The Patriots needed a momentum-building game, and got one on Sunday. New England easily handled the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars, winning 50-10 in their final regular season home game of the 2021 season.
Dont’a Hightower’s first full sack of the season helped the Patriots force a three-and-out to start the game. In response, the offense moved the ball 70 yards in 11 plays, with Damien Harris punching the ball in from two yards out for the score, putting New England up 7-0. The Patriots converted twice on third down on that drive, with Mac Jones connecting with Jakobi Meyers on both plays.
Trevor Lawrence came back with a pair of big plays. First he picked up 15 yards on a third down scramble, then hit Laquon Treadwell for a 40-yard completion. Jacksonville managed to turn all of that into a field goal, making the score 7-3 after one quarter.
Running the ball seven times for 40 yards on the next drive, the Patriots quickly regained their two-score lead. Harris was called on inside the 10 again, and found a seam from seven yards out to put the Patriots up 14-3.
Lawrence hit a pair of deeper throws up the seam on the next drive. However, he had a short pass in the flat that hit off the hands of Ryquell Armstead, and Myles Bryant grabbed it off the deflection. It was Bryant’s first pick of the year, and the second of his career. That short field led to the Patriots’ first passing touchdown of the day, as Mac Jones found Kristian Wilkerson in the back of the end zone for Wilkerson’s first career score.
Picking up on the momentum from the previous drive, the Patriots’ defense stepped up with another turnover. This time, it was J.C. Jackson going to the turf to pick off Lawrence, grabbing his eighth INT of the year.
The Patriots used that turnover not only to score, but take some time off the clock as well. With 48 seconds to go in the half, Jones found Meyers in the back corner of the end zone to put the Patriots up 28-3. It was Meyers’ second career touchdown and Jones’ 20th of the season – setting a new franchise single season record for a rookie.
On the first drive of the second half, Kristian Wilkerson grabbed his second touchdown of the game. This one came from 20 yards out, and gave New England a 34-3 lead.
After a stop by the Patriots’ defense, the Patriots punted for the first time in the game. They’d get the ball right back, with Kyle Dugger picking off Lawrence for the Patriots’ third takeaway of the game. Dugger returned the ball to the 1-yard line, and one play later Rhamondre Stevenson put the Patriots up 41-3 with his fourth touchdown of the year.
Nick Folk was finally called on for more than an extra point, adding a 43-yard field goal on the next Patriots’ drive. That would end up being Jones’ final drive of the afternoon, with Brian Hoyer taking over for most of the fourth quarter.
Hoyer would lead a touchdown drive himself, completing two passes for 54 yards including a long catch-and-run by Kendrick Bourne. Stevenson ended the drive with his second rushing touchdown of the game, pushing the Patriots’ lead to 50-3.
Jacksonville would add a touchdown late, with Trevor Lawrence hitting Dare Ogunbowale on a 28-yard screen pass. That set up the final score of 50-10.
Jones finished the game 22-of-30 for 227 yards, with three touchdowns. He found Meyers early and often – the third-year wide receiver finished with eight catches for 73 yards and a score. Wilkerson had four grabs for 42 yards and two scores.
On the ground, Rhamondre Stevenson totaled 107 yards on 19 carries with two touchdowns. Damien Harris followed him with nine carries for 35 yards and two scores of his own.
Jackson had an interception, and led the team with four tackles. Dugger and Bryant got interceptions as well. Dont’a Hightower and Christian Barmore each recorded a sack.
As a team, the Patriots finished 7-of-9 on third down, and had 470 yards of offense. They held Jacksonville to just 253 yards on the day.
With the win, the Patriots improve to 10-6 on the year. They also clinched a playoff spot with Miami losing to Tennessee.
The Patriots wrap up their regular season next week on the road against the Dolphins. That game is currently set for 1 p.m., although it is a candidate to be flexed into a primetime window. Pregame coverage will begin on 98.5 The Sports Hub three hours before the scheduled kickoff.
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.