A week after Justin Fields and the Chicago Bears dominated them, Matthew Judon and the New England Patriots' defense got back on the right track on Sunday, propelling the team to a 22-17 victory over the New York Jets.
While Jets quarterback Zach Wilson threw for 355 yards, the Patriots' defense made life hard for him throughout as he completed less than 50 percent of his passes (20-for-41). Not only did they do that, they also intercepted Wilson three times as the second-year quarterback looked lost.
Judon and the Patriots' pass rush appeared to be a big reason for that. Even though Wilson was sacked just twice, he was on the move a lot with his legs, with two of his interceptions coming on deep rollouts due to pressure from the New England defense.
“To get to him, impose our will as a front, and continue to put him under pressure and under duress. We were able to do that,” Judon said. “We weren’t able to get him on the ground, but we were able to get into the backfield and boogie oogie him so he could have some errant throws.”
Zach Wilson gets picked off!
That was Devin McCourty's 32nd career INT, tied for the most among active players 🔥
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) October 30, 2022
After allowing 241 yards against the Bears, the Patriots played the run extremely well on Sunday. They gave up just 51 yards on 15 carries for the Jets.
Zach Wilson, who can typically make plays with his legs, did next to nothing in the ground game. He only recorded one official carry, which went for just two yards. A big reason for that appeared to be Matthew Judon playing more of a spy role on Sunday after his aggressiveness to rush the passer in Week 7 played a factor in Fields running for 82 yards.
Judon acknowledged that while the Patriots defense had a well-rounded performance, they can't rest on their laurels moving forward. He cited their prior struggles at points this season as a reason for that.
“We found an identity, but we can’t keep letting that monster creep in. We have good games and then we have some bad games,” Judon added. “So today was a good game and that’s the defense we want to put out there. We’ve gotta tighten up on the explosive plays. They had a couple explosive plays and every time they had an explosive play, that’s when they scored. So we’ve gotta tighten up on that.
“But I think y’all are seeing a tale of two halves. In the wins, our defense went out there and we played dominant. We played solid. And in the losses, it looked like we didn’t know what we were doing.”
Devin McCourty AGAIN! 😱
— NFL (@NFL) October 30, 2022
“Any win is pretty. Duh,” Judon furthered after the win. “We’re just trying to get in the win column. Any game we play, we want to win. If we’ve gotta win 2-0 or we’ve gotta win 66-61, we don’t care as long as we get the win. We grade it on film and we make corrections, but I think any win is a good win.”