WR Kendrick Bourne throws his first career pass attempt and scores a touchdown. PIC: David Silverman / New England Patriots
Thank goodness! The Patriots took care of business at Gillette Stadium for the first time this year. New England thumped the New York Jets 54-13 en route to their third win of the 2021 season.
Some of you may be saying, “It’s da god damn Jets!!! They should do this!” For those of you that agree, I will leave the words to the immortal Mike Reiss to try to change your mind.
Say what you will about the opponent, but you cannot run from facts. And this week, the Patriots compiled their most complete team effort we’ve seen from them all year. It showed on the scoreboard, too; the Pats scored their most points in a single game since they beat the Steelers 55-31 in November 2013. They brought out the trickery early, had elite performances from their defense, and racked in over 550 yards of total offense.
The Patriots are finally trending in the right direction on offense. They've scored 76 points in their last two games, Mac Jones has completed 39-of-57 for over 500 yards and 4 touchdowns, only being intercepted twice. The weapons that are Henry and Bourne (and arguably Agholor, too) are finally appearing to become more comfortable. This was an excellent day for the New England Patriots.
There were plenty of bright spots for this group this week. Let’s break it down in today’s Pats Recap.
The trickery came out early.
If you told me Kendrick Bourne would have thrown a touchdown pass before Mac Jones did, I would’ve said you were crazy. Nonetheless, on a play that everyone in the building thought would be an end-around handoff to Bourne, he wound up and found a wide open Nelson Agholor in the end zone.
That was Bourne’s first career passing attempt (par for the course in New England); it was the 3rd completion by a wide receiver on the Patriots this season, whereas the rest of the NFL has a combined TWO (excluding Taysom Hill). Pats WR’s have 3 passing TD’s since the start of last year, which shows how much this offense has evolved since Tom Brady’s last season in Foxboro. Expect more of this in future weeks.
It wasn’t a performance that will put him in the Hall of Fame, but I’d be a liar if I said I’m not ecstatic with Mac Jones’ performance today. Mac looked the best he has all year, throwing for a career-high 307 yards and two TD’s.
Mac has been criticized for being a “pea shooter” of a quarterback, but today finally broke that mold. At the end of the 3rd quarter, he completed 9-of-10 for 87 yards, with 2 of those balls going deep (20+ yards). He had 3 straight third down-conversions: a 19-yard throw to Jakobi Meyers, a 13-yard rush, and a 15-yard TD pass to Brandon Bolden.
Courtesy of ESPN Stats & Info, Mac went 11-for-11 for 137 yards inside the painted numbers on the field, which indicates staying relatively near the hash marks in the middle of the field. That’s the most without an incompletion by any QB in the last 2 years!! Sure, carving apart the Jets secondary can’t be something you’re braggadocious about, but I’m very happy to see Mac have the performance that he did.
Hunter Henry is emerging as the guy.
Hunter Henry reminded Mac Jones before the game that it was National Tight End Day, and Jones proved he was listening.
Henry only hauled in 2 receptions for 23 yards, but found the end zone for the fourth straight game. That’s the longest streak by a Patriots player since Chris Hogan did it in 2017, and the longest streak by a Patriots tight end since Gronk did it in 2014-15 (5 straight games spanning 2 seasons). Expect Hunter Henry to be a focal point of this offense; even if the yards aren’t there, Henry will be a favorite end zone target for Mac.
The secondary, minus Jalen Mills, showed up to play.
No argument from me here - Zach Wilson was awful, and Mike White has never played an NFL snap, so this should’ve been expected. BUT...you must play the opponent in front of you, and you must beat them. So, credit where it’s due to a Pats defense that made the Jets offense miserable. Interceptions from Kyle Dugger and JC Jackson highlighted an excellent defensive effort - they combined for 9 tackles as well. For JC Jackson, it was his 20th career interception...each of his last 4 are against the New York Jets, including all 3 picks he’s managed to grab this season.
It was a great day for just about everyone on the defense, but a horrid performance by Jalen Mills soured the performance. It seemed as though he blew every coverage he had, including one that led to a long haul for Corey Davis.
I will leave it to our friend @Fayll, who eloquently described how most Pats fans feel after Mills' performance today.
UP NEXT: The LA Chargers still sit on the top of the AFC West ledger, and they've deserved it. Justin Herbert is playing well, Austin Ekeler remains one of the most productive running backs in the league so far this year, and the wide receiving core has been a pleasant surprise. The Chargers were thumped by the Ravens 34-6 the last time they went out. The Pats would love to replicate the 45-0 performance they strung together against the Chargers last season; they dominated both special teams and defensive efforts. While the Chargers have improved, I still love the Pats' chances here, so let's see how Vegas sets these lines.