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Game Observations: Patriots leave no doubt, crush Jets 33-0

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The Patriots roared out to a 24-0 first half lead and never looked back, crushing the overmatched Jets with a 33-0 thrashing. The defense put forth another superlative effort, adding six more takeaways to their league lead and leaving Jets quarterback Sam Darnold seeing ghosts.

It was one of the most dominant efforts of the season, moving the Pats to 7-0 for just the third time in team history (2007, 2015). The offense looked sharp and the defense kept up their absolute dominance as New England reaffirmed their spot atop the list of Super Bowl favorites.

Here’s what stood out in the game observations.

-The Patriots converted four third downs on the opening drive, incorporating new faces like Jakobi Meyers and Ben Watson, while Sony Michel took it into the end zone to finish things off. It was just the kind of start you need on the road and was all the more impressive considering the team was coming off an extended break. At 16 plays, 78 yards it was one of the most impressive offensive drives of the season and set the tone for the night.

-Devin McCourty grabbed another interception on the Jets second play, his fifth in seven games this season, already tying the second-highest total of his career. His career high came as a rookie cornerback when he had seven. It’s turning out to be quite the season for the free-agent-to-be. After a great opening drive by the offense, McCourty once again proved the defense was very much equal to the task.

-Ben Watson came through with a catch on 4th-and-six on the Patriots third drive, immediately making key contributions and appearing to be an upgrade that the team badly needed. Watson finished with just three catches for 18 yards, but looked comfortable in his debut.

- Phillip Dorsett bounced back from a bad game and then a missed game due to injury to do what he does best – catching touchdowns. He finished with three catches for 46 yards, including this 26-yard touchdown.

-Another Cover-0 blitz gave John Simon a clear path to Sam Darnold and he forced a second turnover, with Kyle Van Noy recovering the fumble. Two takeaways in three possessions says it all about this Patriots defense right now, who continue to play at a historic level. Can they keep up this pace? They’re showing no sign of slowing down seven games into the season.

-Elandon Roberts and James Ferentz took turns at fullback on the goal line, with Ferentz leading the way into the end zone for Michel’s second touchdown at the game that set up a 24-0 lead early in the second quarter. For an offense that had some consistency and identity questions coming in, Brady and the Pats offense were relentless out of the gate. Roberts would lead the way as the fullback in the fourth quarter for Michel’s third touchdown of the game.

-J.C. Jackson took back-to-back penalties, one for a hold, another for pass interference, and gave the Jets some life after they got into a 24-point hole. It was a reminder of how aggressive Jackson plays and how he can get a little handsy. But of course, it didn’t end up mattering because Duron Harmon grabbed an interception, the third takeaway of the first half for the Patriots. Jackson would pick up another pass interference call in the third quarter.

-The Patriots defense was playing with their pre-snap disguise so much it left Darnold admitting he was seeing ghosts on the sideline. We’re used to seeing elite offenses in these parts but we’ve never seen a defense quite like this, even back in the early 2000’s. They’re quickly becoming must-watch like the 2007 offense was.

-The Jets came out in the second half and put together a few first downs, but yet again a Cover-0 blitz forced Darnold to unload a poorly thrown ball that was picked off by Stephon Gilmore, the Patriots fourth takeaway of the game. Is there an offense that can handle the Patriots pressure and disguise? They’re playing fearlessly now with relentless attack.

-Jakobi Meyers continues to build trust with Tom Brady, putting up a career-high five catches on five targets for 47 yards. It’s encouraging to see Meyers get to the spots where Brady wants him and catching everything thrown his way. He’s been healthy and available all season long, and now he’s starting to consistently contribute. It’s a good thing, the team needs him.

-This was the best all-around win of the season but it was not without its warts as the running game finished with just 76 yards on 32 carries for a 2.4 yards-per-carry average. James White had five carries for zero yards. Sony Michel had three touchdowns but averaged just 2.2 yards-per-carry. The development of the passing game, with great protection and emerging complimentary pieces in Dorsett, Watson and Meyers, helped offset the struggles on the ground but that aspect of the offense continues to be a work in progress.

-It seemed like there was no bottom for the Jets when they took a safety due to a bad snap. This game lacked a pure Buttfumble moment, but it was just as comically bad. A tipped pass by Brady that was intercepted almost gave the Jets some kind of life in the third quarter, but Darnold gave it right back with his fourth interception, this one grabbed by former Jet Terrence Brooks. It was that kind of game where the Jets just couldn’t string anything together.

-The first four possessions were great – touchdown, field goal, touchdown, touchdown – but after that things stagnated for much of the middle two quarters as they have often done this season. That bad stretch featured three punts, an interception and then another punt before they put a drive together and got back into the end zone in the fourth quarter. Eliminating that inconsistency will be a goal going forward, as the Pats offense continued to keep their foot on the gas even while up 30-plus points.

The Patriots are back in action on Sunday October 27th at 4:30pm, welcoming Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns for an AFC tilt.

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