Tom Brady set the tone and the New England Patriots’ blitz-happy defense took over from there.
Bill Belichick’s bunch is still undefeated after another absolutely dominant performance.
Brady threw a TD pass to Phillip Dorsett, Sony Michel ran for three scores and New England forced Sam Darnold into five turnovers while cruising to a 33-0 victory over the New York Jets on Monday night.
“We were able to make some plays early in the game,” Belichick said, “and play pretty solid for 60 minutes.”
The Patriots improved to 7-0 for the third time in franchise history, and first since 2015. They also swept the two-game season series against their AFC East rivals for the fourth straight year, outscoring the Jets (1-5) 63-14 in the two meetings this year.
And, the top-ranked Patriots defense was a big reason in this one.
“They’re just playing great football,” Brady said. “They cover the rush. They stop the run. Make critical plays. It’s awesome to watch.”
Darnold was the AFC offensive player of the week after leading New York to a 24-22 win over Dallas last Sunday in his return from missing three games with mononucleosis.
He was miserable against New England, finishing 11 of 32 for 86 yards and a 3.6 quarterback rating. ESPN had Darnold wear a microphone during the game, and he was caught on the sideline saying, “I’m seeing ghosts” at one point.
“It was a rough night out there,” Darnold said. “And obviously, I’ve got to be better and learn from the mistakes, but we will get better.”
Belichick blitzed Darnold often, giving the second-year quarterback little time and forcing him into bad — and often ugly — throws. Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon, Stephon Gilmore and Terrence Brooks all had interceptions. Darnold also lost a fumble on a sack, and later knocked an errant snap out of the back of the end zone for a safety.
“I don’t know, man,” a smiling McCourty said when asked if there were “ghosts” on the field. “We were just locked in tonight as a defensive unit. When you get a lot of time to prepare for a game, you start going over everything over and over again. I think it showed for us tonight as a defensive unit.”
Brady was 31 of 45 for 249 yards with a TD and an interception before leaving with 2:55 left to chants of “Brady! Brady!” from the Patriots fans who stayed until the end at MetLife Stadium.