The Patriots demolished the Jets, 54-13, on Sunday in their most complete game of the 2021 season. New England scored on its first drive thanks to a trick play in which Kendrick Bourne threw a touchdown pass to Nelson Agholor and never looked back from there. New England also played an excellent game on defense, forcing three turnovers and holding the Jets to 13 points and 299 total yards, including garbage time.
One of the biggest reasons for the blowout was the play of the offensive line, the fifth different starting combination this year worked wonders and finally solidified the unit.
The Patriots had a starting group of Isaiah Wynn-Ted Karras-David Andrews-Shaq Mason-Michael Onwenu from left to right. Onwenu and Karras played at right tackle and left guard, respectively, during part of the Patriots’ loss to the Cowboys last week. However, they had not played a full game at those spots this season. Onwenu was an excellent right tackle last year and Karras has been a solid guard in his career. The Patriots had been playing Onwenu at left guard because they viewed his ceiling as higher there, but the constant pressure Mac Jones had been under precipitated a change.
The results of the change were positive and immediate. The Patriots went right down the field to score on their first drive and did not look back. They rushed for 148 yards as a team including 106 by Damien Harris. Harris averaged 7.6 yards per carry and routinely had large holes to run through up the middle. J.J. Taylor also scored two touchdowns and ripped off a 15-yard run through a large hole up front.
Jones threw for 307 yards, his first 300-yard game of his career. More importantly, he was only sacked once and had more than enough time in the pocket to push the ball downfield when the opportunity arose. Adding in Bourne’s touchdown pass and garbage time from Brian Hoyer, the Patriots threw for 403 yards, three touchdowns and only allowed the one sack.
Entering the season, the offensive line was viewed as a strength of the Patriots. However, up until Sunday the unit did not play like it. If the Patriots can get consistent performances out of their offensive line like they did on Sunday, they will be able to get back into the playoff hunt.