9 takeaways from Patriots’ ruthless rout of the Jets in Week 7

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The New York Jets will not soon forget their loss on Sunday — even if they’d like to. The New England Patriots absolutely dominated the Jets in Week 7 in a 54-13 beatdown. There wasn’t a single thing the Jets did better than the Patriots.

It was such a one-sided affair that the Patriots’ backup offensive unit led a late scoring drive, with quarterback Brian Hoyer, receiver N’Keal Harry and running back J.J. Taylor leading a touchdown drive. Even in the depths of garbage time, the Jets offense couldn’t get yardage, with rookie running back Michael Carter fumbling the football with two minutes left in the game. It was long over at that point.

It was the Patriots’ strongest performance of the year. And, perhaps, they’re finally starting to play like the team they think they are. Perhaps they’re starting to play like a playoff contender.

The Patriots (3-4) are a lot better than the Jets (1-5)

Look at the scoreboard. Look at just about every stat line. The Patriots are better than the Jets. In both games this season, New England dominated New York. There’s absolutely no question about that. What remains a mystery — and has grown only more puzzling in the last few weeks — is how the Jets beat the Titans. (They crushed the Chiefs this week after beating the Bills last week.) But the bottom line is that it’s a good sign that the Patriots took care of business this week against a lesser team.

So, yes, the Patriots are better than the Jets, but they get another legitimate test next week

The problem with the Patriots has been that they have struggled to beat seemingly better teams. The Cowboys and Buccaneers pulled off wins against New England, which was pesky but not victorious.

If the Patriots want to be considered playoff contenders, they can start by beating a legitimate team. The Los Angeles Chargers, the Patriots’ Week 8 opponent, are another great test. New England and Mac Jones can show how far they’ve come this season by beating the Chargers and Justin Herbert.

A win against the Jets is fine. A win over the Chargers would be a turning point for the Patriots, who have been “promising” for a few too many games. It’s time for them to achieve their potential.

Thanks to the offensive line, the Patriots offense looked absurdly efficient, from the running game to the passing game

New England found the right combination of offensive linemen. And — I would argue — it was the obvious combination that got its best players on the field. The Patriots went LT Isaiah Wynn, LG Ted Karras, C David Andrews, OG Shaq Mason and RT Michael Onwenu.

That group made such a huge differencece for New England, which allowed just one sack and had a rushing average of 5.0. Running back Damien Harris averaged an absurd 7.6 yards per carry. It was a testament to the offensive line’s strong play.

This was Mac Jones' most impressive performance

Sure, he was beating up on the Jets. But it was an all-around sensational performance for the youngster, who made just about everything look easy. You want a touch pass? He dropped a beautiful floater on a swing pass to Damien Harris for a touchdown. An anticipation pass? Jones threw Hunter Henry open with a short pass in the end zone. And a deep ball? Well, that was the prettiest pass of the day from Jones, who zipped a deep ball to receiver Kendrick Bourne for 46 yards.

It was the kind of step forward the Patriots want from Jones. The next step is doing this sort of thing against any team not named the Jets. Then we’ll know it’s for real. In the meantime, Patriots fans can and should enjoy Jones’ performance. He was 24 of 36 for 307 yards, two touchdowns and a quarterback rating of 111.7.

Josh McDaniels loves when wide receivers throw the football

For the third time this season, the Patriots managed to get a passing touchdown from a receiver to a receiver.

Bourne found Nelson Agholor for a touchdown against the Jets. Bourne, who lined up at running back, ran out to the right where he could see Agholor open downfield. Bourne’s ball isn’t as pretty as Jakobi Meyers’ spiral. But it was accurate.

That made for a fun touchdown.

Bill Belichick did exactly what he said he wouldn't do

During a press conference, Bill Belichick bristled at the idea of getting Jonnu Smith more involved in the offense after the tight end got off to a slow start in New England.

“The concept of just like throwing one guy 10 passes — I don’t really understand that,” Belichick said.

So what did he do? He obviously got Smith off to a pace where he would have gotten to 10 targets if he’d played the whole game. He suffered a shoulder injury, but had five targets and one rushing attempt at halftime. Smith finished the game with two catches for 52 yards and a five-yard carry.

The Patriots are dealing with a long list of injuries

The Patriots saw the following players leave the field with issues:

  • S Devin McCourty (Abdomen)

  • DT Carl Davis (wrist)

  • TE Jonnu Smith (shoulder)

  • LB Harvey Langi (knee)

  • OG Shaq Mason (abdomen)

Somehow, Brandon Bolden had himself a day

When the Patriots decided to go with Taylor over Rhamondre Stevenson, who was inactive, New England seemed ready to give Taylor a big role. It didn’t play out that way. Instead, Brandon Bolden had himself a day.

He finished with six catches for 79 yards and a touchdown. It was a truly strange player to have a huge game. But that’s kind of on-brand for the game. Every Patriots player had a great day. So of course, Harris put up big numbers.

J.C. Jackson remains a special talent. Safety Kyle Dugger joined him by showing an aptitude for interceptions.

Jackson owns the Jets. It doesn’t matter what quarterback is playing — he’ll figure out how to pick off the guy. Jackson has 20 career interceptions after his latest on Sunday. Jackson’s pick was a demonstration of how he sometimes plays receiver better than his mark. He elevated to highpoint the ball on the sideline and kept his toes inbounds.

Dugger joined Jackson in the interception party, with a mesmerizing interception that he just barely kept off the ground. It was not Dugger’s finest performance, allowing a handful of chunk plays and committing a defensive pass interference penalty. But that interception was a solid makeup play.

The entire team played well. But these defensive backs made truly exceptional plays.

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