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Instant analysis from Patriots’ 15-10 win over Jets

Observations from Sunday’s AFC East matinee at MetLife Stadium.

New England Patriots v New York Jets Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

The streak continued in ugly fashion.

The New England Patriots outlasted the New York Jets by a score of 15-10 Sunday at MetLife Stadium, marking the 15th straight win against the AFC East rival.

Here’s a look back as head coach Bill Belichick’s roster moves forward with a 1-2 record.

No sacks nor picks, Jones completes 51 percent of passes

Mac Jones went 15-of-29 through the air for 201 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions in Sunday’s blend of wind, rain and field position. He found nine different Patriots teammates.

Connections on third down to wide receivers Kendrick Bourne, DeVante Parker and Demario Douglas picked up 18 yards, 16 yards and 15 yards along the way. The quarterback and captain would not be sacked by a New York defense that had been charted by Pro Football Focus for 49 total pressures this September.

Trent Brown, David Andrews, Mike Onwenu and Vederian Lowe started for New England’s offensive line. So did Cole Strange, who was later announced as questionable to return due to a knee injury as rookie Atonio Mafi rotated in at left guard.

Third tight end gets first touchdown since January 2021

In the process of starting 0-2 for the first time since 2001, slow starts put the Patriots in deficits of double digits. Offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien’s group broke huddle in “12” personnel on Sunday for a drive that ended with a field goal.

The next drives brought a punt and a missed field goal. But a play-action touchdown followed on a completion to the third tight end on the field. Pharaoh Brown, who also served as a fullback, made his first trip to the end zone since January 2021. Over the shoulder, his catch-and-run of 58 yards gave New England a 10-0 advantage.

The Week 1 promotion from the practice squad later stiff-armed his way to move the chains, finishing with 71 receiving yards to lead the team. Yet the Patriots had six straight possessions become punts down the stretch of a slow finish.

Wilson’s woes

Eleven sacks. Two touchdowns. Seven interceptions. For Zach Wilson, those were what the previous encounters with the Patriots brought. He would endure Sunday. The backup Jets quarterback completed 18-of-36 passes for 157 yards and a shot to win on a Hail Mary. A stacked box was frequently across the line of scrimmage.

The former No. 2 overall pick out of BYU was not picked off in the matinee. But in the absence veteran left tackle Duane Brown, he was sacked once by Christian Barmore and twice by Matthew Judon, including for a safety that made it a 15-10 game.

New York netted a loss of one yard through the initial 15 plays. And before kicker Greg Zuerlein made good on a field goal from long distance, the offense’s initial five possessions ended in punts. But pass interference sent things to the goal line with five minutes to go. Fullback Nick Bawden plunged in to cap off a drive that spanned 87 yards.

Cornerback depth checks the boxes

After Friday saw Marcus Jones join Jack Jones on injured reserve, Saturday saw the Patriots downgrade Jonathan Jones from questionable to out before heading to East Rutherford.

The starting cornerbacks by Sunday would be rookie first-round pick Christian Gonzalez, fresh off his first NFL pick, across from Myles Bryant. Both recorded pass breakups. Converted safety Jalen Mills split time at nickel while the hard-hitting Jabrill Peppers and Kyle Dugger got the nod in the middle of the field.

The Jets' wide receivers drew 16 targets. The long went 29 yards with a second to tick. Reigning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson came down with it on an afternoon he was held to a handful of catches for 48 yards.

Hall and Cook average 1.8 yards per as defensive tackles depart

The Jets stood in a tie for the NFL lead with 5.4 yards per rush this fall, boosted by an 83-yard breakaway from Breece Hall versus the Buffalo Bills. The sophomore running back out of Iowa State took a dozen handoffs on Sunday. Those handoffs became 18 yards, a fumble that he would recover and also a conversion on fourth down. Dalvin Cook spelled him for 18 yards of his own.

The restricting got underway with a three-and-out that included a loss of six yards via unblocked outside linebacker Anfernee Jennings. The Alabama product started in New England’s base defense alongside another recent healthy scratch in defensive lineman Sam Roberts.

The Jets didn’t run a play in opponent territory until under five minutes remained before intermission. But defensive tackles Davon Godchaux and Daniel Ekuale sustained ankle and elbow injuries, respectively, on back-to-back snaps. Both were ruled out after halftime while the top backs averaged 1.8 yards per.

New England’s ground game gets going through Elliott

Through consecutive losses, New England’s tandem of running backs had been held to an even three yards per on the ground. That was the case while the offensive line in front of them ranked near the bottom of the league in ESPN’s run-block win rate.

Starter Rhamondre Stevenson overcame a drop on third down to handle 19 carries for 59 yards on Sunday, led by a long of 10 yards. His complement, Ezekiel Elliott, showed burst to change direction and get downhill on longs of 12, 13 and 14 yards. The former Dallas Cowboys All-Pro finished the afternoon in front with 16 carries for 80 yards.

New York had yet to allow a rushing touchdown on the campaign. That held true. But the Patriots found room to run at last.

Two high snaps

Rookie kicker Chad Ryland converted from 48 yards away and 51 yards away on Sunday. But before halftime, attempted field goals from 48 and 57 yards had been missed by New England. Both came on high deliveries from tenured long snapper Joe Cardona, leaving another rookie in holder Bryce Baringer with more moves to make and less time to make them.

Ball down, laces out, Ryland’s first miss of his NFL career sailed just right of the right upright in slippery conditions. His next was shanked wide left to leave the two-minute offense without points to show for it.

The special teams again had the benefit of Brenden Schooler, however. The 2022 undrafted free agent brought down Jets punt returner Xavier Gipson in a hurry after motioning in to block a field goal the Sunday prior.