Patriots Hammer Jets 38-3, Lock Up First-Round Bye

Nov 25, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady throws a pass against the New York Jets during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
Tom Brady throws a pass against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

The Patriots defeated the Jets 38-3 at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, officially locking up at least the No. 2 seed in the AFC. Now, the Pats get to watch the Chiefs and Chargers play to see if they both lose, which would vault the Pats to No. 1.

Check below for a recap of our live updates.


Live Updates

-- FINAL: Patriots 38, Jets 3. Talk about taking care of business. This may have been the most complete 60-minute effort of the season by the Patriots, who finish the 2018 regular season 8-0 and 11-5 overall. They will host the AFC Divisional round in two weeks' time after a well-earned victory over the Jets. And yes, it's the Jets, who were out of sorts on defense with backups on the field and were playing for a lame-duck head coach. But it's also the Patriots, who look damn near unbeatable at home this season.

-- Q4, 3:26: Patriots pile it on. Tom Brady stays in the game and again slices up the Jets defense, in addition to more strong yards on the ground. Julian Edelman breaks wide open (again) in the back of the end zone and brings in the easy pitch-and-catch from Brady. The final nail for the already-doomed Jets, and a cherry on top for a resurgent performance from Brady and the Patriots offense.

-- Patriots officially rule Devin McCourty out with a head injury.

-- Q4, 8:32: Two more off throws for Sam Darnold and another short run, and the Jets quickly have to punt it back to the Patriots. It appears that Todd Bowles is waving the white flag proudly at this point. He already knows his job is over, and this game is effectively over. However, it looks like Tom Brady will stay in the game for now despite the Patriots holding a four-touchdown lead with the Jets unlikely to get the ball back that many times.

-- Q4, 9:40: Stephen Gostkowski is good from 38 yards and the Patriots are up 31-3.

Tom Brady hit Chris Hogan for three straight completions totaling 49 yards on the drive, which easily got the Patriots into field goal range.

-- Q4, 12:33: Lawrence Guy gets the Patriots off to a great start in the fourth quarter, smothering Sam Darnold for a sack and a loss of seven yards on first-and-10. The Jets end up trying to run it with Elijah McGuire on third-and-17, essentially telling the Patriots "Let's get this game over-with."

-- Q3, 1:14: Patriots wind nearly four minutes off the clock with an ultimately unsuccessful drive. The Pats call five running plays and one pass, and Sony Michel comes up literally an inch short on third down. Bill Belichick opts to punt it away, pinning the Jets back at their own 6.

-- Q3, 5:05: Now in desperation mode, the Jets offense comes out with plenty of urgency on its next drive. Sam Darnold completes passes to three different receivers and Elijah McGuire picks up a couple of chunk plays. But this time, faced with a fourth-and-1, McGuire can't pick up the yard as he's stuffed up the middle by Elandon Roberts. Patriots take over with a chance to extend an already-substantial lead.

-- Patriots announce that Devin McCourty is questionable to return to the game with a head injury.

-- Q3, 10:48: The Patriots blow it wide open, with a big defensive play. Adam Butler and Deatrich Wise get great pressure on Sam Darnold, who coughs it up as he attempts to throw. Butler gets credit for the forced fumble. Kyle Van Noy scoops it up and takes it all the way to the end zone from there, a 46-yard fumble return touchdown. It's 28-3 Patriots with the game looking well in hand from here on out.

-- Q3, 12:22: It looked like the Patriots were cooking again as Rob Gronkowski picked up 30-plus yards on a catch-and-run, but a questionable pass interference call on Dwayne Allen calls it back. Tom Brady throws three straight incompletions over 20 yards through the air, and the Pats are forced to punt it right back to the Jets.

-- Q3, 13:11: Jets go three-and-out to start the third quarter, giving the ball right back to the Patriots with a chance to blow the game open even more. Trey Flowers came up with the sack on third-and-2, pulling Sam Darnold down and nearly ripping the ball loose for the second time.

-- Halftime Thoughts: Overall, a very good first half for the Patriots on both sides of the ball. Tom Brady looks much-improved from his awful game in Week 16 against the Bills, as do the players around him. Everyone's getting involved and making impactful plays in the passing game, while Sony Michel is carrying the rock with power and confidence as well. ... On defense, the Patriots have married good pressure with strong coverage to make it tough for Sam Darnold in the passing game. They've also been very good against the run, a promising development for this group. Besides a chunk play here and there, the Jets haven't been a major threat to put points on the board. Stephon Gilmore came up with a big pass breakup on a fourth-down attempt in the end zone, while Trey Flowers sparked the Patriots' third touchdown drive with a forced fumble recovered by Devin McCourty.

Darnold started to make more plays with his arm in the second quarter, but he'd be hard-pressed to get the Jets back in this game if the Patriots can keep moving the ball on offense like they have. They've successfully confused the Jets in coverage, which has led to a lot of wide-open receivers. If Brady can start hitting them with more consistency, this could turn into a blowout. It sure doesn't look like the Jets feel ready to mount any kind of comeback - especially head coach Todd Bowles, who is reportedly expected to be fired on Monday.

-- Q2, 0:25: The Patriots offense, once again, looks spectacular to start their next drive. But this time, the drive suddenly grinds to a halt and the Pats end up with nothing to add to their score.

Chris Hogan gives them breathing room with an eight-yard comebacker. Sony Michel rumbles up the left seam for 14 yards. Julian Edelman gets wide open and hauls in a 17-yard grab. Phillip Dorsett takes a jet sweep for 11. James White slices the Jets up the middle for another eight. But ultimately, it comes down to fourth-and-1. The Pats run the clock down before taking a timeout, then handing it off to White up the middle. The running back has no chance to pick up the yard, and the Patriots come up empty with a chance for more points before the end of the half.

-- Q2, 4:28: The Jets come up empty after seriously threatening to add to their score. Sam Darnold goes 5-for-6 on the drive, his only incompletion coming on a fourth-and-3 attempt from the Patriots' 5-yard line. With nothing to lose, the Jets go for broke and the Patriots have themselves a defensive stand. Stephon Gilmore disrupted the throw to Robby Anderson, who tipped the ball out of bounds going for it, on the fourth down stop.

-- Q2, 11:03: Tom Brady capitalizes on the Jets' turnover and a subsequent bad penalty to grab another touchdown, this time on a nine-yard-long field. Brady hits Phillip Dorsett in the end zone for the score to make it 21-3 Patriots with the Jets reeling.

The Jets screwed up what could've been a disappointing red zone possession for Brady. Henry Anderson makes contact with the QB after a third-down throwaway to get flagged for roughing the passer. Before that, Brady had missed a wide-open Rob Gronkowski in the end zone then over-threw a wide-open Chris Hogan on the next play. But No. 12 made the Jets pay for Anderson's penalty.

-- Q2, 12:43: Disaster for the Jets. Elijah McGuire takes the handoff, but Trey Flowers knocks the ball loose and Devin McCourty comes up with the recovery to give Tom Brady the ball on the Jets' 9-yard line.

-- Q2, 12:53: Tom Brady puts together a second straight efficient, strong-looking drive and it ends in another touchdown. This time he hits Rex Burkhead with a perfect touch-throw dropped into his bread basket in the end zone, Brady's best throw of the day so far. Julian Edelman and James White both picked up chunk plays on the drive, as the Pats offense continues to allay fears from last week with consecutive great drives. 14-0 Patriots in the second.

-- End 1: Patriots 7, Jets 3. Brady bounces back from a throw tipped at the line of scrimmage with a big 18-yard completion over the middle to Julian Edelman. He gets another pass off to James White, but it goes for no gain. That's how the first quarter ends in Foxboro.

Overall, a strong start for the Patriots. They've been efficient on offense and Tom Brady through one quarter looks much better than he did all last week against the Bills. He's getting all of his weapons involved and, for the most part, they're actually holding on to the ball when it's thrown their way. And on defense, the Patriots have given up a big scramble play to Sam Darnold, but would likely take that if it meant he'll continue to be as wild as he's been throwing the ball.

-- Q1, 0:54: Sam Darnold started to make some plays for the Jets on their next offensive drive, but they ultimately have to settle for a field goal. The Patriots defense gave up a couple of chunk plays, but tightened up in the red zone to keep themselves on top on the scoreboard.

Darnold appears to spark the Jets with a big 28-yard run up the gut, after the Patriots defense failed to keep him contained in the pocket. He then makes his first completion of the day with a third-and-10 pass to Deontay Burnett. Darnold nearly finds a receiver in the end zone on the next series, but it bounces off the turf. Stephon Gilmore breaks up the third-down attempt to Robby Anderson, forcing the field goal. It's good and the Patriots have a 7-3 lead.

-- Stats & Information: Tom Brady's touchdown was his 26th of the season, which is the second-most ever by a quarterback over age 40 behind only himself in 2017. In addition, the touchdown put the Patriots over 400 total points on the season, the 12th straight year they've reached that benchmark - extending an NFL record.

-- Q1, 5:16: Some serious life from the Patriots offense. They're up 7-0 in the first after Tom Brady hits James White for a 17-yard touchdown. Brady went 6-for-6 on a perfectly efficient drive, one of the better-looking ones from the Pats offense in recent weeks.

They get into a rhythm thanks to the connection between Brady and Phillip Dorsett, who catches two of the first three targets of the drive. Brady spreads the ball around, completing passes to Dorsett, Chris Hogan, James Develin, Rob Gronkowski, and White for the TD.

-- Q1, 10:16: Great start for the Patriots defense against the Jets and rookie quarterback Sam Darnold. He's wildly incomplete on first and third down, and the Pats are able to wrap up RB Elijah McGuire on second. It'll be a long day for the Jets if they look that anemic on offense consistently. The Patriots deserve credit, though, for pushing the pocket back on Darnold and rushing him into bad throws.

-- Q1, 11:16: It was a promising start for the Patriots offense, but after looking to get into a rhythm they end up short-circuiting.

The drive starts off with three handoffs to Sony Michel, and he picks up the first down on third-and-1. Julian Edelman picks up the next first with an 1-yard gain on a wide-open dump-off in the flat. But the drive fizzles out after a two-yard loss by running back Rex Burkhead. Brady finds Chris Hogan for five yards, but James White can't handle the pass on third-and-7 to force the Patriots to punt.

-- WR Cordarrelle Patterson is among the Patriots' inactive players against the Jets. Here are the full inactives:

-- Tom Brady arrived nice and early. Here's Mike Reiss' weekly shot of Brady's entrance at Gillette Stadium, this week's coming at 8:18 a.m.

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