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Patriots vs Jets: Fan Notes from the Game

Related: The Lane Breakdown: 10 takeaways from the Patriots’ blowout win over the Jets

New York Jets Vs. New England Patriots At Gillette Stadium Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

That’s more like it.

The New England Patriots bounced back in a big way following their overtime loss to the Dallas Cowboys with an absolute blowout of the New York Jets. And yes, I know it’s the Jets we’re talking about here. They’re just awful, and quite possibly the worst team in the NFL (again). And things weren’t made any better for them when Zach Wilson went down. But the bottom line is if you’re able to hang 50 on a team, any team, you did a lot of things right. And yesterday, the Patriots did a lot of things right.

  • I’m very aware that neither Bill Belichick nor Josh McDaniels pays much attention to anything us moron fans say about team building, playcalling, personel, or any of that stuff. However, after the game yesterday, Belichick was spotted having a few beers and enjoying the win, which leads me to believe that he may, in fact, drink beer at other points during the week. So it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility that Belichick, perhaps a little hydrated, spent a drunken night scanning various internet comment sections full of ranting about how the Patriots aren’t aggressive on fourth and short or how they need to get Jonnu Smith involved more or why they don’t try harder to score before the half, and he decided to gameplan his entire offense around cramming every single one of those criticisms down our collective throats.
  • Because everything we’ve been whining about nonstop, we saw yesterday. Jonnu Smith involved in the running game and on quick screens. Deep shots down the field. Aggressive playcalling before halftime. Solid offensive line play. And even some trickeration, more than once, that opened up the day’s scoring and never really let up.
  • And of course, just to mess with us, Belichick said to himself, “OK, I’ll give the fans what they want...but I’m also going to give them a whole lot of Brandon Bolden and it’s going to work really well. That should put them in a mental pretzel.”
  • And Brandon Bolden did indeed have himself a day, leading the entire team with 79 yards on six grabs, including a beautifully set up screen pass on 3rd and 7 that put Bolden into the end zone and the Patriots up 24-7. That play capped off a 12 play, 73 yard drive that saw a Mac Jones scramble on 3rd and 10 to keep the drive alive and two deep shots to Meyers and Agholor.
  • He also ran the ball twice, for a combined 0 yards. And it’s not like he gained three yards on one run and lost three yards on the other. Both carries went exactly nowhere. That’s honestly kind of impressive. So Let’s Go Brandon.
  • I’ll tell you who ran for a little more than zero yards, though - Damien Harris. His 106 yard, two TD day in which he averaged almost 8 yards per carry was hands down the best of his career. And while he did his part hitting gaps, breaking tackles, falling forward, and seeing his cutback lanes, he owes a lot of his numbers yesterday to an offensive line that allowed just one sack all day.
  • Kicking Michael Onwenu out to tackle seemed to work wonders. I wish someone had thought of that earlier.
  • Overall, this offense won by running the ball and generating scheme-specific plays, which should work regardless of opponent if the Patriots are able to execute. By this point in the season it’s safe to say that rookie Mac Jones isn’t likely to be the one who costs New England the game, which also means the playbook is going to keep expanding. But utilizing scheme, expanding the roles of the tight ends, keeping the defense honest with a power run game, and effective playaction is going to lead to success.
  • And speaking of scheme, I have a package they should run - I call it H-Bomb formation. Hoyer under center, Harris in the backfield, Harry out wide with Henry close to the line next to Herron. Bring in Hightower as a fullback. Good luck stopping that one on third and short, as long as you FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY STOP GIVING THE BALL TO BRANDON BOLDEN ON THIRD AND SHORT
  • Speaking of Harry... for what it’s worth, N’Keal Harry hauled in a 28 yard contested sideline grab that set the Patriots up at the goal line. I mean sure, it came from Brian Hoyer in garbage time when the Patriots were already up 47-13, but that was exactly the type of catch the Patriots expected him to make. Only took three years. There’s hope yet!
  • I’m worried I haven’t made anyone angry yet with these Fan Notes, so better fix that now.
  • If I had to make a comparison at this early stage in his career, Mac Jones reminds me a fair amount of Chad Pennington, only with a significantly higher upside. Pennington is a player we as Pats fans should know very well, as he was not only one of the six QBs drafted before Tom Brady, but he also spent his entire career inside the AFC East with the Jets and Dolphins. Pennington led the Jets to three playoff appearances, as well as one with the Dolphins, and he was absolutely infuriating to play against. He’d somehow manage to engineer these 18 play, 42 yard drives that ate up massive amounts of clock by making smart throws, having a strong command of his offense, and trusting his receivers. Pennington led the NFL in completion percentage twice, and was also NFL Passer Rating leader in 2002. I see a lot of that in Jones.
  • But again, Pennington had a lot of limitations, and Jones seems to have much more in his arsenal. He throws a great deep ball, can run if he has to, shows great mental toughness, and other than one throw which probably should have been picked off, he didn’t make a bad decision yesterday. He’s also a rookie who is getting better every week. So for those of you about to say that Pennington sucked and that comparison is an insult to New England’s new favorite Mac, take a breath.
  • Yesterday was National Tight End Day in the NFL, which I didn’t even know was a thing until I heard it announced. And it would appear that every TE in the league went off, which is either a wild coincidence or coaches specifically designed some plays to give the tight ends some love. And honestly, neither explanation makes much sense.
  • There wasn’t all that much to do defensively, particularly when Wilson went down. Just a better unit outmatching the other unit. Less than 300 yards of total offense and the only two scores were set up by DPI calls is a pretty solid day.
  • The only real exception on the defensive side of the ball was Jalen Mills, who continues to demonstrate that he’s not an outside corner. He was forced out of position for a lot of the game, by necessity, so it’s not entirely his fault, but of the little damage that NYJ did to New England, Mills was almost always in coverage.
  • On the flip side, welcome to the dance Myles Bryant. A bit of a shaky start led to a corner blitz sack, and tackle for a loss, and a forced fumble.
  • Christian Barmore also might have had his best game as a Patriot yesterday. Two QB hits and three tackles isn’t a monster day on the stat sheet, but he was disruptive at the point of attack and forced most runs to the outside, where they were stymied by Matthew Judon and Adrian Phillips.
  • The big negative here, and we’ll see just how negative, is how many guys went down with an injury as the game went on. I honestly lost count towards the end and am hoping that the bulk of them were just little tweaks that they could have played through had it not been a blowout, because towards the end of this game it seemed like there was a New Patriot down.
  • I really hope that Zach Wilson is OK. The Judon hit was clean, but he landed really hard on his hip in a way that very much looked like the drop that ended James White’s season. You never want to see a rookie go down.
  • But if he does miss extended time, and Mike White gets a few wins, Bill Belichick has just forced yet another QB controversy on the Jets. The man’s hatred for that franchise knows no bounds.
  • For the record, if I ever end up going back to the office when the world eventually opens up again, I don’t think I’ll be calling in sick anymore. I’ll just say I’m questionable with an ab injury.
  • It’s so, so weird to me that one of team’s biggest weaknesses is third and long. A situation where the simple law of averages should heavily favor the defense is one of the areas where I find myself most nervous.
  • This was my first time hearing James Lofton call a game this year, and I forgot what a gem that guy is. A few of my favorites:
  • Lofton definitively calling the Dugger interception an incompletion, and when he was wrong he said “it would have been incomplete if the ball had hit the ground, but it didn’t, so that makes it an interception.”
  • “The key here for the Jets is to get a first down. Once they do that, they can try to get another one.”
  • “Once you’re in the red zone, inside the 20, you’re now in a scoring situation, where you can either score a touchdown or settle for a field goal.”
  • Somewhere, Dan Fouts is smiling.
  • As somebody who couldn’t care less about Star Wars, or Star Trek, it’s a tough time to be a lazy slob who likes to watch a lot of TV. I’m very much in the “if you don’t like it, just don’t watch it” camp...but it’s tough to do that when they insist on shoving that stuff down your throat on every possible platform.
  • J.C. Jackson is going to get PAID next offseason. I just hope the team paying him is the New England Patriots. If they let him walk then trade out of the first round of the 2022 draft to take his replacement in the 2nd round, I’m going to have no choice but to slap our leader Bernd Buchmasser right in the face. And Bernd is a great guy. He doesn’t deserve that.
  • It has now been 2,129 days since the last time the Jets beat the Patriots. That was December 27th, 2015, where Matthew Slater somehow botched the overtime coin toss and Ryan Fitzpatrick drove down and scored. Earlier that month, the Red Sox signed David Price to the largest deal ever for an MLB pitcher. GIRL ON A TRAIN was a runaway bestseller. Derrick Henry was awarded the 81st Heisman Trophy. I was still in my 30s. We could still go to concerts without wrapping ourselves in a plastic bubble.
  • I’ve been saving busting out what may very well be in the conversation for the greatest song of all time for Mac Jones’s first home victory of his career. It took a little longer than I would have liked, but what can you do. So cue the music!

Long road trip against a very good Chargers team coming off their bye week coming up. New England plays four of their next six on the road, including at Buffalo on Monday Night in December, so we’re going to find out a whole lot about what this team is made of in the coming weeks.