Apparently, ugly wins are back in fashion in New England.
And when I say ugly, I mean really ugly. I mean the type of ugly that makes you cringe, throw up a little bit in your mouth, bite your fingernails, etc. etc.
But at the end of the day, a win is a win, and the New England Patriots have won their home opener against the New York Jets. And they now have a 2-0 record with both of those wins coming in the division.
On offense, the only positive of the day came on the team's opening drive, where they went six plays and 81 yards. The drive was capped with a 39-yard Tom Brady to Aaron Dobson throw. On the play, Dobson was lined up behind the tackle as an h-back type, ran a wheel route off a play-action, and snuck behind the Jets defense for an easy touchdown. Credit the score to Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
Julian Edelman was the only skill player on offense that could muster any semblance of reliable production. He recorded 13 total grabs for 78 yards. Tom Brady completed just 19 of 39 throws on the night - but those numbers can be attributed more to drops and miscommunications with receivers than anything. Rookie Aaron Dobson, in particular, struggled. Stevan Ridley got the bulk of the load on the ground, carrying the ball 16 times, but only picking up 40 yards.
The real bright spot of this game came on the defensive side of the ball. The offense really owes the defense for this win. The Jets ran the ball relatively well, but the Patriots didn't allow any big gains, and really dominated in pass defense. They intercepted Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith three times, including twice late in the fourth quarter. Defensive end Chandler Jones got the pass rush going for the Patriots the first time this year, picking up two of the team's four total sacks. The Jets receivers had some drops, but the Patriots did a good job attacking the ball and their defensive backs were really solid tackling.
So, the Patriots are 2-0, and neither of their wins have looked pretty. But 2-0 is 2-0. They'll now have over a week to prepare for their week three game against the Buccaneers. And that means they'll have plenty of time to improve. So relax, these might not be your 2007 Patriots, but they're still winning football games.