While ‘Take Flight’ is the rally cry of the New York Jets, it was the New England Patriots soaring above the clouds on Sunday afternoon in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Considering the week that was in New England, the Pats looked to have left any remaining turbulence behind in a decisive 30-14 victory over their AFC East-rivals.
Tom Brady connected with his receiving corps for two touchdown passes, and running backs Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead each added a rushing touchdown for the Patriots. Defensively, the Pats continue to impress at a higher level each and every week. New England’s defense did not allow a defensive touchdown for the third straight week as the Pats dominated their way to a 3-0 record thus far in 2019.
Michel scored the game’s first touchdown on a five-yard run, which capped a 9-play, 88-yard drive. From that point on, Brady and the offense began to exploit the holes in the Jets secondary. The Pats spread out New York’s defensive backfield by employing multiple four-receiver formations. As a result, Phillip Dorsett had a 25-yard TD reception and Julian Edelman caught another score from 3 yards out early in the second quarter. Having scored on their first three possessions, the Pats built a 20-0 lead at the half.
Brady finished the day completing 28 of 42 passes for 306 yards. With 8:41 left in the fourth quarter he headed to the sidelines having led New England to a comfortable 30-7 lead. He was relieved by rookie Jarrett Stidham, who initially looked sharp in completing his first two passes. His third, however, was intercepted and returned for a touchdown by Jets’ safety Jamal Adams. Brady returned the following series.
The Patriots defense was stifling for the third straight week. With opening day starter Sam Darnold battling mononucleosis, and backup Trevor Siemian out with a severe ankle injury, third-stringer Luke Falk got the nod for the Jets on Sunday. Making his first NFL start, he looked overmatched by a Pats defense that has kept its opponents on lockdown through the first three games. Falk and the Jets offense struggled to move the ball, going 0 for 12 on third down. Completions were few and far between. Falk even had an errant third-quarter pass intercepted by Devin McCourty deep in the Jets own territory.
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Although it was expected that New York would have some difficulty in the passing game, they did not fare much better in the running game. Le’Veon Bell carried 18 times for just 35 yards, as the Patriots defensive line of Danny Shelton, Lawrence Guy and Adam Butler kept him largely in check. With the Pats defense equally adept at defending both the run and the pass, the Jets were only able to only cross into New England’s territory once in the first half. The Jets punted on their first six possessions, and 10 of their 13 possessions, overall.
In fact, New York’s first points of the day did not arrive until Pats returner/receiver Gunner Olszewski muffed a punt late in the third quarter. It was recovered in the end zone for a touchdown by cornerback Arthur Maulet.
This win marks the Patriots seventh straight victory over the Jets. It is also their ninth consecutive regular-season win at home over New York.
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The Patriots were without running back James White. He missed the game to be with his expectant wife, who delivered a baby boy on Sunday afternoon.
Late in the second quarter. Julian Edelman left the game with a chest injury and did not return. After catching a 3-yard pass from Brady, Edelman fell on his right side, tightly between Jets’ defenders Harvey Langi and Henry Anderson. Edelman got up holding his rib area. According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Edelman’s x-rays came back negative, and the news on his injury is much more positive than negative. Additional information is expected within the next few days.
Wide receiver Josh Gordon also left the field early in the second half with an apparent finger injury. It appeared that his hand became caught in his opponent’s face mask. However, he returned later in the third quarter, making an acrobatic catch of a 28-yard pass inside the five-yard line.
Defensive lineman Adam Butler exited the game late in the third quarter with a leg injury after combining on a sack with linebacker Dont’a Hightower. Hightower also left in the fourth quarter with a shoulder injury.
The Patriots travel north to Orchard Park, New York, where they will take on the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. With their 21-17 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, the Bills will join the Pats in entering this game with 3-0 records.
–Mike D’Abate is a Managing Editor and Columnist for Full Press Coverage. He covers the New England Patriots and provides NFL editorial content. He is also the host of the Locked On Patriots podcast. Follow him on Twitter @mdabateFPC