By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Patriots managed to score 31 points on offense at MetLife Stadium. But if they were more consistent, they could have broken 50. Monday night was all about the Patriots' defense and special teams, once again, as they handed Jets quarterback Sam Darnold an all-time ugly night in a 33-0 walkover for the Pats. New England improved to 7-0 on the season.
They started the game fast, but did it at a nice long pace. They bled 8:47 off the clock as they went 78 yards in 16 plays, finishing the opening drive off with a Sony Michel touchdown to make it 7-0. It was one of the Pats' sharpest offensive drives of the season.
The Patriots also got off to a hot start on defense. On just the Jets' second play from scrimmage, and quarterback Sam Darnold's first pass attempt, Devin McCourty picked off the rushed throw to set up the Pats with golden field position. Unfortunately they had to settle for a field goal, but they made it 10-0 halfway through the first quarter.
A Demaryius Thomas drop led the Jets to have to punt on their second possession. The Patriots took advantage, as Brady dropped a 26-yard dime into Phillip Dorsett's hands for another TD to make it 17-0.
The defense continued to make things happen with a John Simon strip-sack on Darnold, which Kyle Van Noy recovered. After getting to the goal line, the Patriots used heavy personnel with linebacker Elandon Roberts and backup center James Ferentz contributing at fullback. Michel punched it in on third and goal to make it 24-0. They would take that lead to halftime after both defenses settled in for the rest of the second quarter.
Well, the Patriots picked up right where they left off in the third quarter. A safety blitz by McCourty forced an underthrown ball by Darnold, which landed in the hands of a sliding Stephon Gilmore as the cornerback tracked the ball perfectly.
Though the Patriots offense stalled on the ensuing drive, their special teams and defense took over yet again. First, rookie punter Jake Bailey coffin-cornered the Jets at their own 3-yard line. Then on second-and-7 from the 6, a high snap forced Darnold to bat the ball back through the end zone for a safety, making it 26-0.
Michel's third touchdown of the game made it 33-0 early in the fourth quarter. Roberts again checked in at fullback and helped the second-year back barrel through to the end zone.
Darnold had his worst game as a professional, going just 11-for-32 for 86 yards and four interceptions to go with his lost fumble - an impossibly bad 3.6 passer rating. He now-infamously was mic'd up on the sideline in the first half, saying "I'm seeing ghosts" after throwing the interception to Harmon.
Up Next: The Patriots will look to keep it rolling against the Cleveland Browns and second-year quarterback Baker Mayfield at Gillette Stadium.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].