FOXBORO, Mass. — Over the course of this 2021 NFL season, we’ve impatiently waited for a game like this one by the Patriots. We’ve waited for the Patriots to not play down to their competition as they did in Houston. Or commit a game-changing error as they did against Miami. Or lose in the fourth quarter as they did against Tampa Bay, or in overtime as they did against Dallas.
We’ve waited for a game without turnovers, penalties, poor pass protection. It took a home game in Week 7 against the New York Jets as the Patriots put it all together on Sunday in a dominating 54-13 victory.
Rookie quarterback Mac Jones had the best game of his NFL career, completing 24-of-36 passes for 307 yards and two touchdowns. Brandon Bolden had a career game, leading the Patriots with six receptions for 79 yards and a touchdown. Damien Harris (106 yards, two touchdowns) rushed past the century mark for the second-straight week.
This was the highest-scoring Patriots game since 2013 when they had 55 points against Pittsburgh. Their 551 total yards are the most since 2017 when they had 555 against New Orleans.
Here are the key takeaways:
The Patriots started fast
The Patriots came into this game averaging 9.3 points in the first half. That put them 21st in the NFL. The Jets were last, scoring 2.6 points per first half and had scored zero points in the first quarter.
The Pats needed to start fast. When they did, there was no looking back.
The Patriots hadn’t reached the 30-point barrier all season. They accomplished that in the first half. The Pats scored on all five of their drives in the first two quarters and led, 31-7, at halftime.
The Patriots offense started fast thanks to a trick play and took a 7-0 lead. At 12:43 of the first quarter, receiver Kendrick Bourne took a lateral from Jones, then threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to fellow receiver Nelson Agholor. Bourne had never attempted a pass in the NFL in his career.
Harris’ dominating day started early as well. On the second drive, the running back touched the ball five times in the seven-play scoring drive. He took the offense downfield with a 32-yard run and capped it off with a 1-yard touchdown burst at 7:21 of the first quarter.
Injuries changed the complexion of the game
On a play at 12:38 of the second quarter, Jets rookie quarterback Zach Wilson suffered a game-ending knee injury. The quarterback was hit by Matthew Judon on a pass that was nearly intercepted by Devin McCourty, who suffered an abdomen injury on the play and he didn’t return.
The Patriots saw four players leave in the first half. Along with McCourty, Jonnu Smith (shoulder), Carl Davis (wrist) and Harvey Langi (knee) went down. Smith and Langi were eventually ruled out. That was a tough break for Smith, who had had two catches for a season-high 52 yards. Shaq Mason (abdomen) left the game in the fourth quarter.
When Wilson left, backup Mike White came into the game. He connected with Corey Davis for a 3-yard touchdown at 10:37 of the second quarter, cutting the Pats’ lead to 17-7. The Patriots scored on the ensuing series on a Bolden 15-yard touchdown pass to go up 24-7.
White completed 20-of-32 passes for 202 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
This was a good reminder that it can always get worse in the NFL
The Patriots haven’t been great this season. Sunday’s game was a good reminder that it can always get worse. Just take a look at the Jets.
The first half was a good example of this:
The Jets committed a defensive holding penalty on the first play of the game. On their third drive, kicker Matt Ammendola missed a 48-yard field goal at 1:53 of the first quarter. That would have given New York its first points in the first quarter this season. On the next series, on third down, a Jets encroachment penalty gave the Pats a first down, leading to a field goal. On fourth-and-1 from the 28-yard line, Jets running back Ty Johnson was stuffed. On the next Patriots drive, the Jets were flagged for defensive pass interference — on a third-down incomplete pass — to put the Pats at the 1-yard line. That led to a Hunter Henry touchdown pass play.
The Jets allowed more points to the Pats in the first half than any team has in an entire game this season. The Patriots didn’t punt until late in the third quarter. Brian Hoyer was in the game. The Pats had 11 different players catch passes on Sunday. The Jets lost the turnover battle, 3-0.Internet Explorer Channel Network