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Final score not the only thing Patriots can feel good about after beating Jets 54-13

Related: Patriots find out ‘what we’re capable of’ in blowout win over Jets

New England Patriots vs New York Jets Staff Photo By Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald

Dominating hapless opponents was a New England Patriots special during the heyday of their dynasty, but it has become something of a rarity ever since Tom Brady elected to take his talents elsewhere in 2020. Sunday’s game against the New York Jets was therefore something of a throwback for the Patriots.

The team dominated its AFC East rivals from start to finish, and the final score of 54-13 is a perfect representation for how lopsided the game was. That score and improving to 3-4 on the season, however, is not the only thing New England can feel good about coming out of Week 7.

Three areas in particular stand out given that they have plagued the team either throughout the season so far, or in the first game against the Jets back in Week 2. So, besides the score, the Patriots can also feel good about...

No turnovers

Former Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman took to social media after Sunday’s game to share a simple yet spot-on analysis: “Take care of the ball, you win.”

That is exactly what happened. After turning the football over at least once in five of their first six games this season, and eleven times total, the Patriots did not give it away even once against New York. Mac Jones broke a four-game streak of tossing an interception, and the running backs also held onto the football — something the group has not always been able to do this year.

“It’s good to see us go through a game and not turn the ball over. That’s always a good start on the path to winning,” head coach Bill Belichick told WEEI’s The Greg Hill Show on Monday morning. “You’ve got to give those guys credit for working hard at it. The Jets are a very good takeaway team. They do a good job punching and stripping the ball out. One of the better teams that we’ve played that does that consistently.”

Paired with a defensive performance that saw New England pick off a pair of passes and also recover a fumble, the team ended the game with a +3 turnover margin. It was only the second time all year after that Week 2 win over the Jets that the Patriots were able to register more takeaways than giveaways.

Improved run defense

The Patriots won the first game against the Jets quite handily when looking at the final score of 25-6, but not all was perfect. One area of concern for the team was stopping the run; players not properly clogging their gaps up front and a combined 11 missed tackles all contributed to New York having a productive day back in September and finishing with 152 yards on the ground.

Needless to say, stopping the run was a priority for the Patriots entering this week — something linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley mentioned after the contest as well.

“The last time we saw them, they had a good set of running backs so one of our goals was to stop the running game,” he said.

Stop the run the Patriots did. While the game script played into their hands and forced the Jets to throw the ball more than they likely would have wanted, New England’s defense as a whole did a good job limiting its opponent. When all was said and done, New York had gained only 62 yards on 17 carries for an average of 3.6 yards per run.

“I thought the Jets really did a good job in the first game. They had some schemes that were tough, put us in some tough spots. It was well designed. They’ve blocked us well. They have good backs. [Michael] Carter and Ty [Johnson] and those guys, they’re hard to tackle. They get some yards on their own. They read the plays well and have good patience there,” Bill Belichick said on Sunday.

“But I thought up front we tried to not let them be able to get those six-, seven-yard gains and just hand the ball off kind of when they wanted to like they did in the first game. We got them in some longer yardage situations.”

Perfect red zone performance

Heading into Sunday’s game against the Jets, the Patriots were ranked among the worst teams in football in offensive red zone productivity. Through their first six games of the year, New England had scored touchdowns on only 8 of 18 trips inside the opposing 20-yard line. The success rate of 44.4 percent was bad, and a major reason for the team’s 2-4 start.

The story was a different one on Sunday, with the Patriots being able to convert all six of their red area trips into touchdowns. They also went 5-for-5 in goal-to-go situations, with running backs Damien Harris and J.J. Taylor both scoring twice from inside the Jets’ 3-yard line.

While they are still only ranked 21st in the league with a total red area success rate of 58.3 percent, the arrow is pointing in the right direction for the Patriots offense.

The defense, meanwhile, has some work to do after allowing the Jets to go 2-for-2 in red zone trips. That being said, the unit was again stout in short-yardage work — Christian Barmore stuffed a run on 4th-and-1 — after a strong performance in this area last week against the Dallas Cowboys. The red zone outing on Sunday should therefore not be any cause for concern.