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Instant analysis from Patriots’ 10-3 win over Jets

Observations from Sunday’s AFC East rematch at Gillette Stadium.

New York Jets v New England Patriots Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

Three weeks later, they met again with fewer points than punts.

But the last went for 84 yards and a touchdown as the New England Patriots defeated the New York Jets by a score of 10-3 Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

Here’s a glance through what went into the AFC East rematch as Bill Belichick’s side and Robert Saleh’s side both move toward Thanksgiving at 6-4.

Mac completes 23-of-27 passes in the Jets’ wind

With winds around 15 mph and temperatures around 30 degrees, Mac Jones warmed up in short sleeves. The sophomore Patriots quarterback stayed warm following the delayed 1:10 p.m. ET kickoff and subsequent duress.

Jones went 23-of-27 passing versus a Jets defense that held him to 5.54 yards per attempt in October. He totaled 246 yards through the air this time without a touchdown nor an interception.

The opening drive began with a sack for a loss of seven. Underneath connections of seven yards to wide receiver Nelson Agholor and tight end Jonnu Smith were followed by three-and-outs. The quick game from shotgun and full-house wrinkles showed signs of speeding up the slow start in what became a 3-0 lead on a fourth-and-inches. Yet by halftime, Jones had completed 80 percent of his throws despite being taken down by Carl Lawson, Quinnen Williams, Quincy Williams and John Franklin-Myers. No. 10 went a stretch of 10 straight completions.

Patriots captain’s return to a struggling line cut short by thigh injury

David Andrews’ value to the New England offensive line was front and center while in the NFL’s concussion protocol. And on Sunday, the team captain was back where he had been for 93 starts before in the regular season.

But Andrews required assistance from the training staff when exiting down the stairs for the locker room late in the first quarter. He was announced as questionable to return due to a thigh injury before being downgraded to out. Backup James Ferentz filed on at the pivot with Isaiah Wynn and Cole Strange to his left and Mike Onwenu and Yodny Cajuste to his right.

Starting offensive tackle Trent Brown began the game on the sideline before Wynn sustained a foot injury in the second quarter and was also ruled out. The Patriots conceded six sacks in all after previously conceding six at MetLife Stadium. Holding penalties compounded matters in plus territory.

Punts and holds go from Bailey to Palardy, but Folk misses twice

The back injury that saw Jake Bailey go from doubtful to injured reserve saw Michael Palardy go from the practice squad to the 53-man roster.

Palardy’s left leg launched his first punt 46 yards for a fair catch. The second punt went for 48 yards and another fair catch. He averaged 45.3 yards through seven altogether, pinning the Jets as deep as the five-yard line with a single touchback.

But in the absence of the 2020 Pro Bowler and first-team All-Pro, Palardy also held as Nick Folk went 1-for-3 on field goals and took over kickoff duties. The veteran kicker had never missed a field goal against his former team and earned AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors during the previous encounter.

Harris reemerges in New England’s rushing tandem

A depth chart of five stood at three by the time the inactive list was released. Those three would be Damien Harris, Rhamondre Stevenson and rookie fourth-round pick Pierre Strong Jr.

Against a Jets unit ranking fourth in the NFL in yards per carry allowed, a rate of 3.95 followed for the running backs.

Harris got the start on the ground for New England. He finished with 65 rushing yards on eight carries, including longs of 22 and 30 yards, to go with two catches for 28 yards. It was a reemergence for the fourth-year pro after an illness led to an extended bye week. Stevenson remained for 82 yards from scrimmage on 21 touches, including a tackle-breaking conversion in the flat on third-and-16 as well as an unsuccessful fourth-and-3.

As Wilson throws for 77 yards, Judon sets career high with 13 sacks

Jets quarterback Zach Wilson had gone 20-of-41 for 355 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions the last time he crossed paths with the Patriots. Those moments that became takeaways instead of throwaways were less frequent on Sunday. So were the yards.

The No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 draft was flushed from the pocket for an early three-and-out under edge pressure from Josh Uche. After beginning 0-of-4 passing, Wilson concluded the visit to Foxborough having gone 9-of-22 for 77 yards.

Patriots centerfielder Devin McCourty, who twice picked off Wilson in East Rutherford, had what would have been another hit him in the chest plate before the half. And while scrambling for a team-high 26 rushing yards, the Brigham Young product under center was sacked by safety Kyle Dugger and defensive end Deatrich Wise Jr. He was also sacked twice by outside linebacker Matthew Judon in a split with inside linebacker Mack Wilson Sr. The red-sleeved stunter extended his league lead and eclipsed his career high with 13 sacks in the process.

Jets’ running backs grounded with 1.73 yards per carry

New York’s Michael Carter Jr., James Robinson and Ty Johnson were turned to for nine carries before intermission on Sunday. There were 10 yards to show for it and a long gain of four.

That trend continued as the trio of running backs finished with 33 rushing yards combined on 19 handoffs.

The likes of Wise Jr., Lawrence Guy and Raekwon McMillan each logged tackles for loss in a shutdown by the Patriots’ run defense.

Rookie’s 84-yard runback

Jets punter Braden Mann was called upon 10 times to the tune of 458 yards. Patriots rookie Marcus Jones, who was questionable to return due to an ankle injury, did return the last.

And the cornerback by way of Troy and Houston weaved for 84 yards with five seconds left to tick down. It marked the first punt return for a touchdown in the NFL this season.

According to NFL Research, it also marked the second-longest go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter in franchise history.