Week 7 stock watch: Patriots defense grounds the Jets
The New England Patriots remain undefeated on the year after their road victory over the New York Jets on Monday Night Football.
The New England Patriots improved to 7-0 after their 33-0 win on the road versus the New York Jets. The Patriots now have two shutout victories in 2019 – both over division rivals in the AFC East, and both away from Gillette Stadium.
New England was never in danger of losing this game. The offense set the tone with their opening drive of the contest when they went 78 yards in 16 plays. They weren’t perfect as a unit, but they managed to put this game out of reach before halftime.
The defense was once again dominant. Like the offense, they got off to a great start in this game and never looked back. They made the Jets offense look like a high school football team, and that’s not an exaggeration.
The Patriots played well in all three phases in their victory over the Jets. They are off to a great start thus far in 2019. That said, there are still areas that they need to improve upon as the season progresses.
Here are the top takeaways from Week 7:
This defense is legit. Sure, they have faced a bunch of inferior offenses, but that shouldn’t take away from the video game-like numbers that this Patriots defense is putting up. They are so good that they had Sam Darnold seeing ghosts, according to Darnold himself on the mic sound picked up by ESPN. There weren’t any ghosts present at MetLife Stadium Monday night, but the “Boogeymen” were definitely in the house.
The Patriots front seven and secondary worked in perfect harmony to pressure Darnold into committing five turnovers. The second-year quarterback out of USC looked completely overwhelmed. This New England defense is leading the league in turnovers by a wide margin, and they will have a chance to continue pilling up turnovers in their Week 8 matchup versus Baker Mayfield and the underachieving Cleveland Browns.
Josh Gordon was inactive for the Patriots on Monday night. This paved the way for Jakobi Meyers to get some playing time as New England’s third receiver.
The undrafted free agent looked good in his increased role. He caught all five of his targets for a total of 47 yards. Tom Brady appears to be trusting Meyers more and more each week. It will be interesting to see how his role changes in the coming weeks now that they have added veteran receiver Mohamed Sanu to the receiver group via trade.
McCourty is off to an incredible start statistically in 2019. He has now come away with an interception in five of New England’s first seven games. His interception versus the Jets was basically thrown straight to him, but he still deserves credit for being in the right place and making a play on the ball.
McCourty picked off Darnold’s first throw of the night. His interception set the tone defensively for the remainder of the game. McCourty also accounted for three solo tackles. The two-time Pro Bowler will likely become a three-timer if opposing quarterbacks continue throwing in his direction.
The veteran kicker had his best game as a Patriot against the Jets. He made his only field goal attempt of the game and was perfect on all four of his extra point attempts.
This was the first time a Patriots kicker made all of his kicks since Week 1 when Stephen Gostkowski did so against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Nugent’s performance versus the Jets could go a long way in building up the veteran’s confidence.
J. C. Jackson
This feels like nitpicking, but that’s typically what one does when looking for negatives in these lopsided victories. Jackson was not terrible, but he did commit three penalties that allowed a stagnate Jets offense to enter into Patriots territory.
The second-year defensive back has been known to get a little grabby in coverage, and that ended up being the case in Monday night’s game. Many people speculated that Jackson would emerge as the Patriots’ second corner alongside Stephon Gilmore this season. However, it appears that veteran Jason McCourty will continue to fill that role on defense for the time being.
Sony Michel may have scored three touchdowns on the ground, but he was not efficient as a runner for most of this game. He averaged just 2.2 yards per carry. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels deserves credit for designing some creative plays to compensate for the fact that they no longer have a fullback on the active roster.
That said, most of these plays were ultimately ineffective. Additionally, it’s concerning that they have to use a banged-up Julian Edelman on jet sweeps in order to move the ball on the ground at times.