BOSTON (CBS) — For the first time this season, the New England Patriots are above .500.

They reached that mark with a convincing 24-6 victory over the Panthers in Carolina on Sunday.

Mac Jones didn’t have to do much, completing 12 of his 18 passes for 139 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.

Rhamondre Stevenson had over 100 yards from scrimmage — 62 rushing yards and 44 receiving yards — while Damien Harris (rushing) and Hunter Henry (receiving) each scored a touchdown for the visitors. J.C. Jackson also returned an interception 88 yards for a New England touchdown, the first score of Jackson’s career.

Both Stevenson and Harris left the game in the fourth quarter with head injuries.

Sam Darnold completed just 16 of his 33 passes for 172 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions.

The Panthers dropped to 4-5 with the loss. Their only points were scored after turnovers in the Patriots’ end of the field.

The game stayed at 0-0 through the entire first quarter, with each team punting twice and the Patriots turning the ball over on their third possession. Brian Burns had a free run at Mac Jones from behind and jarred the ball free from the quarterback, with Carolina recovering the fumble and returning it to the New England 33-yard line.

The Panthers gained one first down on that drive but didn’t make it any farther, settling for a field goal to take a 3-0 lead early in the second quarter.

The Patriots responded with an eight-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to take a 7-3 lead. Rhamondre Stevenson broke the big play of that drive, making a catch behind the line of scrimmage on the right side and turning it into a 41-yard gain.

Stevenson picked up 21 yards combined on the next three plays on the ground, and Damien Harris plunged into the end zone from the 3-yard line to give New England the lead.

The Patriots’ defense then forced a three-and-out, but Jones threw an interception to Stephon Gilmore.

For the second time of the game, the Panthers turned a turnover into points, but they once again had to settle for a field goal.

The Patriots came back with a 10-play, 80-yard touchdown drive to take a 14-6 lead before halftime. Jones lofted a perfect deep ball to Brandon Bolden on a wheel route to convert a third-and-5.

Jones ended that drive with a touchdown strike to Hunter Henry.

The Patriots stretched that lead to 21-6 when J.C. Jackson picked off Sam Darnold to kill the Panthers’ best offensive drive of the game  and returned it 88 yards for a touchdown.

Jamie Collins turned in a pair of impressive plays on back-to-back snaps in the third quarter, stopping Christian McCaffrey for a loss of three yards on a pass  play on second-and-10 and then picking off Darnold at the line of scrimmage on third-and-13.

The Patriots scored a field goal on the ensuing drive, stretching their lead to 24-6.

The Panthers threatened to score again, but Darnold threw another interception to Jackson, with this one coming in the end zone.

The Patriots will host the Browns next weekend at Gillette Stadium.

CBSBoston.com Staff