The Patriots picked up their first win of the season on Sunday, beating the New York Jets 25-6 at MetLife Stadium. It was NFL win No. 1 in the career of first-round pick Mac Jones.
Jones and the Patriots faced another first-round quarterback in New York’s Zach Wilson. While there were no highlight moments for Jones on the day, he proved to be the better of the two rookies.
After the Jets deferred on the opening kickoff, the Patriots drove the ball into field goal range. However, a protection breakdown led to a third down sack, pushing them out of field goal range.
New York opened up their first drive with an eight yard run, but on the ensuing play they’d give the ball right back to the Patriots. Wilson was intercepted by J.C. Jackson on his first ever pass attempt at MetLife Stadium – a tip drill grab that put the Patriots’ offense right back where they left off.
However, offensive line issues again cost the Patriots, namely a false start by Isaiah Wynn. They ended up settling for a 46-yard Nick Folk field goal to go up 3-0.
Jake Bailey would boot the next kickoff out of bounds, but once again the Jets returned the sloppy football favor. Rolling out with players open underneath, Zach Wilson elected to take a shot downfield, where Adrian Phillips made a diving grab for the team’s second interception.
This time, the Patriots didn’t let the Jets off as easy. A six-play, 72-yard scoring drive highlighted by a double pass ended with a seven-yard James White touchdown run. That had New England up 10-0 after the first quarter.
To start the second quarter, the Jets kept the ball on the ground and worked it inside the Patriots’ five yard line. In their typical ‘bend-don’t-break’ style, New England denied them on three straight plays, capped by a Lawrence Guy run stuff. New York settled for a field goal to make it 10-3.
Poor protection continued to plague the Patriots, with two sacks leading to a three-and-out. Yet once again Wilson was there to help them out, tossing his third interception – the second one to Jackson.
Once again, the teams traded punts, and the Patriots were set up with a two-minute drill and about 60 yards in front of them. Jones moved the ball efficiently until he faced a 3rd & 2 from the Jets’ 21. Flushed from the pocket, Jones spiked the ball in an attempt to throw it away but the throw didn’t reach the line of scrimmage, resulting in an intentional grounding. Folk was called on for the second time, and his 49-yard field goal sent the Patriots into the half 13-3.
The second half started very similar to the first. Wilson threw a deep pass with no receiver in the area, which was picked off by Devin McCourty. The Patriots quickly turned it into points, as Damien Harris muscled his way to a 26-yard touchdown run. Folk missed the extra point, making it a 19-3 game.
After a missed Jets field goal, the Patriots answered with another field goal, Folk’s franchise-record 32nd straight make. That made the score 22-3 at the end of the third quarter.
The fourth quarter saw the teams trade a pair of field goals. That included the Jets stopping the Patriots three times inside the five heading into the two-minute warning.
Jones finished the game 22-of-30 for 186 yards with no touchdowns and no picks. He was sacked nine times, and hit twice more.
White was the Patriots’ leader offensively, with 65 all-purpose yards on 11 touches, with the touchdown. Harris showed up as well with 62 yards and a score on 16 carries. Jakobi Meyers caught four passes for 38 yards.
Ja’Whaun Bentley led the defense with nine tackles. Carl Davis, Dont’a Hightower, Josh Uche, and Matt Judon recorded sacks – the Patriots also had five QB hits, two more by Judon. Jackson had his two picks, with McCourty and Phillips added one each as well.
Folk was 4-of-4 kicking field goals, maxing out from 49 yards. He hit one of two extra points. Jake Bailey knocked four of his five punts inside the 20 yard line.
While the Patriots were able to right some of the wrongs they faced last week, others remained issues. Bill Belichick’s team allowed almost five yards per carry, and committed six penalties that cost them 54 yards.
New England improves to 1-1 on the season with the win. With Buffalo beating Miami on Sunday as well, the three teams are now all tied atop the AFC East.
The Patriots return home next week to host the 1-1 New Orleans Saints. That game kicks off at 1 p.m., with pregame coverage beginning at 10 a.m. on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
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Alex Barth is a writer and 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. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.