FOXBORO, Mass. — The Patriots needed a get-right game Sunday, and they delivered.
New England blew out the Jacksonville Jaguars to the tune of a 50-10 victory at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots scored a touchdown on all of their first-half drives for just the third time in the Bill Belichick era. It was a good, old-fashioned butt-whooping in Foxboro.
With the Tennessee Titans beating the Miami Dolphins, the Patriots also clinched a playoff berth for the first time since the 2019 season. They now are the fifth seed in the AFC.
Mac Jones played very well, completing 22 of 30 pass attempts for 227 yards and three touchdowns. Jaguars rookie Trevor Lawrence struggled to make anything work with his limited assortment of weapons, completing 17 of 27 passes for 193 yards and a TD to go along with three picks.
J.C. Jackson, Myles Bryant and Kyle Dugger all had interceptions for the Patriots.
New England improved to 10-6 with the win while Jacksonville dropped to 2-14 with the loss.
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 17 edition:
Mac Jones, QB
The rookie was excellent in a bounce-back performance. He had a couple of dicey throws, but on the whole was poised, accurate and effective throughout the game. He also spread the ball around, connecting with seven different receivers. Jones needs to carry over this performance into the season finale against the Miami Dolphins.
Jakobi Meyers, WR
Another solid outing from the always reliable Meyers, who also got the second touchdown reception of his career. Meyers finished the day with eight catches for 73 yards and a touchdown and was open all day. He’s been playing good football all season, even when the Patriots’ offense has struggled.
Kristian Wilkerson, WR
Prior to Sunday, Wilkerson had played just nine offensive snaps over his two seasons in the NFL. But the 2020 undrafted product enjoyed a breakout performance against the Jags, catching four balls for 42 yards and two touchdowns. No, he didn’t produce gaudy numbers, but Wilkerson nevertheless made the most of his opportunity, and that means a lot.
Honorable mentions: Offensive line; Damien Harris; Rhamondre Stevenson; J.C. Jackson; defensive line; Kendrick Bourne
Deatrich Wise, DT
We’re cherry-picking here, but Wise rushed too far upfield in the first quarter and allowed Lawrence to break off a big run. Patriots edge defenders have made similar mistakes over the last few weeks, and the issue must be corrected before the postseason.
N’Keal Harry, WR
He was a healthy scratch, but there might not have been a player who had a worse day than Harry did Sunday. The 2019 first-round pick was benched in favor of Wilkerson, a practice squadder who wound up having a huge game. Given Wilkerson’s performance and the inevitable trade rumors that will surround Harry during the offseason, it might be fair to wonder if the Arizona State product has played his final snap in a Patriots uniform.
The Patriots had an extra point blocked and fumbled a snap on another extra-point attempt. We doubt those problems will continue, but they still are worth pointing out. You know Bill Belichick will lose sleep at night over those kinds of special teams errors.
Honorable mentions: None