Last week I tentatively assumed the Patriots would secure their first home win of the season when the Jets came to town this past Sunday. They were 0-4 in Foxborough at that point, somewhat shockingly. But I trusted Bill Belichick to take care of business against an inferior divisional opponent.
He took care of business. In fact, the Patriots’ 54-13 win looked like a kid abusing his younger sibling in Madden.
The Pats running game has struggled at times this season. A strong ground game is a staple of Bill Belichick’s teams, but they’ve had multiple piss poor efforts so far in 2021. They seemed to make a concerted effort to rectify that flaw in this game, specifically in the red zone. The Pats ran for 148 yards and four touchdowns on the ground against the Jets.
Another area to stress was Mac Jones’s freedom within the offense. The rookie has played much better over his past few games, but he hasn’t really asserted himself; he’s been a typical game-manager. That wasn’t the story against the Jets, however, as the rookie threw for 307 yards (his first 300-yard game) and two scores, going 24 for 36.
The pass defense was the final department that has been lacking (severely) this season, and once again, Bill and the Pats used this game to fix things. Zach Wilson, who left the game with an injury, and Mike White combined for 237 passing yards and one TD, to go along with two picks. The 237 figure is made even more impressive by the fact that the Jets were playing from behind most of the game. Good time to air it out, but there was nothing there.
The Patriots excelled in three troublesome areas this past Sunday.
Bill Belichick kept his team in attack mode late in the fourth quarter up by a million. Gotta love it. This was a get-right game on multiple levels, so it’s safe to assume he and his coaching staff wanted the team to experience as much success as possible, scoreboard-be-damned. Get out there and score, then score again, then score some more. Build up as much confidence and momentum as possible as they head into a key three-game stretch against the Chargers, Panthers, and Browns.
Was it bush league? Maybe in some contexts. But for a 2-4 team clinging to life while relying on several unproven players, it makes sense to take everything the opposition is giving you. After multiple heartbreaking losses, they probably needed it.
On to Los Angeles.