Patriots' J.C. Jackson has Panthers QB Sam Darnold seeing ghosts in New England's 24-6 win

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The Patriots are rolling.

It wasn’t long ago when the Pats were 2-4 and the mistakes were piling up. That seems like a different season at this point.

On Sunday, the Patriots showed there’s a lot more life in this team en route to delivering a convincing 24-6 win over the Carolina Panthers. The Patriots have won three consecutive games for the first time since 2019. At 5-4, the Pats put themselves in a position where a playoff spot is no longer a laughable thought.

This wasn’t the prettiest of games for either offense, but New England's defense held tough and continues to lead the way. Once again, the Patriots had quarterback Sam Darnold seeing ghosts. The defense's three-interception effort overshadowed Stephon Gilmore’s "revenge" game against the Pats. Gilmore had an interception, but he was outdone by his successor, J.C. Jackson, who finished with two picks on the day.

Matt Judon sacks Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold in the fourth quarter.
Matt Judon sacks Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold in the fourth quarter.

Defense won this game for the Patriots

The Panthers' offense never had a chance.

That was emphasized at 6:55 of the third quarter. Carolina was in the red zone after its longest gain of the afternoon. That’s when J.C. Jackson intercepted Sam Darnold and ran back 88 yards for the touchdown to extend the Patriots' lead to 21-6.

At that point, it was pretty obvious the Panthers were already out of reach.

On the Panthers' next drive, Darnold was intercepted by Jamie Collins at 4:10 of the third quarter. Then with 13:38 left, Jackson intercepted the Panthers quarterback for a second time.

Darnold finished with 172 passing yards, no touchdowns and three picks.

This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: Patriots have Panthers' Sam Darnold seeing ghosts as New England rolls