East Rutherford, N.J. — 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 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.
They watched New England take total control from the beginning.
Michel’s 3-yard touchdown run capped an efficient drive by Brady to open the game. The Patriots went 16 plays and 78 yards while eating up 8:47, and converted four third downs along the way. The last came on third-and-2 when Brady pitched it to Michel, who easily zipped into the end zone.
“Our guys were ready to go today,” Belichick said. “We got off to a good start. That was a great opening drive. It took up most of the first quarter.”
Allen back at QB for Panthers
The Panthers are back from the bye week and Kyle Allen will be back at quarterback.
Coach Ron Rivera ended any potential suspense over his quarterback situation Monday by declaring Allen the team’s starter when the Panthers visit the unbeaten San Francisco 49ers this Sunday.
Allen is 4-0 as Carolina’s starter this season since taking over for the injured Cam Newton.
Rivera said Newton will work with trainers this week at practice, but wouldn’t say how much — if at all — the 2015 league MVP will practice. Newton has missed four games with a mid-foot sprain and hasn’t practiced since a Week 2 loss to Tampa Bay.
Rivera said Newton has been “tremendous” and has done everything the team has asked of him while rehabbing his foot.
49ers try free menu
The San Francisco 49ers will begin offering free food and nonalcoholic drinks to season-ticket holders, an effort to keep fans happy in an era when the cost of attending an NFL game is soaring.
The Member Inclusive Menu initiative, as it’s called, makes Levi’s Stadium the first to offer such service. The 49ers’ season tickets range from $85 to $375.
Dolphins safety Bobby McCain will be disciplined by the team for a verbal confrontation with a 13-year-old boy and for allegedly spitting in the face of another Bills fan following Miami’s loss at Buffalo.
... The Oakland Raiders have traded 2017 first-round cornerback Gareon Conley to the Houston Texans for a 2020 first-round pick.
... Kareem Hunt returned to the Browns and practiced Monday after serving only six games of an eight-game NFL suspension for two violent off-field altercations that threatened to end his playing career.
... Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is already deep into his rehabilitation from a knee injury suffered in last week’s win in Denver, though coach Andy Reid declined Monday to put any timetable on the return of the league MVP.
... Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan’s decade-long streak of consecutive starts is on the line due to a sprained right ankle. Coach Dan Quinn said Ryan ran in a pool on Monday to test the ankle and has not been ruled out for Sunday’s game against Seattle.
... Ravens outside linebacker Pernell McPhee suffered a torn triceps during Sunday’s win over the Seahawks and will likely miss the rest of the season, coach John Harbaugh said.
... The NFL has suspended Bucs rookie defensive lineman Terry Beckner four games for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancers.