The New England Patriots returned to form on Sunday afternoon with a 54-13 thumping of the New York Jets. It was the first time the Patriots had scored 50 points since 2015, and they did so by dominating in all phases.
Mac Jones was sharp again completing just over 66 percent of his passes with his first career 300-yard day and two touchdowns. Damien Harris led the way with 106 yards rushing as the Patriots running backs accounted for five of the team’s seven touchdowns, while Hunter Henry found the end zone for the fourth straight game.
It was a dominant win and one the Patriots desperately needed after failing to play a complete football game throughout the first six weeks of the season. Sitting at 3-4 with a trip to Los Angeles on the horizon, the Patriots control their own destiny as the next five weeks leading up to the Buffalo game will determine where the 2021 team is headed.
With that said, let’s get into the winners and losers of Sunday’s game.
Winner: RB Damien Harris
After fumble trouble early on in the season, Damien Harris has bounced back the last two weeks and has been one of the X-factors in the Patriots offense. New England got off to a quick start thanks to Harris’ tough running early on in the game. He broke big plays repeatedly and helped lead the Patriots down the field; in the late first quarter he also punched in his first of two scores on the day.
Harris picked up over 100 yards rushing for the second consecutive game and his physical running style set the tone for the Patriots from start to finish.
Winner: QB Mac Jones
The rookie was sharp again completing 24 out of his 36 passes for 307 yards and two touchdowns. He had command of the offense and consistently put the Patriots in position to score points. He hit Brandon Bolden for a 15-yard score before connecting with Hunter Henry in the back of the end zone to cap off an impressive two-minute drill right before the end of the first half.
Jones’ best ball of the day was a 46-yard dime up the left sideline to Kendrick Bourne which he dropped right in the bucket and that put the Patriots on the Jets’ 1-yard line to set up J.J. Taylor’s first career score in the fourth period. The Patriots may be 3-4 on the year, but Jones continues to improve each week and put the team in position to win games.
Loser: CB Jalen Mills
Mills had a strong start to the season but has struggled in the last two weeks. He was flagged for pass interference on the goal line, which led to a Jets touchdown, and then was boxed out in the back of the end zone by Corey Davis for another score. He later sat out a series in favor of Joejuan Williams.
The Patriots secondary continues to be a rollercoaster, with Jalen Mills’ performances a big part in that. As the team’s number two cornerback opposite J.C. Jackson, he will need to start playing more consistent football if the Patriots want to shut down some of these high-profile passing attacks they are set to go up against in the next few weeks.
Winner: RB Brandon Bolden
Once James White went down with a season-ending hip injury, the Patriots were in desperate need of a third-down back that can make plays in the passing game. After a shaky first few weeks in the role, Brandon Bolden exploded against the Jets, leading all Patriots pass catchers with six catches for 79 yards and a touchdown. Bolden’s score came on a beautifully executed swing pass from Jones that led to him scampering in up the sidelines.
After being viewed primarily as a special teamer for most of his career. Bolden has carved out a nice role for himself in the Patriots offense due to his experience and leadership.
Winner: Offensive line
For the first time in what feels like forever, the Patriots had a healthy unit on the field and it led to a lot of the offense’s success on Sunday. The group of Isaiah Wynn, Ted Karras, David Andrews, Shaq Mason and Michael Onwenu kept Mac Jones clean all day long and dominated at the line of scrimmage, leading to the Patriots’ best rushing output of the season.
Onwenu shined at right tackle and gave the Patriots some much-needed production at a spot that has been a dumpster fire since Trent Brown left with an injury early in Week 1. If the Patriots want to continue to be successful offensively, it starts up front and the entire unit had its best showing of the year in the win on Sunday.
Winner: TE Hunter Henry
The Patriots were looking for some red zone success out of their big money tight end signings the first three weeks of the season, and Hunter Henry has helped solve that. Henry caught his fourth touchdown in as many games on Sunday making an acrobatic diving catch in the back of the end zone to cap off an impressive two-minute drill just before the end of the first half.
Henry hauled in two catches for 23 yards and a score while contributing in the run game as well. A big factor into the Patriots offensive explosion the last two weeks, Henry’s impact in the red zone and contributions in the run game as an extra offensive lineman has made him a key member of the offense.
Winner: WR Kendrick Bourne
The Patriots have been desperately looking for a receiver that can make plays after the catch with the ball in his hands and Kendrick Bourne has helped fix that through the first seven weeks.
He started off the game with a touchdown pass to Nelson Agholor after the Patriots executed a beautiful trick play to get things going early. Bourne then added four catches for 78 yards and made also a nice catch on a beautifully placed ball up the left sidelines from Mac Jones. He started off slowly for the Patriots but has come around the last few weeks and is helping the offense move the chains more.