Welcome to the rivalry Zach Wilson.
Zach Wilson got a rude introduction to the Patriots-Jets rivalry as the Bill Belichick-coached Patriots’ defense rolled up four interceptions and four sacks in the 25-6 win over Gang Green for the 11th time in a row.
Wilson was intercepted four times in his first 10 attempted passes including his first two attempts as he had a disastrous home start where the raucous cheers went to boos in the third quarter. Wilson padded his stats with some garbage time yardage, finishing 19-33 for 210 yards with 0 TDs and 4 INTs.
The Patriots’ offense was hardly a juggernaut on the day but took advantage of turnovers and field position to have this one put away by the third quarter. We’ll get to the offense but first the defense.
While the Patriots kept the training wheels on their own rookie QB Mac Jones (more to that later), this is a word of caution when it comes to rookie QBs. What the Jets were doing, and coaching was a direct result of what transpired.
Defense Takes Advantage of Opportunities:
On the Jets’ second offensive snap of the game, Wilson threw deep down the middle into a lot of Patriots jerseys. J.C. Jackson tipped the ball, which was thrown too high and it was picked off.
On the second pick, he rolled to his right and had a wide-open check down for a short gain. Instead, (and this has been his M.O.), he tried to get a big play deep down the sideline. The ball sailed off of Corey Davis’ hands and was picked off by Adrian Phillips.
His third pick was badly underthrown down the right sideline and Jackson undercut the ball and picked it off. His fourth interception occurred in the 3rd quarter. Wilson had plenty of time but pushed the ball deep to the left where no Jets’ receivers were. Only Devin McCourty.
It was a case of overaggressiveness and not taking what the defense was giving him. Wilson was asked after the game if he was seeing ghosts but laughed that off, but he needs to learn from this disastrous outing. He said earlier this week, that he welcomed the challenge of facing a Bill Belichick-coached defense. Now he knows, he’ll get better, he has the talent but his coaches need to temper that gun-slinger mentality this early.
The Patriots got four sacks with Josh Uche getting two and Matthew Judon and Carl Davis each adding one. On the subject of Uche, the Patriots coaches activated Tashawn Bower off the practice squad and he was getting a lion’s share of snaps early over Uche and Winovich it seemed…very curious.
While the pass defense gets high marks for the day, the run defense was getting gashed for much of the afternoon. And the score kept the Jets from running in the 4th quarter. The Jets ran 31 times for 152 yards (4.9-yard average). That is a cause for concern. New York managed just 45 yards a week ago and was pushing the Patriots front seven around with a makeshift offensive line.
Yes, they held the Jets to six points, but this was hardly a solid game for the run defense. With Alvin Kamara and the Saints coming into Foxboro next weekend, it needs fixing.
Offense Sputters But Does Enough to Win:
The Patriots’ offense gained only 260 net yards on the day. Give credit to the Jets’ defense, they’ve played tough two weeks in a row. But the issues along the offensive line don’t just exist at right tackle, although they loom large there. The red zone was once again the Twilight Zone, going 1-3.
Mac Jones was efficient, completing 22 of his 30 passes for 186 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. He had several rookie moments of his own, holding the ball too long resulting in a sack, another poor intentional grounding penalty, among others but the Patriots and Josh McDaniels have kept the training wheels on Jones.
Has it been too much? I think most people would agree. Through two games, he’s yet to actually attempt a pass in the end zone. But what happened with Wilson on the opposite side of the field is a cautionary tale.
The offensive line did not have a stellar game and Jones was sacked three times, hit twice, while the Jets had nine tackles for loss. The running backs didn’t have a lot of room to run. However, they had a couple of excellent plays.
Harris and White Provide All the Offense Needed:
Damien Harris, who ran 16 times for 62 yards had a highlight-reel 26-yard touchdown run where he dragged several Jets into the end zone after breaking tackles down the field. This came after Devin McCourty’s interception and took only two plays. On first down at the Jets 35, Jones hit Nelson Agholor for nine, and then Harris took off.
We said in our keys it felt like a James White kind of day. And it was. White had four carries for 20-yards including a 7-yard touchdown run. He added six catches for 45 yards on six targets including a 28-yarder. Overall, the Patriots ran for 101 yards on 24 carries (4.2-yard average).
Tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith combined for six catches for 70 yards after getting 73 in Week 1. Henry had a nice 32-yard catch down the seam, something we’ve been waiting to see for a long time. When the coaches take the training wheels off Jones in the red zone, the two tight ends should be the recipient of some attempts heading their way.
Folk Sets New Patriots’ Record:
Nick Folk was 4-4 on field goals and he has 32 straight going back to last season, which is a new Patriots record, breaking Stephen Gostkowski’s record of 30 straight.
Overall, it wasn’t pretty, but when are the games against the Jets ever are? I can’t remember too many going back to the days in Fenway Park…but a win is a win.
The team is 1-1 and they return home for a big matchup against the Saints.
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Bill Belichick Corey Davis Damien Harris Hunter Henry James White Jonnu Smith Josh Uche Mac Jones New England Patriots New York Jets NFL Patriots Patriots edge rushers Zach Wilson