Let's just say: This one went better than the last one.
The Patriots managed a 25-6 victory over the haunted Jets, which included the defense returning to it's ballhawking form, and the offense somewhat reverting back to it's slow and steady approach. JC Jackson saw the ball come his way from Zach Wilson just as much as Jets receivers Jeff Smith, Ryan Griffin, and Tyler Kroft. Jackson swiped two passes for the defense, while Wilson also helped the lone remaining McCourty and Adrian Phillips practice some hands drills. The Patriots offense wasn't asked to do much, in the end they didn't need to, but they were still paced by a solid performance from James White and a more secured performance from Damien Harris.
But we won, and that means we can have good overreactions...
Defense wins championships!
You know the old saying right? Defense wins championships. When that old guy from Tampa was here, in the earliest parts of his rise, the defense was a key component in getting those first 3 Super Bowls. So, here we are 20 years later, and the defense has played well through the first two weeks. They haven't played the cream of the crop, but they've been impressive nonetheless. Zach Wilson cranked out a nice 4 interception game for the Jets due to the tight man coverage the Patriots were playing. Nothing fancy, no hell bent pressure causing him to make the throws. Just rookie mistakes. And as pointed out during the broadcast, the 16 point lead the Patriots had at one point in the game was the exact amount of points they had off turnovers at the time. Did the Jets run for 152 yards total? Yes. Did they rattle the rookie QB as Belichick has a history of doing? You bet. Is this a sign of things to come? Hopefully.
The Jets allowed their rookie to be sacked 6 times against the Panthers, and for the most part in the Patriots game, they kept him upright. Wilson even had an impressive escape on a Lawrence Guy blitz. Did they improve? Hard to say. The Patriots weren't overly aggressive in their play calling, but still squeaked out 4 sacks with Josh Uche grabbing 2 of them. It wasn't the aggressive play of the Patriots, but the Patriots were more than willing to use Wilson's own aggressive play style against him. His first two pass attempts reached players wearing the Patriots uniform. Despite that, the Jets were still pretty close on the scoreboard. They took a third interception away from Wilson before the half but could only muster a 13-3 lead at the half. Sam Darnold was mic'd up and said he saw ghosts out there, maybe Wilson saw some too. If he did, he didn't have to throw them passes....
Offense? Who needs it anyway?
Mac Jones looked sensational in the debut, despite a loss, and in week 2 he looked just as...efficient. Jets coach Robert Saleh said after the game that Wilson needs to learn that "boring is ok" when it comes to playing quarterback in the NFL. Mac Jones was having a master class on just that. Through no fault of his own, the conservative play calling was enough to get them the win. So who's complaining? Not us Pats fans. Jones wasn't slicing and dicing them down the field, but he was picking them apart with what they gave him. Jones finished 22 of 30 (73%) for 186 yards and no touchdowns and no interceptions. His leading receiver was also one of the biggest bright spots of the game. James White endured a tragedy last season, and overall had a down year in general for the Patriots. But against the Jets on Sunday, White scored a rushing touchdown to go with his 20 yards rushing and his 6 catches for 45 yards. Hunter Henry even had a solid showing with 2 catches for 42 yards. The passing game wasn't asked to do much. Where the passing game lacked, the running game didn't necessarily pick it up. The Jets let up over 100 yards rushing against the Panthers, largely thanks to Christian McCaffery, and it was no different against the Patriots. The difference? The Patriots were mostly due to a committee. Kendrick Bourne ran for 16 yards, the aforementioned James White added 20 yards and a touchdown, while the largest majority was brought about by Damien Harris. Harris toted the ball 16 times for a solid 62 yards and a touchdown. Although Harris looked somewhat dominant at times during his 100 yard performance against the Dolphins, Harris didn't look nearly as dominant against the Jets. But he didn't fumble and had a highlight reel run for the touchdown, so it wasn't a bad day for Harris by any stretch of the imagination.
The Patriots won this week. That means we can be overreacting for a full week. And hopefully come this time next week, we'll be able to squeeze another win out and continue our week of overreacting about positive things!