The New England Patriots won the opening coin toss and elected to receive the kickoff instead of deferring the decision to the second half. The decision proved to be the right one as the Patriots marched down the field on 13 plays, capped with a short touchdown run by Dion Lewis and a 7-0 lead.
The Patriots wanted an early lead to force New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty to win the game with his arm and that has proved to be the smart approach. The New England defense forced a three-and-out to get the ball back to Tom Brady and the offense.
Unfortunately, the Jets defense figured out how to generate a lot of pressure on Brady, with the quarterback getting sacked, hit, or hurried on roughly 50% of his pass attempts, and that stifled the New England offense until the end of the second quarter, when Brady and company marched down the field on consecutive scoring drives to close out the first half.
The New England defense has done a pretty great job against the run and other than a few breakdowns by linebacker Elandon Roberts, the Jets offense hasn’t had much success with just two field goal drives, one resulting in a miss.
The Patriots offense hasn’t been crisp in many facets. Phillip Dorsett had an ugly drop, while Brandin Cooks deservedly had his ear chewed off for giving up on a deep route and another bad drop. Rob Gronkowski has not seen a single target all game.
Dion Lewis has been outstanding with 79 yards from scrimmage and 2 touchdowns in the first half and he’s been the only player to really be a consistent presence on offense.
The Patriots lead 21-3 at the half and the Jets will receive the ball after the break.