New England Patriots: Quick takes on big Week 9 win against the Panthers

New England Patriots tight end Hunter Henry (85) Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
New England Patriots tight end Hunter Henry (85) Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /
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New England Patriots
New England Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson (27) Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /

The New England Patriots beat the Carolina Panthers 24-6 in a Week 9 game of key importance to both teams. Here are some quick takeaways on that critically important Patriots win. Each team entered the fray with a record of 4-4.

The first two Patriots offensive series were punctuated by four penalties, a sack taken, a batted down pass, and a bobbled catch by Jakobi Meyers that cost the team a first down. Great.

Thankfully, it got better. Let’s take a look at the performances of the offense and defense in more detail. First, their best unit, the defense.

New England Patriots defense comes up big

Sam Darnold, the former New York Jets first round pick, quarterbacked the Panthers’ offense, but the Patriots’ defense was more than up to the task.

A batted-down pass by Kyle Van Noy (his second in two games) snuffed out the Panthers’ first drive. A big play from a big-time player who’s emerging once again as a force at linebacker.

The New England Patriots defense was outstanding in the first half, smothering the Panthers’ offense and only bending after offensive turnovers.

Christian Barmore had two big batted-down passes in the game. One forced Carolina into a field goal after a fumble by Mac Jones gifted the Panthers prime field position. It saved points right there.

Barmore also forced Darnold out of the pocket and set up an 88-yard pick-six in the third quarter by who else, pick-artist cornerback, J.C. Jackson. Jackson would have another pick in the fourth quarter.

The rookie defensive lineman is continuing to excel, collapsing the pocket continually. The sky is the limit for him in the future. Simply stated, the Patriots’ defense is better with Barmore.

Barmore is a pile driver of an interior defensive lineman and is emerging as a true force unseen in the New England Patriots since Vince Wilfork.

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One can’t overstate the importance of rookie Barmore’s contribution to the entire defense. He not only makes the defensive line a menace by collapsing the pocket, but he is also a threat to the running game.

In addition, his collapsing the pocket forces improvisation by opposing quarterbacks like Darnold today, and bad things can eventuate if that happens.

Matt Judon continued his excellence with yet another sack, his ninth of the season. That’s a sack a game. Doesn’t get much better than that.

One of the keys to a win was the defense’s ability to keep Panthers’ star Christian McCaffrey in check. To a great extent, they did, until he got a bit untracked late in the third quarter.

Yet, overall, the defense was the star of the game for the New England Patriots. If they had a clean game by the offense a shutout could have been the result.

They were that good and if they continue this play and the offense cleans up its turnover act, anything is possible.