FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots became the third team in seven months to sour on Antonio Brown’s off-field problems when they released the All-Pro receiver Friday. On the field, they didn’t need him to roll to an easy victory over the New York Jets.

Tom Brady threw a pair of touchdown passes, and the Patriots defense didn’t allow a touchdown for the third straight week as they dominated in a 30-14 win Sunday.

It was the Patriots’ first game since Brown was cut after a second woman accused him of sexual misconduct.

“Obviously, it was a tough week,” safety Duron Harmon said. “A lot of media. A lot of stories. But the only thing we focused on was the Jets, and I thought it showed today.”

Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead each added a rushing touchdown for the Patriots (3-0), who won their seventh straight over the Jets and earned their ninth consecutive regular-season win at home over their AFC East rival.

Brown’s absence didn’t slow New England against a Jets team that was without starting quarterback Sam Darnold, still recovering from mononucleosis, and injured linebacker C.J. Mosley and defensive lineman Quinnen Williams. With quarterback Luke Falk making his first NFL start, they seemed lost at times on defense and struggled to move the ball – going 0 for 12 on third down – against the Patriots’ top-ranked defense.

Phillip Dorsett and Julian Edelman caught TD passes. But, Edelman left the game with about a minute to play in the second quarter because of a chest injury and didn’t return. The Super Bowl MVP in February caught a 3-yard pass from Brady, fell on his right side and was sandwiched by Harvey Langi and Henry Anderson. He got up holding his rib area.

Brady was 28 of 42 for 306 yards. With New England leading 30-7 in the fourth quarter, he was briefly replaced by rookie Jarrett Stidham, who completed his first two passes before having his third intercepted and returned for a touchdown by Jamal Adams. Brady returned for the following series.

Falk, who was on the practice squad a week ago, got the nod with Darnold still at least a week away from returning and Trevor Siemian sidelined for the season after injuring his ankle in New York’s loss to Cleveland last Monday night.

Falk finished 12 of 22 for 98 yards and had an errant pass in the third quarter intercepted by Devin McCourty.

“It was a hard lesson to learn,” Falk said. “When playing a team like that, you can’t have errors.”

The Jets dropped to 0-3 for the first time since 2003.

It was McCourty’s third straight game with an interception.

“We’ve just got to continue letting the ball find somebody,” McCourty said.

Jets running back Le’Veon Bell carried 18 times for just 35 yards. The Jets punted on their first six possessions and only crossed into New England’s territory once in the first half. They punted on 10 of their 13 possessions.

New York didn’t get on the scoreboard until Gunner Olszewski muffed a punt late in the third quarter and it was recovered in the end zone for a touchdown by Arthur Maulet.

The Patriots were also limited in the run game without running back James White. He missed the game to be with his expectant wife.

But New England still scored on each of its first three possessions, building a 20-0 halftime lead.

Michel scored the first touchdown, running it in from 5 yards to cap a nine-play, 88-yard drive.

Brady and the offense then took to the air, spreading out New York’s secondary with four-receiver formations. Dorsett had a 25-yard TD reception, and Edelman caught another score from 3 yards out early in the second quarter. Edelman celebrated with an emphatic spike of the ball, a throwback to the celebration of choice by retired Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.


The Patriots are the first team in the Super Bowl Era that hasn’t allowed rushing or passing TD in their first three games.


With his touchdown throw to Dorsett in the first quarter, Brady passed Drew Brees for second place on the NFL’s career list for touchdown passes.

It was Brady’s 523rd TD pass. Peyton Manning is first with 539.


Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon left the field early in the second half because of an apparent finger injury after he got his hand caught in an opponent’s face mask. But he returned later in the third quarter and caught a 28-yard pass inside the 5 to help set up Burkhead’s touchdown run. … Defensive lineman Adam Butler left late in the third quarter because of a leg injury after combining on a sack with Dont’a Hightower. Hightower left in the fourth quarter because of a shoulder injury.

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