As expected, it was a defensive showdown in Foxboro, Massachusetts on Sunday. Entering the week with a matchup between the first-and third-ranked defenses in terms of EPA per play, points were expected to be at a premium.
For New England, the success started on the early downs — similarly to how it did throughout the Week 8 showdown. The Patriots limited the New York Jets to just a 20 percent success rate on early downs, highlighted by limiting their rushing attack to 59 yards.
“We wanted to stop the run today, that’s one thing that we knew they wanted to establish,” Deatrich Wise Jr. said postgame. “We wanted to stop the run and then once we were able to stop the run, affect them in the pass, and that’s kind of what our game plan was.”
Early on, Jets’ quarterback Zach Wilson was able to find room on the ground, however. He totaled 20 yards on the ground in the Jets’ first two drives, but recorded just one carry the rest of the game.
“They got a little bit of a pass rush in the second half,” Wilson explained. “And then they started spying a little bit, had someone on the back end. So just trying to try to get some completions.”
In a tactic they've used lately, and been successful with, New England used Mack Wilson Sr. to spy Wilson. The result was that pass rush getting home, led by none other than Matthew Judon — who also noted the Patriots were more discipline with their rushes after Wilson’s early scrambles.
“Disciplined rush from everybody, don’t get up the field behind the quarterback, just make him beat us from the pocket,” he said. “Make him throw the ball instead of using his legs. He’s a very athletic guy, athletic quarterback, and like we’ve seen he can pick up twenty yards, get out of bounds, and not be hit, so let’s keep him in the pocket and make him throw.”
When getting after Wilson, Judon recorded 1.5 sacks on the day, splitting one with Wilson. Deatrich Wise Jr. and Kyle Dugger recorded the other two Patriots’ sacks.
“It’s my teammates,” Judon said. “The guys that sit here in this room with me. They push me, they challenge me every day. When we go out there, they have so much confidence in me to get the job done. They run a lot of games and a lot of stunts for me to free me up. It’s not me, it’s really not. It could be anybody in this situation, it’s really my teammates.”
In total, New England held New York to just 103 total yards of offense and four first downs that were not earned by penalties. The Jets managed just one first down in the entire second half as Wilson completed just nine of 22 passes for 77 yards throughout the game.
“Complete domination,” Wise said. “That’s kind of what we wanted to do and wanted to establish that this game. We left some plays out on the field the last time we played them. Coming off the bye, we knew what we were going to get and going to this game, like I told this fellow here, we wanted to stop the run and affect the pass and I believe we did that.”
Surrendering just six points in their last two games, the Patriots’ defense will look to continue their dominant stretch on Thursday against the Minnesota Vikings.
“They have a big-time team for sure,” Ja’Whaun Bentley said. “We have a quick turnaround for Thursday which we are excited about and are looking forward to it. We don’t consider it a challenge, we consider it an opportunity, so like I said we’re going to watch the film tomorrow and get back to it.”