Patriots

Patriots

There's no harder exam for rookie NFL quarterbacks to pass than a Bill Belichick defense on the road.

The New England Patriots head coach improved his record against rookie QBs in Foxboro to 11-0 on Sunday with his team's 38-3 win over Sam Darnold and the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium.

Darnold completed 16 of 28 passes for 167 yards with zero touchdowns and zero interceptions. He also was sacked four times, and he fumbled on one of them. That fumble was recovered by the Patriots, and linebacker Kyle Van Noy returned it for a touchdown

It was the second time the Patriots beat Darnold this season. They also defeated the No. 3 pick from the 2018 NFL Draft in Week 12 at MetLife Stadium.

The Patriots secured at least the No. 2 seed and a first-round playoff bye in the AFC with their Week 17 win versus the Jets. New England now has earned a first-round bye nine seasons in a row.

READ MORE: Updated AFC playoff picture

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