Patriots

Mac Jones, Patriots pound Jets for first home victory of 2021

Follow live updates here as Mac Jones and the Patriots take on Zach Wilson and the New York Jets in another battle of the rookie quarterbacks.

Kendrick Bourne Brandon Bolden Patriots
New England Patriots running back Brandon Bolden, right, is congratulated by Kendrick Bourne (84) after his touchdown during the first half against the New York Jets. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

The Patriots are winless at home no longer thanks to a merciless beatdown of the New York Jets on Sunday. It was New England’s 11th-straight victory over their division opponents and fifth-straight series sweep.

Mac Jones had the best statistical game of his career, completing 24-of-36 passes for a career-high 307 yards and two touchdowns. But the running game was no less impressive, with Damien Harris (106 yards, two touchdowns) and J.J. Taylor accounting for four scores on the ground combined.

Defensively, the Patriots knocked Jets rookie Zach Wilson out of the game early and eventually got to backup quarterback Mike White, picking him off twice in the third quarter to flip the game completely in New England’s favor.

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Here’s how the game unfolded on Sunday.

Fourth quarter

4:13 p.m.: Three straight knees, and that’ll do it. Patriots win 54-13.

Just a thorough beat-down from beginning to end that New England badly needed. They improve to 3-4 with a tough game against the Los Angeles Chargers looming next week.

4:09 p.m.: Myles Bryant and Josh Uche get in on the turnover parade just ahead of the two-minute warning, with Bryant stripping the ball from Michael Carter on a short catch-and-run and Uche diving on top of it to give the Patriots the ball back.

That’s three for the defense on the day.

4:04 p.m.: A N’Keal Harry sighting, and a 50-burger all in one possession!

The big wide receiver fights through a pass interference penalty to wrestle a deep ball away from the Jets’ Javelin Guidry and set the Patriots up at the 1-yard line.

It was a slightly underthrown ball from Brian Hoyer on a double-move from Harry, but good fight from the receiver to pull in the 50-50 ball for 28 yards.

J.J. Taylor sneaks into the end zone from there to push New England over 50 points.

The Patriots also went over 500 yards of total offense that drive and have seen 11 different players catch passes in this game.

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3:56 p.m.: Mac Jones’s day is done. Brian Hoyer is in at quarterback for the first time this season after a short drive from the Jets fizzles out.

Hoyer will oversee the effort to get a 50-burger after Jones has yet another good game, finishing with 307 yards and two touchdowns.

3:51 p.m.: So much for taking the foot off the gas pedal.

Mac Jones finally earns his first 300-yard passing game with a beautiful deep toss down the left sideline to Kendrick Bourne, who can’t quite get into the end zone.

No matter: J.J. Taylor punches it in from the 1-yard line for his first career rushing touchdown. It’s 47-13 after Nick Folk shanks the extra point: his third miss of the year on those kicks.

Jones is now 24-of-36 passing for 307 yards — his new career-best.

3:46 p.m.: The Jets go for it on fourth down with nothing left to lose, and Deatrick Wise Jr. rejects Mike White’s pass attempt with two hands to snuff out the drive.

White thought he had a crossing route open on 4th-and-4, but Wise did his best J.J. Watt impression to make sure it never got past the line of scrimmage.

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Patriots get the ball back at their own 47-yard line up by four touchdowns.

3:37 p.m.: Damien Harris fantasy owners must be thrilled.

Harris charges in from three yards out for his second score of the day, making the score 41-13 Patriots after Nick Folk’s extra point. That’s now 106 yards for New England’s No. 1 running back. The new offensive line look with Michael Onwenu at right tackle and Ted Karras at left guard has dominated this afternoon.

It’s about time to start trying to beat the traffic.

Third quarter

3:32 p.m.: The third quarter is over. Finally.

The Patriots hold a commanding 34-13 lead and are already down at the Jets’ 34-yard line thanks to a few Damien Harris carries. Harris now has 103 yards for the game, giving him his sixth career 100-yard rushing game.

Mac Jones doesn’t have incredible numbers, but he’s been efficient once again (228 yards on 20-of-32 passion, two TDs). They might not need him much in the final frame.

3:30 p.m.: Mike White tried to throw an interception on 2nd-and-12, and he managed to finally do it on third down. J.C. Jackson swipes him on a throw long the right sideline, stepping in front of Elijah Moore on a deep out route.

That’s now two interceptions in the last two drives. Jackson has his third pick of the season — all three coming against the Jets.

3:22 p.m.: The Patriots can’t capitalize on the Dugger interception as Mac Jones can’t hit Hunter Henry deep down the right sideline and Isaiah Wynn commits a holding penalty.

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It took a while for Wynn to get dinged today, and he wasn’t the man responsible for the Jets’ lone sack on Jones. But the left tackle’s less-than-stellar season continues.

Then, on the ensuing point, a personal foul penalty on New England’s Brandon King nets the Jets 15 extra yards. They’ll start at the 33-yard line.

3:20 p.m.: Dugger’s interception stands. What a play to grab that one off his shoestrings and provide the defense’s first takeaway of the day.

Mac Jones wastes no time as the Patriots get the ball back, hitting Nelson Agholor on a short throw that Agholor takes for 26 yards.

3:16 p.m.: Mike White’s throw over the middle sails too high for Ryan Griffin, and Kyle Dugger at first appears to scoop it off the turf before it hits the ground for his second interception of the season. But they’re going to review this one.

This could all but seal the game if the Patriots get the ball back here and score.

3:08 p.m.: That third down play had no chance as Mac Jones gets snowed under immediately by Del’Shawn Phillips. That’s the first sack surrendered by the offensive line today.

But Nick Folk tacks on a 50-yard field goal to increase the lead to 34-13. Whatever is going on with his left knee, it hasn’t stopped him from being automatic when the kicks matter.

3:01 p.m.: New York is having all kinds of injury issues in this game, with edge defender Jonathan Franklin-Myers — the team’s best player on the defensive front — down on the ground along with linebacker Blake Cashman.

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On another note, the Patriots’ 31 points in the first half are apparently the most they’ve scored in a half since 2014.

2:53 p.m.: The Jets offense got some help from a Jalen Mills pass interference penalty and punch it in on a reverse to Elijah Moore, who gets his first NFL touchdown on the 19-yard run.

Moore simply hit fifth gear as Deatrich Wise Jr. closed in on him from behind, and no one else could get him.

New York’s two-point conversion fails, however, which keeps it a three-score game. It’s now 31-13 Patriots.

2:50 p.m.: Tough news for the Patriots: tight end Jonnu Smith is now out of the game with a shoulder injury suffered in the first half. That’s unfortunate after he had his best half of football yet this season, putting up 57 total yards (52 receiving, five rushing).

Linebacker Harvey Langi is also out for the game.

Jets quarterback Zach Wilson has also officially been ruled out with a right knee injury.

Second quarter

2:33 p.m.: The Jets try to run a few plays before the half, but a sack from Daniel Ekuale, who was elevated from the practice squad this week, ends all that. The score is 31-7 New England going into the break.

The Patriots have three passing touchdowns in the game — two from Mac Jones, (16-of-26 passing for 169 yards) and one from Kendrick Bourne — and Damien Harris had an excellent first half on the ground (83 yards on eight carries, 1 TD).

Brandon Bolden has also had quite the game so far, leading New England with 59 yards receiving on five catches (one touchdown).

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New England’s defense hasn’t forced a turnover yet, but they did stuff the Jets on fourth down to set up the Patriots’ last score before the half.

2:30 p.m.: Jakobi Meyers couldn’t get his first career touchdown on 3rd-and-goal, but he helps the Patriots out anyway by drawing a holding penalty on the play to get New England a new set of downs.

From there, Mac Jones finds Hunter Henry in the end zone for the fourth straight game from one yard out. Henry shook free of his defender and corraled the throw from Jones with one hand. With the extra point, it’s 31-7 Patriots.

After getting phased out of the game plan somewhat last week, Henry and Jonnu Smith have had multiple big plays in this one.

2:22 p.m.: Brandon Bolden is having himself a day so far, ripping off a 28-yard play on a checkdown from Mac Jones on the Patriots’ first play of this two-minute drill.

He hasn’t done much to start the year, but he’s got 43 yards receiving on two catches.

2:20 p.m.: Big play from rookie Christian Barmore to stuff Ty Johnson on 4th-and-1, and the Patriots get the ball back on the other side of the two-minute warning.

Barmore got into the backfield immediately and simply wrecked the play from the start.

2:17 p.m.: Two-minute warning in Foxborough with the Jets facing 4th-and-1 from New England’s 29-yard line when we come back.

The Patriots are having a little more trouble with the Jets and their backup quarterback Mike White than expected, as he hit Corey Davis deep for a 22-yard pass to help get New York into New England territory.

2:10 p.m.: Brandon Bolden gets into the end zone for the first time this season on a perfectly executed screen pass, and the score is now 24-7 Patriots. It was a great play call, using Jakobi Meyers as a decoy before dumping it to Bolden with no one around. He just had to get the corner to score, and he did.

A few plays before that, Mac “Hot Wheels” Jones couldn’t find anyone open on yet another 3rd-and-10, so he turned on the jets around the right end for his longest career run — a 13-yard scramble to convert yet another third down.

The common theme on the two plays: the Jets have lost contain several times in this game — including on this drive — and it’s burned them.

2:01 p.m.: When in doubt, find Jakobi Meyers.

Mac Jones did just that on 3rd-and-10, moving the chains with a 19-yard pass over the middle.

The quarterback couldn’t quite hit Meyers on a fade route on first down and got belted on second down while looking for Nelson Agholor, but he kept his cool and found his security blanket there.

Jones has been aggressive on this drive, targeting Meyers and Agholor down the field multiple times on deep throws.

1:53 p.m.: Jets backup quarterback Mike White actually manages to punch it in with Zach Wilson out of the game, tossing a three-yard touchdown pass to Corey Davis.

The play looked like it could’ve been offensive pass interference on Davis, who pushed off a bit on cornerback Jalen Mills, but referees picked up the flag and let the play stand.

Ammendola’s extra point makes it 17-7. So the blowout gets halted for the moment.

Meanwhile, Zach Wilson, who had played much better so far in his second game against New England, is heading to the locker room with an apparent right leg injury.

Wilson had actually gotten rolled up earlier on the drive by Lawrence Guy, who hit the rookie quarterback low as he scrambled toward the sideline and threw the football away. But he didn’t show ill effects until he got hit by Judon two plays later.

It might be White’s show from here on out.

1:49 p.m.: Incredibly eventful play there for many reasons.

Zach Wilson’s pass down field to Keelan Cole is nearly picked by Devin McCourty, but Kyle Dugger gets flagged for pass interference on Cole at the Patriots’ 2-yard line. The Jets will get the ball there with a chance to cut into the lead.

But Wilson also took a hit from Matthew Judon while rolling out of the pocket, went down hard and couldn’t get up on his own. He looks like he’ll be coming out of the game, which would be a massive blow to the Jets.

1:45 p.m.: No problems for Nick Folk on that one as he drills a 39-yard field goal to give the Patriots a 17-0 lead.

The Patriots’ drive fizzled out just outside the red zone thanks to two misses from Mac Jones to tight end Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry.

All in all, though, he’s had plenty of time to throw and has yet to be hit yet, which is a major improvement no matter how you slice it.

First quarter

1:41 p.m.: That’ll do it for the first quarter, with the Patriots ahead 14-0. New England is driving, though the series almost started with disaster.

Mac Jones nearly threw an interception on the first play of the drive on a pass intended for tight end Jonnu Smith, but it went off linebacker Quincy Williams’s fingertips.

The Patriots made the Jets pay on the next play with a 24-yard pitch-and-catch to Smith. The New England tight end is having his best game of the year by far with 52 yards already on two catches, with most of those yards coming after the catch.

1:32 p.m.: The Patriots’ defense recovers from a somewhat sloppy drive to force the Jets to kick a field goal, and Matt Ammendola’s 48-yard kick misses wide to the right to keep the score 14-0 in favor of New England.

The defense could’ve gotten off the field long before that, of course, but missed tackles allowed running back Ty Johnson and Elijah Moore to pick up first downs and help the Jets get into Patriots territory.

But a good stop by Jalen Mills, who failed to stop Moore earlier on the drive, on Jamison Crowder and a third-down incompletion killed the drive.

New England can really hurt the Jets with a score now.

1:19 p.m.: Touchdown No. 2 for the Patriots already as Damien Harris punches it in from one yard out. Extra point makes it 14-10.

That makes it three straight games with a touchdown for Harris, who looks like he’s already on his way to a career game with 60 yards on just five carries. He owned the last three plays of that drive, ripping off a 32-yard to set the Patriots up in the red zone and nearly punching it in on the next play from the 7-yard line before sledgehammering in on 2nd-and-goal.

With the Jets yet to score in the first quarter this season and going three-and-out on their first drive, this one could get out of hand quickly.

1:15 p.m.: This game could hardly be going better for the Patriots.

A quick score on offense is followed up by a defensive three-and-out from the defense, highlighted by Myles Bryant bringing down Jets rookie quarterback Zach Wilson for his first-career sack on third down.

1:09 p.m.: That was quick!

Patriots’ gunslinger Kendrick Bourne gets the scoring started with a gadget-play pass to Nelson Agholor for a touchdown, and Nick Folk hits the extra point to make the score 7-0.

Mac Jones took the snap and threw a bubble screen backward along the line of scrimmage to Bourne, who then hit a wide-open Agholor streaking down the right sideline for a 25-yard score.

The Patriots had everything going on that four-play, 65-yard drive (aside from a holding penalty on Shaq Mason), from a big kick return by Gunner Olszewski, a nice run by Damien Harris on the first play from scrimmage and a 28-yard catch-and-run from Jonnu Smith, who also had a carry on the drive, on a screen pass.

Pre-game

1:02 p.m.: The Jets win the toss and defer to the second half. The Patriots will start with the ball in this one. Let’s do this.

12:38 p.m.: A long-awaited switch on the Patriots’ offensive line seems finally to have happened.

ESPN’s Mike Reiss and other reporters noted Michael Onwenu appears to have shifted to right tackle for today’s game based on warm-ups, with Ted Karras taking over Onwenu’s spot at left guard.

The Patriots had gone through a revolving door on the right side once Trent Brown went out with an injury after just one series in Week 1, starting Justin Herron, Yasir Durant and Yodny Cajuste on the right side in relief. The team had seemed reluctant, however, to move Onwenu, who started almost his entire rookie year at right tackle last season, to that spot, opting to keep him at left guard.

But New England notably played Onwenu at right tackle last week against Dallas after he returned from the Reserve/COVID list, signaling a more permanent move might be coming.

The starting offensive line group (from left to right) of Wynn, Karras, David Andrews, Shaq Mason and Onwenu should be the team’s best offensive line group until Brown returns.

12:11 p.m.: Another story worth monitoring as the Patriots go through the season is Nick Folk’s health.

The veteran kicker has been excellent this season, missing just one kick all year (the potential game-winner against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers). But warm-ups the last few weeks have been an adventure, with Folk spraying the ball around the yard more than usual.

The reason for his struggles may be a left knee injury, which would affect his ability to plant on kicks.

Folk didn’t have to kick any field goals against Dallas last week but hit all three of his extra-point attempts, suggesting he should be able to do his job when called upon.

But his nagging knee injury is far from ideal for the Patriots, who currently only have punter Jake Bailey available to kick in emergency situations with Quinn Nordin currently on injured reserve.

11:48 a.m.: Making sense of Stevenson’s health scratch is difficult for a few reasons.

For one, he clearly looked like the second back in the pecking order just last week, snapping Brandon Bolden and scoring his first career touchdown. He’s had 19 touches for 85 yards since being activated for the Houston Texans game, has been solid both as a runner and receiver and, most importantly, hasn’t fumbled the football.

Also, running backs coach Ivan Fears has spent the last few weeks pumping up the rookie up after showing the young back tough love to in the beginning stages of the season.

“He’s going to turn it loose, and we’ll be all right. Believe me, we will be all right,” Fears said of Stevenson two weeks ago.

“I like the kid. He’s a conscientious kid trying to do what’s right. He’s made some great strides in the few weeks that we had to sit him down. I’m really happy, and I hope he has a chance to show everybody what he’s really all about.”

Now, just as soon as he was getting that chance, he’s back on the bench without an apparent injury.

Perhaps he had a bad week of practice this past week, or maybe there were some pass protection issues or missed assignments in his last two appearances the coaching staff couldn’t forgive.

Aside from that, this move feels hard to figure out.

11:33 a.m.: A few big names and surprises headline the Patriots’ inactive list for today’s game, including linebacker Dont’a Hightower and running back Rhamondre Stevenson.

New England’s inactive are as follows: Hightower, Stevenson, Yasir Durant, Shaun Wade and Ronnie Perkins.

Hightower had been listed as questionable this week with elbow and ankle injuries and did not practice on Wednesday and Friday.

Stevenson, however, appears to be a healthy scratch after two solid weeks of play, giving J.J. Taylor an opportunity to get some run against the Jets.

The good news: starting right guard Shaq Mason, who worked out on the field a bit ago, looks like he’ll be good to go for Sunday. Joejuan Williams could also see some action today with the cornerback position looking perilously thin due to Jonathan Jones landing on injured reserve.

11:03 a.m.: The Patriots aren’t the only ones potentially dealing with a key defensive absence in Week 7.

Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley, who’s doubtful to play with a hamstring injury, has worked out on the field before the game in hopes of giving it a go, according to The Boston Globe’s Ben Volin.

If Mosley did play, he’d be one of the only players with a “Doubtful” designation coming into a game to suit up all year.

On the Patriots’ side of things, the defense will be without starting slot cornerback Jonathan Jones, who went on injured reserve this week. That’s a blow for a secondary that has given up more than 700 yards passing and six touchdowns through the last two weeks.

Myles Bryant (practice squad elevation) figures to get some snaps in the slot in relief of Jones, though Jalen Mills might also be able to slide inside if the Patriots feel comfortable enough playing Joejuan Williams on the outside.

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