FOXBOROUGH – You could possibly hear the joyous screams. You could possibly see the grins. The Patriots locker room was rocking on Sunday night. Following Marcus Jones’ 84-yard game-winning punt return for a landing, gamers have been in a euphonic inside Gillette Stadium.
It’s exhausting to win within the NFL. It’s exhausting to beat division opponents. It’s even more durable to beat these division opponents twice. For these causes, Patriots offensive gamers have been pleased. For different causes, they weren’t.
They placed on smiling faces afterward, however knew what they did – rating three factors at house in opposition to the New York Jets – wasn’t near adequate.
“It’s tremendous irritating. It’s not adequate on our facet of the ball. It’s simply not,” stated tight finish Hunter Henry. “We’re not bringing it. We moved the ball, however we simply beat ourselves and didn’t do very sensible issues. It’s the identical script. We’ve acquired to repair it.”
One other Sunday meant one other sluggish offensive efficiency. Two steps ahead and two steps again. There have been extra unfavourable performs and penalties. Extra porous offensive line play. The sport had an offensive rhythm that both put you to sleep or made you need to bang your head in opposition to the wall. To make issues worse, this 3-point efficiency comes off the bye week the place the hope was that this group would enhance.
Offensive gamers left Gillette Stadium with blended feelings. They improved to 6-4 and are in place to battle for a playoff spot. Nevertheless, they’re 11 weeks on this NFL season and having the identical struggles we noticed in Week 1.
“That’s been the entire yr,” stated proper guard Michael Onwenu. “We’ve been attempting to cease with the penalties and cease beating ourselves.”
Can the Patriots determine this out?
Mac Jones enchancment provides teammates optimism
From the surface, individuals query if the Patriots have the expertise to be higher on the offensive finish. Within the constructing, it’s by no means been a matter of confidence. Even by Mac Jones’ robust begin to the season, gamers actually believed they’d the best items to win video games.
If there was a silver lining on Sunday – aside from the truth that the Patriots gained 297 yards – it was that Jones regarded improved.
The final time Jones performed the Jets, he threw 194 yards to go along with a landing and one interception. In truth, he was fortunate to complete with only one interception. That sport noticed Jones sacked a career-high six occasions. The Jets once more sacked the quarterback a career-high six occasions on Sunday, however this time he regarded completely different. Jones accomplished 85% of his passes (23/27) for 246 yards.
On a day the place the offense regarded dangerous, the quarterback didn’t seem like the issue.
We now have to get the ball out of Mac’s arms. Such as you noticed, when he’s on time and every thing is sweet, he’s among the finest. He’s nice,” Henry stated. “We’ve acquired to guard him. The whole lot has to come back out on time. You’ll be able to see how good he’s when these balls are popping out.”
“He’s been doing loads of good issues and being very cautious with the soccer,” Jonnu Smith added. “He’s making the best reads and doing every thing he can. Mac’s a hell of a participant, hell of a teammate and I’ve all the boldness on the planet in him.”
Up to now two video games, in opposition to two good defenses, Jones has accomplished 75% (43/57) of his passes for 393 yards. He’s now gone two video games straight with out an interception since Week 12 and Week 13 of final season.
“It’s not all on Mac. It’s all of us collectively,” Kendrick Bourne stated. “Sure, we must be higher, clearly, however we’re profitable.”
Added Damien Harris: “Our total staff feels very lucky to have Mac as our quarterback.”
Offensive line is an even bigger challenge than the quarterback
The tough fact concerning the 2022 Patriots is that their offense isn’t proficient sufficient to beat unfavourable performs. We’re nearly in December and it appears like a certainty that anytime you see a unfavourable run on first down or a holding name that it’ll outcome within the Patriots calling for his or her punter.
These points have been clear on Sunday.
The primary collection noticed the Patriots surrender a sack on first down for a lack of seven. On the second, the first-down run gained only one yard. It shouldn’t have been stunning that each drives ended with three-and-outs.
The 2 missed discipline targets on Sunday adopted a standard theme. The Patriots acquired into discipline aim place after which acquired pushed again by a holding name and a sack on back-to-back performs.
“It was very irritating. Put it on the o-line,” Onwenu stated. “We’ve acquired to do our jobs higher and simply get in place to attain and when we have now these alternatives, scores.”
“I appeared like anytime we crossed the 50, we acquired in our personal method,” added heart James Ferentz. “It’s a type of issues the place I don’t know if it’s a psychological factor at this level, however no matter it’s, we’ve acquired to discover a solution to push by it. We’re getting to some extent the place each sport issues, however much more so now as we get near the top.”
Do coaches lack confidence in Mac Jones or the o-line?
Though gamers have vocal confidence in Jones, it’s truthful to marvel if the Patriots offensive teaching workers feels the identical method. There have been a number of play calls on Sunday the place it regarded just like the Patriots have been merely attempting to keep away from a turnover somewhat than get a primary down.
For instance, the staff’s second drive within the third quarter. Jones began this collection with back-to-back 20-yard passes to Meyers and Henry. What adopted was a run for 2 yards, a run for unfavourable two yards after which a sack on third down.
The subsequent drive noticed Jones begin the collection with a 13-yard go to Harris. What adopted was a 6-yard run, a run for a lack of three yards, a four-yard run on third down after which a head-scratching run for zero yards on fourth-and-3.
When the Patriots opened the second half, their finest offensive performs got here when Jones threw the ball. Their worst offensive performs got here after they ran the ball. Is Matt Patricia scared of a Jones turnover or was he cautious because of the leaky offensive line?
The Patriots have 4 days to reply a few of these questions. With back-to-back Thursday night time matchups with the Minnesota Vikings and Buffalo Payments on deck, time is working out for this offense to show their higher than what they’ve proven this season.
“Yeah, it’s irritating,” stated Bourne. “We’ve simply acquired to stay collectively. We’ve been coping with this the previous couple of weeks, so we all know what we have to repair. It’s nearly doing it. It’s sticking with it, sticking collectively and never pointing fingers as a gaggle. A win is a win and we’re pleased about that, however we need to rating factors. Hopefully we will determine it out.”