Just like that, the Patriots are a winning football team.
New England shook off a rough first quarter to earn a convincing 24-6 win over the Panthers on Sunday. Sam Darnold had a lot to do with it, as Carolina’s quarterback completed 16 of 33 passes for 172 yards to go along with three interceptions. He posted a passer rating of just 26.3.
Mac Jones barely was needed on a day that saw the Patriots run for a season-high 151 yards and receive a defensive score. Jones completed 12 of 18 passes for 139 yards and a touchdown to go along with an interception.
New England improved to 5-4 with the victory while Carolina dropped to 4-5.
Each week, we’ll give you three studs and three duds for the Patriots, no matter how hard it might be to fill either category.
Here’s the Week 9 edition:
Rhamondre Stevenson, RB
Before leaving late in the game with a hand injury, Stevenson was New England’s most explosive and productive offensive player. The rookie running back racked up 62 rushing yards and 44 receiving yards, 41 of which came on one of the biggest plays of the season for the Patriots.
New England will be holding its breath on Stevenson and Damien Harris, who left the game in the fourth quarter after taking a vicious hit behind the line of scrimmage.
Outside of a couple of decent gains, the Panthers’ running game was wiped out by the Patriots’ defensive line. Christian McCaffrey had nowhere to go, nor did Chuba Hubbard. As a team, the Panthers ran for 78 yards on 24 carries.
Christian Barmore, Davon Godchaux, Lawrence Guy, Carl Davis and Deatrich Wise all played very well.
J.C. Jackson, CB
Jackson had two interceptions, including one returned for a score. He now has four picks on the season and 22 since the start of the 2018 campaign, the most in the NFL during that span. Jackson might not be a true No. 1 corner, but he’s pretty close.
Honorable mentions: Brandon Bolden; Jamie Collins; Matthew Judon; entire secondary
Jakobi Meyers, WR
Not one of his finest performances. A bobble on the first drive of the game prevented a first down for Meyers, who later was targeted on a pass picked off by Stephon Gilmore. Meyers also tripped over his own feet on a punt return and committed a false-start penalty. Had just one catch for eight yards.
Isaiah Wynn, LT
Wynn had a poorly timed false-start and also gave up multiple pressures in the first half. If he doesn’t pick up his level of play, the Patriots might have a tough decision to make if/when Trent Brown returns from his calf injury.
No, it’s not a Patriots player, but the CBS broadcast had to come up somewhere in here. It was awful. Greg Gumbel sounded late on a ton of calls and misidentified Jackson as Justin Bethel during his pick-six. Adam Archuleta was even worse as the color commentator, referring to Meyers — who has zero career touchdown receptions — as a “favorite” red zone target.
Honorable mentions: Mac Jones; Nelson Agholor