EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Pharaoh Brown provided an unlikely spark for the Patriots’ offense Sunday, scoring the lone touchdown on a 58-yard scoring strike while serving as a stout blocker in the run game as a fullback and a tight end.
The play, which was the longest touchdown catch in his six-year career, gave Brown his first TD since 2021, and provided just enough of a cushion for the Patriots to come away with a 15-10 win over the Jets at MetLife Stadium.
“We had some good running plays where we were gashing them for 5 and 6 yards, but it was a great freaking sell by the line with the play-action. They bit, and Mac threw a great ball,” Brown said of the Patriots’ longest play of the season. “I think it was a testament to how we were running the ball early on them.”
“It was just a little play-action play and we kind of knew it was going to work,” said Mac Jones. “[Brown] made a great catch. We worked on that in practice and it worked in the game. So that’s what we want.”
Asked how he knew it was going to work, Jones played coy.
“I’m going to keep that to myself,” he said with a laugh.
To Brown’s point, Sunday represented the best day of the season for the running game, as the Patriots ran the ball 40 times for 157 yards, a season high and the most since they rushed for 206 yards in December against the Raiders.
“Pharaoh’s a dog. He’s a great blocker and did his thing in the passing game today. Super-physical dude,” said Ezekiel Elliott, who had 16 carries for 80 yards. “He had that stiff-arm too. Does such a great job in the run game [as well].”
Early in the game, Brown cleared a path for a 12-yard gain from Elliott, lining up at fullback. It’s all part of the plan for the 6-foot-6-inch 258-pounder, who didn’t have a lot of experience as a fullback, but wants to help out any way he can.
“Not a lot of experience,” Brown said when asked about playing fullback. “But I’m a football player. I just want to play football. Whatever they ask, the opportunity to get on the field, I’m all for it. I was at fullback, tight end. The more you can do, they say.”
“Pharaoh has done a good job,’' coach Bill Belichick said. “He came in here the first week and played in the opener. He’s played every week. It’s good to have a guy who can do what he does. He has some size, he can block. Catch the ball a little bit. A good complement to Mike [Gesicki] and Hunter [Henry].”
Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner took issue with Jones after a quarterback sneak in the fourth quarter.
Gardner said Jones hit him in the groin after a dustup.
“My stomach hurt a little bit. I don’t know what to say,” Gardner said with a smile. “I do have to ice up.”
“I [was] just trying to get the first down. Third and 1,” Jones said. “And then we came back on fourth and 1. And then tried to fake it.
“Definitely a physical play. A lot of guys were in there,” he added. “It’s kind of like the famous quarterback sneak that everybody does. All the guys on both teams are in there and it can get pretty physical. That’s something I have to learn from — getting my pads a little bit lower so I can get it and not get held up.”
Jones has been taken to task multiple times over the last year-plus for a variety of incidents, including two plays last year against the Bengals in which he was fined almost $24,000.
A little help from his friends
It was a happy return to the field for Demario Douglas, who saw his first action since last week’s fumble against Miami. Douglas was involved on the first offensive series, and played sporadically after that, also chipping in as a returner on special teams.
The rookie receiver, who had one catch (on three targets) for 15 yards, said his teammates were able to keep him in good spirits following his gaffe.
“It lifted me up a lot,” he said. “A lot of the vets came up to me. They believe in me. That’s big. Especially being new to the team, how they believe in me. I love it. That gave me motivation to play for that name on the front and everybody’s name on the back. It’s amazing for sure.”
Douglas said it all started for him with a good week of practice.
“It all started in practice,” he said. “I came in with the mentality, that play-the-next-play mentality. I pushed hard this week, and I harped on that ball security.”
A job well done
Linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley was asked about the quotes from Jets defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich during “Hard Knocks,” in which he appeared to dismiss New England’s “Do Your Job” philosophy. Ulbrich said “Do your job. Is that enough? [Expletive] no.” The Patriots X account appeared to take great delight — and a subtle shot at Ulbrich — with their postgame message. When Bentley was informed of the quote, he said, “Well, we did our job today.” … The Patriots’ inactives were cornerback Jonathan Jones (ankle) and offensive lineman Sidy Sow (concussion). Offensive tackle Tyrone Wheatley, wide receiver Kayshon Boutte, and quarterback Will Grier were healthy scratches. Myles Bryant and Shaun Wade got the majority of snaps with Jones sidelined, and the Patriots rotated Atonio Mafi in at left guard in place of Cole Strange … It was the Patriots’ 15th straight win against the Jets, tying a franchise record over one opponent. (The Patriots beat Buffalo 15 straight times from 2003-10.) … The victory was the 299th of Belichick’s coaching career. He’s 19 wins from tying George Halas for second place on the all-time wins list, and 29 wins shy of tying Don Shula for the top spot.
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
- It wasn’t pretty, but the Patriots got their first win of the season in beating the inept Jets
- 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