Patriots Wanted To Send This Message With Late-Game Passes Vs. Jets

'We're trying to be dominant, man'


October 24, 2021

FOXBORO, Mass. — Robert Saleh’s coaching mantra is “All Gas, No Brake.” It’s been printed on T-shirts and featured in hype videos since he took over the New York Jets this past offseason.

The New England Patriots followed those instructions Sunday, keeping the metaphorical pedal pressed to the floor as they decimated Saleh’s Jets 54-13 at Gillette Stadium.

Despite leading by 24 points at halftime and 28 early in the fourth quarter, the Patriots continued to attack offensively until the game’s final minutes. Their final two legitimate possessions featured a 46-yard bomb from Mac Jones to Kendrick Bourne and completions of 22, 29 and 28 yards from backup quarterback Brian Hoyer to Gunner Olszewski, Jakob Johnson and N’Keal Harry, respectively.

It wasn’t until the Patriots recovered a fumble with just over two minutes remaining that they finally relented, kneeling three times to run out the clock.

Bourne, who got the scoring started with a trick-play touchdown pass on New England’s opening drive, was asked about this late-game aggressiveness. He viewed it as a statement about the Patriots’ mindset after their underwhelming 2-4 start to the season.

“It’s kind one of those games where we’re up by a lot,” the wideout said postgame. “I could easily just relax and chill, but we’re trying to be dominant, man. We want to be that team that can do everything at any moment. Whether we’re down or up, we want to play how we want to play. And that play just shows that we were locked in.”

The pass Jones threw to Bourne was perhaps the best of his young NFL career to date — “a tremendous ball,” Bourne said. The rookie quarterback had missed on several deep shots earlier in the game.

“That thing fell in my hand,” Bourne said, smiling.

Bourne was tackled at the 1-yard line. A J.J. Taylor touchdown run one play later put the Patriots ahead 47-13 and sent Jones to the bench, his afternoon over. Hoyer entered the following series and led a nine-play, 78-yard touchdown drive that culminated in another 1-yard Taylor score.

The win was the Patriots’ third of the season and their second over the Jets. They handled New York with relative ease back in Week 2, winning 25-6 at MetLife Stadium, but Bourne said they came away from that game disappointed.

“Just keeping the foot on the gas, man,” Bourne said. “When we’re up by that much, it’s easy to come out of halftime relaxing, thinking we’ve got it in the big. But we came out playing better. The last time we played them, we won by 19, but we didn’t feel like we played like us. We let them do certain things to us that we don’t tolerate.

“And today, we just came out really prepared. You could tell that we’ve faced them before, and we prepared really well through the week. So shoutout to the team, man, how we played today.”

Head coach Bill Belichick’s long-standing disdain for the Jets organization also might have contributed to this no-holds-barred approach. Saleh said after the game that he had no issue with the Patriots running up the score in what he called an “embarrassing” loss for his team.

Regardless, this was a sorely needed victory for New England, which had been winless in four home games. The 3-4 Patriots will look to maintain their momentum when they visit Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers next Sunday.

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
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