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5 Keys from Patriots' win over the Jets

Here are the five key takeaways from the Patriots first win of the 2021 season.


The Patriots grabbed four interceptions off of Zach Wilson that helped them build an early lead that they'd extend in the second half, coming away with a 25-6 win to record their first victory of the season.

Damien Harris bounced back from his Week 1 fumble, picking up an impressive rushing touchdown in the second half that helped put the Jets away, while Mac Jones and the rest of the offense played an efficient and mostly error-free game that was enough when paired with the Jets' turnovers.

It wasn't all perfect, but the Patriots took advantage of the Jets' mistakes and it was enough to even their season record at 1-1.

Here are the five key takeaways from the Patriots win!

J.C.Jackson starts the pick party

J.C. Jackson has emerged as one of the biggest ballhawks in the league and he got his first interception of the 2021 season on Zach Wilson's first throw of the game, setting up the first points of the game as the Patriots took a 3-0 lead. Jackson not only made the initial play on the ball but regrouped and caught it after it deflected, giving the Patriots an early boost. It was a remarkable effort and the kind of play Jackson has become known for and it was just the start of a Patriots pick parade in the game.

Adrian Phillips would follow Jackson's lead, snagging his own interception on the very next Jets possession and that one would lead to the Patriots' first touchdown of the game. Phillips had a more limited role in Week 1 but continues to show up with timely plays no matter what role he plays.

After allowing a Jets field-goal drive, Jackson would pick up his second interception of the game on Wilson's worst throw of the bunch. Devin McCourty would then keep things going in the second half, picking up his own interception, the fourth of the game.

When the Patriots' defense gets takeaways they, like all teams, are extremely tough to beat. Wilson did them some favors with some bad throws, but credit the D for securing the takeaways. The big plays set the tone for the game and helped New England build a lead while they were struggling to find their stride offensively.

Offense struggles on third down

With Trent Brown out and Yasir Durant getting the start, there was some shuffling at right tackle and the repercussions were felt as the Jets defense presented all kinds of problems for Mac Jones and the Patriots' offense, especially on third down. New England's offense would finish three-of-11 on third down as the offense stalled out on too many of their drives.

The Jets showed timely pressure and a sound gameplan that forced New England to earn every yard they could. Pass protection was particularly a problem in the first half, with Jones taking three sacks.

Overall, the offense leaned into their running and screen games, with a fair number of draws coming into play, but there weren't many dynamic developments in Week 2. Mac Jones completed 22-of-30 passes, but the Patriots averaged just 4.6 yards-per-play, less than the Jets' 4.9.

Finding a way to stretch the field will continue to be a big priority for the Patriots offense. While Mac Jones continues to show promise, there are clear areas where he and the offense need to develop and against the Jets those problems centered around third down.

Run defense concerns continue

Wilson's interceptions were the biggest factor of the first half and they covered up another questionable performance by the run defense with the Jets rolling up significant gains almost every time they handed the ball off. In the first half, the Jets racked up 72 rushing yards at a 5.2 yards-per-carry clip.

For the game the Jets ended up with 152 rushing yards, averaging 4.9 yards-per-carry. The Jets had just 45 rushing yards in Week 1 against the Panthers. Had the game not been so dramatically impacted by turnovers, the Jets solid day on the ground could've played a big part.

The front seven was largely remade this offseason. Deatrich Wise and Lawrence Guy were re-signed, Davon Godchaux and Matt Judon were free-agent additions, while Kyle Van Noy was brought back and Dont'a Hightower returned. That's a veteran group that was expected to dominate on paper, but thus far, a year after finishing with the worst DVOA run defense in the league, they've been pushed around far too much.

Harris goes beast mode

Damien Harris' fumble was an unfortunate piece of the opening week loss to the Dolphins but in Week 2 Harris bounced back with a vengeance, running like a man possessed on a 26-yard touchdown run that extended New England's lead to 19-3 in the third quarter.

For the game, Harris finished with 62 yards on 16 carries as he didn't pile up the yardage but his touchdown run was easily the best offensive play of New England's first win of the season.

The effectiveness of the ground game waned somewhat in the second half as the Patriots looked to put the Jets away. With Rhamondre Stevenson inactive and J.J. Taylor playing limited snaps, the offense will need to find some late-game answers at the running back position going forward.

Folk keeps cruising...on field goals

Nick Folk continued his hot streak, tying a team record by making his 31st-straight field goal, then making his 32nd- and 33rd-straight in the second half to break the record and set a new mark. Last season, Folk hit a game-winning kick against his old team and he was just as deadly this time around even if his clutch leg wasn't called upon in the same way. His first two field goals in the first half were no gimmes from 46 and 49 yards.

He would miss a third-quarter extra point as it wouldn't be a perfect day for the vet but would bounce back with another two field goals to get things back on track.

With Quinn Nordin moving to Injured Reserve this week, expect Folk to take his spot on the 53-man roster this week. The Patriots managed things so they could hold on to both of their kickers from camp, but as Folk's hot streak continues there should be little doubt that he will be the kicker going forward.

Hopefully, the missed extra point doesn't seep over into his works on field goals.

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