The New England Patriots squeaked out a 15-10 win in MetLife Stadium over the New York Jets on Sunday. What was expected to be a rock fight delivered, as both defenses held tough throughout the afternoon - highlighted by Matthew Judon’s safety late in the fourth quarter.
Here’s what went down in New England’s first victory of the season.
Final Score: (1-2) Patriots 15 : 10 Jets (1-2)
The Patriots won the coin toss and deferred, putting Zach Wilson and the Jets offense on the field first. It was a poor start for their unit, as Garrett Wilson slipped on an opening screen pass - the turf being something to monitor - before Anfernee Jennings flew in unblocked for a six yard TFL. Zach Wilson’s third down pass was incomplete leading to a punt.
Facing an opening third-and-six on New England’s first offensive possession, Mac Jones hit Mike Gesicki for an 18-yard gain. On a following third-and-three, Jones’ deep pass fell incomplete to DeVante Parker leading to a field goal. Chad Ryland hit home from 48 yards to give the Patriots an early lead - and their first of the season. [Patriots 3 : 0 Jets]
On the Jets second drive of the afternoon, they again faced an opening third-and-long. This time, however, Wilson hung in and hit Allen Lazard along the sideline for a 12-yard conversion. That was all the success the unit found, as Wilson was then brought down on third-down, with Josh Uche getting credit for the sack.
The Patriots started their next drive under center with a pitch left to Ezekiel Elliott who followed Trent Brown and Pharaoh Brown for 12 yards. After an eight-yard completion to Kendrick Bourne, New England’s offense stalled as the rain started to come down. Rhamondre Stevenson dropped a third-down pass leading to a punt.
A Bryce Baringer punt backed the Jets up at their own six-yard line, where New York avoided disaster when they recovered a Breece Hall fumble. Two plays later, Wilson was forced to check it down to Michael Carter which lead to another punt.
New England’s next drive started with a gun run to Stevenson who got loose for 10 yards. On a then third-and-five, Jones hit Kendrick Bourne on a mesh-sit for 17 yards and another conversion. Right when the Patriots reached the red area, a Cole Strange holding call backed New England up which halted the drive. Chad Ryland then pushed a 48-yard field goal slightly right after a high snap.
The Patriots’ defense stayed hot on their next time on the field as Anfernee Jennings and Christian Barmore broke into the backfield to combine for a first-down sack. A pair of Wilson incompletions then lead to another punt.
A perfectly placed ball from Mac Jones to Demario Douglas picked up 15 yards on a third-down to start New England’s next possession. Then, the Patriots went under-center play-action which led to a wide open Pharaoh Brown who took it 58 yards to the house for a score. [Patriots 10 : 0 Jets]
New York’s offense continued to stay in neutral following the Patriots’ long score. Hall was stuffed for a two-yard loss on first-down before Wilson found him for nine on second. A third-down incompletion then led to another punt.
Backed up at their eight-yard line, New England picked up a first-down as Jones hit JuJu Smith-Schuster. That was all the success they found, as his following third-down pass fell incomplete downfield to Kendrick Bourne.
The Jets found some life on their next possession relying on the ground game. New York dialed up eight straight runs to move the ball across midfield - including a fourth-and-one conversion - before Wilson hit Garrett Wilson on third-and-six for four yards. Greg Zuerlein’s 52-yard field goal then squeaked over the crossbar. [Patriots 10 : 3 Jets]
Injury update: DL Daniel Ekuale (elbow) and DL Davon Godchaux (ankle) are questionable to return.
Back with the ball with 1:21 remaining in the half, Elliott picked up 14 yards on first-down to put New England’s offense in two-minute mode. From there, Jones hit Hunter Henry on third-down for a conversion before keeping it himself for eight more yards. After a slot fade downfield to Douglas fell incomplete (with perhaps a missed pass interference), Mac kept it again on a sneak to pick up three more yards. After using their final timeout, another high snap resulted in Ryland’s 56 yarder missing left.
Injury update: DL Daniel Ekuale (elbow) and DL Davon Godchaux (ankle) are out.
The Patriots started their first drive of the second-half on the ground before Jones hit Pharaoh Brown again off play-action for 13 yards. After a pair of Stevenson runs picked up another first-down, Jones’ missed a potential touchdown on third-down as his pass fell short to Douglas. Chad Ryland hit a 51-yard field goal to extend New England’s lead. [Patriots 13 : 3 Jets]
New York’s first drive of the second-half started on the ground before Wilson found his tight end CJ Uzomah for a first-down. That was all their success, as Wilson was chased by Josh Uche on third-down and was forced to throw the ball away.
Penalties hampered New England’s following possession, as JuJu Smith-Schuster was flagged with an illegal blindside block before Trent Brown and Michael Onwenu had back-to-back false starts. They were then forced to punt after a five-yard run on third-and-23.
The Jets started their next drive with their best starting field position of the game at their own 49-yard line. They weren't able to take advantage of it, as they picked up just three yards before punting.
Injury update: OL Cole Strange (knee) is questionable to return.
Another penalty (too many men in the huddle) pushed New England behind the sticks, but Jones recovered hitting DeVante Parker along the sideline on third-down for the conversion. New England’s offense then stalled, as Jones’ next third-down pass fell incomplete to Henry.
After a one-yard gain by Dalvin Cook to conclude the third quarter, Wilson fired an incompletion to Cobb before being brought down by Uche on third-down. The Jets then punted.
New England turned it over to Ezekiel Elliott on their next drive, as the back tallied five straight carries to move the ball over the 50. On a third-and-one, Jones was stopped on the “Tush-Push” leading to a punt.
A Bryce Baringer punt started the Jets inside their own 20, but Wilson was able to connect with Tyler Conklin on third-down for an 18-yard gain. Dalvin Cook then picked up two additional first downs before Wilson fired one downfield to Lazard for a 21-yard gain. Eventually down inside the five-yard line, a false start moved New York’s offense back. On third-and-goal, Wilson’s pass drew a pass interference in the end zone. One play later, Nick Bawden plunged in a one-yard score. [Patriots 13 : 10 Jets]
Taking over with 5:24 remaining, Elliott picked up three yards on the ground before Jones hit Bourne for 18 yards. Facing a then third-and-six, Jones pass downfield to Smith-Schuster fell incomplete. New England punted.
Trailing by three, the Jets took over at their own 10-yard line with 2:44 remaining. New England’s defense held their own, as Wilson fired two incompletions before Judon got home for a sack and safety. [Patriots 15 : 10 Jets]
With 2:15 left and now leading by five, New England kept it on the ground to set up a third-and-three. It was there when Jones’ pass to Smith-Schuster fell incomplete leading to another punt.
Zach Wilson and the Jets regained possession at their own 45-yard line with 1:43 remaining. Needing a touchdown, Wilson fired three straight incompletions to bring up a fourth-and-10. On the play, Wilson checked down to Conklin who was stopped short.
Three straight runs from the Patriots milked the clock down to 22 seconds. Baringer then punted it out of bounds to avoid giving Xavier Gipson a return.
With 16 seconds left and on their own 12-yard line, Wilson hit Garrett Wilson across the middle for 29 yards. New York was left with one second left on the clock after a spike, where Wilson’s Hail Mary attempt fell incomplete. [Patriots 15 : 10 Jets]