Media outlets all over Boston were asking, is this week a must-win game for the New England Patriots? Whether is was a must-win or not, the Patriots made Zach Wilson see ghosts, en route to a 25-6 win over the Jets. Although the game was mainly lopsided, the Patriots left a lot to be desired for in this game. With a three-way tie for 1st place AFC East, here’s what got New England’s first win of the season.
What Went Right?
More James White
This week’s Patriots essentials list discussed the need for more James White. Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels’ must of read the list. In the 1st Quarter, James White led the rushing attack with four carriers, 18 yards, and the team’s first touchdown. While Damien Harris made the play of the day, White is going to be a very reliable option for the Patriots offense.
Spreading It Out
Another essential executed well was spreading the football around. Although Mac Jones did nothing special offensively, he took care of the football and got everyone involved. All of New England’s starting unit contributed as Jones made completions to seven different receivers. Jones’ best ball goes to Jakobi Meyers, right in the bucket on the sideline, a similar throw to last week’s beauty to James White.
Mac Jones’ Fire
Patriots fans will also love the fight in Mac Jones. Three moments in particular: Trying to punch the ball out of the defender’s hands after the Bourne-almost-fumble, pushing Damien Harris into the endzone, and his fearless block setting up a big Kendrick Bourne run. These are the type of plays that make a team want to fight for their Rookie Quarterback.
Josh Uche and the Secondary
Defensively, Steve Belichick and Jerod Mayo must have read the essentials list as well given Corey Davis’ two-catch, eight-yard day. The biggest winner on the defense is Josh Uche. It has been constantly said, Josh Uche should be starting. Uche now leads the Patriots in sacks with three sacks. Uche’s limited snap count is most likely due to pass rushing situations versus run stopping situations. Hard to keep Uche out of the game, however, since the run defense has not looked good with Uche off of the field.
What Went Wrong?
The Patriots first offensive drive replicated a theme: near fumble, 9 play, six-minute drive past the fifty, resulting in three points or less. The Patriots offense continues to move the ball effectively down the field for long drives, only to stall out, leaving points on the board. If New England expects to threaten the NFL, they will need to finish their drives. This, of course, all depends on the red-zone. It’s hard to say how many times the Patriots have even made a throw to the endzone, as pointed out by NBC Sports Boston’s Tom E. Curran.
Patriots fans were ready to see Yasir Durant get traded back to Kansas City. Durant gave up three sacks in the first 22 minutes of the game, forcing Bill Belichick to put Justin Herron on the field. On the other side, Isaiah Wynn did not do the Patriots any favors either. Two penalties to kill offensive drives as Wynn did not win many matchups against the New York pass rush. Hopefully, Trent Brown will be back soon, but for the time being, the Patriots should kick Michael Onwenu back out to tackle.
If Zach Wilson took care of the football, the Jets could have caused New England a major headache. On the ground, the Jets recorded 152 rushing yards to three different backs. In a game where the Jets were often down by 10 or more points. The Patriots had almost no answer for rookie, Michael Carter. That’s two straight weeks where teams have comfortably ran at New England.
The Patriots are back at Gillette Stadium next Sunday vs the New Orleans Saints at 1 pm.
(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)