The likes of Sam Darnold, Quinnen Williams and C.J. Mosley were not there for the New York Jets on Sunday.
But across the line – and across a spread exceeding 21 points – the New England Patriots were.
Here’s a touchdown’s worth of observations from what followed at Gillette Stadium, where New England defeated its shorthanded AFC East rival by a score of 30-14.
Former TCU teammates start at New England’s tackle spots
Three days after starting right tackle Marcus Cannon exited the opener with a shoulder injury, the Patriots signed his former Texas Christian teammate in Marshall Newhouse. And against the Jets, the Horned Frogs manned the left and right spots for New England.
Patriots starting left tackle Isaiah Wynn had been placed on injured reserve with turf toe on Tuesday. The exit of last year’s No. 23 overall pick saw Newhouse kick over to the blindside versus the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium after originally starting in Cannon’s place. He’d remain there Sunday.
Newhouse and Cannon checked in as the oldest offensive linemen in New England’s fold. They’ve combined for 129 career starts since entering the league in the fifth rounds of the 2010 and 2011 drafts. Their experience would bring continuity.
Antonio Brown’s release leaves little lost out wide
The Patriots released Brown after 11 eventful days – with perhaps the least eventful being the four receptions for 56 yards and a touchdown in Miami Gardens. It was a game that undrafted rookie Jakobi Meyers was not active for. And it was game that Julian Edelman, Phillip Dorsett and Josh Gordon totaled nine catches for 109 yards in.
They returned to the focus for quarterback Tom Brady on Sunday afternoon. There was no concerted effort needed against the Jets’ secondary. There was no team-high eight targets sent Brown’s direction. Edelman and Gordon drew the starts in a two-back shotgun set. The Patriots proceeded to throw on eight consecutive plays. And by the second series, Dorsett found himself catching a touchdown pass from Brady for the sixth time since the finale of last regular season.
Dorsett has tied his career-high in TD receptions in three games. Edelman, Gordon and Meyers, meanwhile, racked up 15 receptions for 183 yards and a score Sunday. Edelman left for the intermission early, however, and would be downgraded from questionable because of a chest injury. Gordon then left in the third quarter after hurting his left hand during a block. He’d return with fingers taped to glove a pair of sky-scraping passes in acrobatic fashion.
Adding to Brady’s touchdown milestones
When Brady hit Edelman for his seventh touchdown pass of the regular season Sunday, the organization announced that he’d become the first quarterback to do so in a single campaign after turning 42.
And with touchdown pass No. 523, Brady eclipsed the New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees on the league’s all-time list. Only Peyton Manning stands ahead of Brady in that department now. Manning retired with 539 on his regular-season résumé.
Brady finished the meeting with New York having thrown for 306 yards to go with the touchdowns. Patriots running backs Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead plunged in for two more.
Stephen Gostkowski’s misses lead to a rebound
The Patriots’ opening drive ended in the end zone. But it wouldn’t end in seven.
A week after missing a pair of extra points and a field goal, Gostkowski missed another attempt in Foxborough.
Gostkowski’s 2019 had gotten underway with a perfect 4-for-4 field goals and 3-for-3 PATs in New England’s win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. It also got underway with an acclimation to rookie holder Jake Bailey. Yet Gostkowski would convert his next three tries against the Jets after the initial one sailed wide right. The franchise’s all-time scoring leader also made good on a 37-yarder.
New England’s defense continues torrid pace
New England opened the year having conceded just three points in two games. Only the 1970 Detroit Lions, 1976 Houston Oilers and 1981 Buffalo Bills could say the same. And it was more of the same for against the Luke Falk-quarterbacked Jets.
Defensive frontmen in Jamie Collins, Kyle Van Noy, Michael Bennett and Adam Butler all notched sacks on Sunday. Falk went 12-22 for 98 yards through the air and running back Le’Veon Bell was held to 35 yards on the ground. Patriots safety and captain Devin McCourty intercepted his third pass in as many games, as well.
The divisional round remains the last time the defense allowed first-half points. But the AFC title game had been the last time New England collectively allowed another team into the end zone. A muffed punt return by Bemidji State’s Gunner Olszewski would close that streak. The football would be recovered in the end zone by New York as the page turned to the fourth quarter.
Fourth-round QB among those to enter
Second-round cornerback Joejuan Williams and third-round running back Damien Harris were healthy scratches during the initial weeks of New England’s regular season. That changed Sunday with core special-teamer Nate Ebner out with a groin injury and passing back James White out due to the birth of his child. Both rookies took backseats. As did Stuttgart, Germany’s Jakob Johnson, who was promoted from the practice squad but an observer until the game’s final kneel-downs.
As for Jarrett Stidham, he also took the field.
The rookie quarterback by way of Baylor and Auburn stepped in behind center midway through the fourth quarter. He’d take one sack and complete two passes before overthrowing running back Brandon Bolden in the flat. The aftermath was an interception that Jets safety Jamal Adams ran back for six. Stidham, a fourth-rounder who unseated veteran Brian Hoyer as New England’s backup, was replaced by Brady following the turnover.
Pats Pulpit: For New England Patriots News: Pats Pulpit Live: Week 3 vs. the New York Jets
Welcome to another victory edition of Pats Pulpit Live!Posted by Pats Pulpit: For New England Patriots News on Sunday, September 22, 2019