Jets vs. Patriots score, takeaways: New England picks off Zach Wilson four times en route to first win of 2021

The New England Patriots are officially in the win column. Bill Belichick's team earned its first victory of the 2021 season after defeating the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium 25-6. Coming into this matchup, much was made about Belichick's strong history going up against rookie quarterbacks, and that came to fruition in Week 2. New England's defense was able to force Jets No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson into four interceptions on the day. 

Those turnovers proved to be particularly costly because the Patriots were able to put up 16 total points on their ensuing possessions. New York also had more total yards of offense, more first downs, and an edge in time of possession over the Patriots, so those interceptions were truly the difference between being 1-1 and 0-2 to begin the year. 

In his second-career start, New England's Mac Jones completed 22 of his 30 passes for 186 yards. The Patriots offense was primarily driven by the backfield tandem of Damien Harris and James White. Harris led the team in rushing (62 yards) while White led the team in receptions (six) and receiving yards (45). Each was also able to find the end zone. 

Below, you'll be able to find our main takeaways from Sunday's head-to-head. 

Why the Patriots won

Unlike last week against Miami, the Patriots did not shoot themselves in the foot with turnovers and silly penalties. Belichick's club was still a little loose with the football at times but ultimately wasn't burned by coughing up possession. New England also capitalized on the miscues of the Jets, scoring 16 points off New York's four turnovers on the day. From that standpoint, it was as good of complementary football as you can get. 

Offensively, Jones was able to spread the ball around efficiently, connecting with seven different pass catchers. The running game totaled 101 yards on the ground on 4.2 yards per carry. Defensively, the interceptions were naturally the storyline, but the club was also able to pressure Wilson quite a bit, totaling seven quarterback hits and four sacks in the win.  

It was a perfect effort by the Patriots, but they were able not to beat themselves, which was something you couldn't say about them after the opener. 

Why the Jets lost

Wilson's four interceptions were the takeaway in New York falling to 0-2 to begin the year. His first two throws of the day were interceptions, immediately putting his club behind the eight ball. The Jets led the Patriots in total yards, first downs, and time of possession, but those picks were simply too much to overcome, especially as New England was able to put up double-digit points off those turnovers. If Wilson played a clean game, we could be looking at a completely different outcome. 

On top of those picks, the Jets did struggle at times tackling, especially on Harris' 26-yard touchdown run that really pulled the Patriots away. 

Turning point

Despite three first-half interceptions by Wilson, New York only trailed 13-3 heading into the locker room at halftime. However, as the Jets came out for the third quarter, Wilson's fourth and final pick proved to be a dagger. The No. 2 overall pick lofted a pass deep down the left side of the field. While the throw was intended for rookie Elijah Moore, the ball wasn't particularly close. Safety Devin McCourty was able to plant himself under the throw and secure the pick. Two plays later, Harris was able to run for a touchdown to give the Patriots a 19-3 lead. 

Play of the game

Harris did his best Marshawn Lynch impression on this 26-yard touchdown run at the 10:33 mark of the third quarter. The Patriots running back took an inside handoff up the gut and was able to break a handful of tackles as he scampered into the end zone. As Harris was approaching the goal line, he needed an extra push in the pile, which came courtesy of a number of Patriots, including Jones. 

Harris finished his day with 62 yards rushing to go with the score. he also caught his lone targets of the day for 2 yards. 

What's next

From here, the Patriots will head back to Foxborough to play host to the New Orleans Saints, who are reeling from a 26-7 loss at the hands of the Panthers. As for the Jets, they'll go on the road for a Week 3 matchup with the Broncos -- fresh off a win against the Jaguars -- in Denver. 

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NYJ 5.5, O/U 43

Season Leaders

passing
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M. Jones 1779 YD, 9 TDS, 6 INTS
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M. Jones 1779 YD, 9 TDS, 6 INTS
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Z. Wilson 1168 YD, 4 TDS, 9 INTS
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Z. Wilson 1168 YD, 4 TDS, 9 INTS
rushing
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D. Harris 95 ATT, 437 YD, 5 TDS
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D. Harris 95 ATT, 437 YD, 5 TDS
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M. Carter 58 ATT, 202 YD, 2 TDS
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M. Carter 58 ATT, 202 YD, 2 TDS
receiving
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J. Meyers 41 REC, 390 YD
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J. Meyers 41 REC, 390 YD
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C. Davis 24 REC, 349 YD, 4 TDS
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C. Davis 24 REC, 349 YD, 4 TDS
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Patriots offense is stalling out as we enter the final few minutes. Back-to-back three-and-outs.

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Believe it or not, New York has more total yards of offense than New England, despite the 19-point deficit. Turnovers have been killer.

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Best ball of the day from Wilson. Good job by Berrios to keep both feet in bounds too.

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Wilson is really struggling with the deep ball today. Of course, the interceptions are apparent, but most of Wilson's deep balls have been wildly off target.

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Really nice block by Mac Jones on the end around. Clogged up Shaq Lawson enough for Bourne to break free.

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Wilson needs to get the ball out much quicker. Took a sack that made a field-goal attempt much more difficult.

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Jets continue to run the ball effectively. As a team, they have 117 yards on the ground today on 4.7 yards per carry.

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A callback to when former Jets quarterback Sam Darnold said he was seeing ghosts in a previous game with the Patriots.

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