The Patriots invested heavily in improving their defense this offseason and the defense’s performance against the Jets on Sunday was a great early return on that investment. New England held the Jets to six points and intercepted Zach Wilson four times in a 25-6 win.
Things started well with an interception on Wilson’s first pass attempt. J.C. Jackson was positioned perfectly in the middle of the field and gave his coaches credit for getting him to the right spot. Jackson tipped the pass and it was tipped again by Devin McCourty before ultimately falling back into Jackson’s hand. Wilson’s second interception came on his second pass attempt on a throw to Corey Davis that was somewhat forced, but still could have been caught. Adrian Phillips came down with that pick.
Wilson threw two more interceptions that were stomach-churning, especially his fourth of the day that was thrown to Devin McCourty. The Jets offense could not get into a rhythm at all. New England gave up 336 total yards and held the Jets to a respectable 5-13 on 3rd Down. The Patriots held the Jets to 1-3 on 4th down as well. Wilson was also sacked four times.
The New England run defense was again below expectations, giving up 4.9 yards per rush and 151 total rushing yards. Part of this was a product of the Jets desire to continue to run, but the defense needs to improve its run stopping as the season progresses. They haven’t been getting consistently gashed like they did in 2020, but they are not stout against the run right now.
Mac Jones and the offense were solid, but continued to struggle in the red zone and also struggled on 3rd Down. New England scored two touchdowns, but also kicked four field goals and was 3-12 on 3rd Down. As the offense continues to grow and open up more, the Patriots will need to lean on their defense to win. Make no mistake, the offense putting 25 points on the board is not bad, but the missed opportunities could cost them against a better opponent than New York. In the meantime, the Patriots will look to their defense to give them an early-season edge.