on 10 plays. With time expiring, Jones was whistled for intentional grounding on a short pass over the middle. Folk would hit the 49-yard field goal, once again giving the Pats a double-digit lead at the half.
Patriots 13, Jets 3
Second Half Highlights:
The first points of the second half would be a case of ‘second-verse, same as the first.’ On a potentially promising drive early in the third quarter, Wilson would toss his fourth intercepted pass of the afternoon . While the official ledger would list Elijah Moore as the intended receiver, Wilson’s pass was thrown into heavy coverage (two Jets receivers covered by four Patriots defenders). Defensive captain Devin McCourty was in prime position for the pick, giving the ball back to the Patriots with great field position. The Pats would capitalize on a 26-yard run by Damien Harris, who showed shiftiness in evading several Jets tackles, and toughness in dragging defenders to the endzone. The Pats would extend their lead by six, following a missed extra point by Nick Folk.
Patriots 19, Jets 6
Fresh off of a Matt Ammendola missed 53-yard field goal, the Pats would cap an eight play, 43-yard drive with Nick Folk’s 32nd straight made three-pointer. Jones quickly set the tone on this drive finding tight end Hunter Henry for 32-yards, off of a play fake to running back J.J. Taylor. Receiver Kendrick Bourne would break for a left end gain of 16 yards. Folk connected from 32 yards, increasing the Pats already sizable lead.
Patriots 22, Jets 3
The Jets, however, would not go quietly into the September Sunday afternoon, though the noise they made would be minimal. Wilson would lead the Jets on a 12-play, 66-yard drive, which was buoyed by a 27-yard connection on a rainbow route to receiver Braxton Berrios on 4th down. Still, the Jets continued to have difficulty in the red zone, unable to find the endzone. Ammendola connected on a 35-yard field goal, cutting the Pats lead to 16.
Patriots 22, Jets 6
With the game well in hand, the Pats would light the scoreboard for the final time on Sunday with just under two minutes to play in the game. Taking over on downs, the Pats went 17 yards on seven plays. The Pats red zone struggles kept them from earning six on the drive. However, Nick Folk would split the uprights on a 26-yard field goal to secure the win.
Patriots 25, Jets 6
Patriots OL Justin Herron, who relieved starter Yasir Durant in the second quarter, left the game after being attended to by the Pats training staff with time-expiring in the half.
With his 32-yard field goal in the waning moments of the third quarter, kicker Nick Folk set a new Patriots’ franchise record making 32 straight field goals, which was previously held by Stephen Gostkowski at 31. Folk would add another field goal late in the fourth quarter to extend his record to 33 straight.
The Patriots return home to the friendly confines of Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts to host the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, September 26th at 1:00pm ET.