EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — On a wet and windy Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium, the Patriots captured their first win of the season, a 15-10 decision against the Jets.
The Patriots have beaten the Jets 15 straight times.
It won’t go down as one of the most aesthetically pleasing wins of the Bill Belichick era — but for a Patriots team facing an 0-3 start in the rugged AFC East, they’ll take it.
Mac Jones finished 15-for-29 passing for 201 yards and a touchdown, and the defense held the Jets to one touchdown and finished the scoring with a dramatic sack and safety from Matthew Judon with just over two minutes to go.
Here are some early takeaways:
▪ Judon sacked Zach Wilson in the end zone — his second sack of the day — with 2:19 to go in regulation to finish the scoring. For the first time this season, the Patriots were able to make a big play in a big moment.
▪ It’s an admittedly low bar, but it was the Patriots best ground game of the season. Part of that was because the Patriots led for the first time all season, which allowed them to call more running plays. Part of it was because of the jumbo sets they rolled out on a regular basis with three tight ends. (As well as the cameo from Pharaoh Brown at fullback.) But it was a mostly good day for the ground game. Ezekiel Elliott ended up with 80 yards on 16 carries and Rhamondre Stevenson added 59 on 19 rushes.
▪ Some credit also should go to the offensive line, which held up in pass protection. (Jones was not sacked on the afternoon.) Back-to-back false starts — from Trent Brown and Mike Onwenu — put the Patriots in a hole that ended with a Bryce Baringer punt from the back of the end zone — were among the lowlights. Left guard Cole Strange was lifted in the third quarter for Atonio Mafi, Strange exiting with what was announced as a knee injury.
▪ Jones connected with eight different targets, including two each to Brown and DeVante Parker, with the longest of the afternoon a 58-yard touchdown pass to Brown. Jones’s 18-yard connection with Kendrick Bourne with just over four minutes left did a lot to silence the home crowd.
▪ Brown turned a catch-and-run play into a 58-yard touchdown early in the second quarter. The veteran, who played for Bill O’Brien in Houston, is clearly comfortable with the Patriots’ offense. Not a flashy pickup, but he’s done well with the opportunities he’s been given behind Hunter Henry and Mike Gesicki.
▪ Demario Douglas saw his first action since last week’s fateful fumble against the Dolphins, getting involved early and seeing sporadic action after that. The shifty receiver ended with one catch on three targets for 15 yards.
▪ The Patriots’ defense executed as well as it could have, allowing one scoring drive in each half. The first (10 plays, 33 yards) came in the second quarter and ended with a 52-yard field goal from Greg Zuerlein. The second (13 plays, 87 yards) was more substantial, coming midway through the fourth quarter. That was capped by a 1-yard touchdown run from Nick Bawden to cut the lead to 13-10 with 5:24 to go.
▪ Among the defensive standouts were Anfernee Jennings — the outside linebacker, who was a healthy scratch the first two games, drew the start and dominated early with a tackle for loss. Among the lowlights: Myles Bryant, forced into a heavier workload with the injuries to Marcus Jones and Jonathan Jones, was flagged for defensive pass interference late that set up the KJets lone touchdown.
▪ The kicking game was shaky in the conditions, as Chad Ryland missed a pair of field-goal attempts from 40-plus yards in the first half, but did convert from 48 and 51 yards. But all in all, the special teamers more than held up their end of the bargain. Baringer dropped an important fourth-quarter punt at the New York 10-yard line. Jabrill Peppers had a 19-yard punt return midway through the first quarter, his first chance as a return man this season. And Brenden Schooler had an impressive open field tackle on a second-quarter punt return attempt.
Read more Patriots coverage:
- The Patriots should be thankful they can count on one thing — beating the Jets | Dan Shaughnessy
- A victory over the Jets is no indication if the Patriots are trending in the right direction
- Jets say they are standing by Zach Wilson, but it’s time to sit him down and find another quarterback | Ben Volin
- In a surprising twist, Pharaoh Brown — the third tight end — is an offensive spark for the Patriots
- Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner claims Patriots quarterback Mac Jones hit him with a low blow
- The Patriots dug in on defense, then held on for 15th consecutive victory over the Jets