How Mac Jones Performed In First Win As Patriots Rout Zach Wilson, Jets

Jones was the clear victor in this battle of rookie QBs


Five quarterbacks were selected in the first 15 picks of the 2021 NFL Draft. Two of them squared off Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

One wasn’t perfect but performed well enough to guide his team to a comfortable victory. The other was Zach Wilson.

Wilson, this year’s No. 2 overall pick, endured a nightmare outing in his second start for the New York Jets, throwing four interceptions to New England Patriots defensive backs and posting a passer rating of 37.0.

His Patriots counterpart, 15th overall pick Mac Jones, turned in a much cleaner performance, completing 22 of 30 passes for 186 yards with no turnovers. The Patriots won 25-6 to bounce back from their season-opening loss to the Miami Dolphins and avoid their first 0-2 start since 2001.

It was the first win of Jones’ NFL career.

As was the case in Week 1, Jones spread the ball around and was accurate with his passes. Seven Patriots players tallied at least one reception — James White led the way with six on six targets for 45 yards — and Jones’ completion percentage was above 73 percent for the second consecutive game.

Through two weeks, Jones has completed 73.9 percent of his passes, though he’s averaging a modest 6.8 yards per attempt.

Jones’ longest completion Sunday was a 32-yard strike down the seam to a wide-open Hunter Henry. He also hit a well-covered Jakobi Meyers with a nice over-the-shoulder ball that picked up 24 yards.

Of Jones’ eight incompletions, two were dropped, two were broken up and two were intentionally thrown away:

1. Floated to a crossing Jonnu Smith on third-and-14. Pass hit off Smith’s hands but could have been placed better by Jones.
2. Incomplete deep to Meyers, who wanted to defensive pass interference call but didn’t get one.
3. Throwaway during a two-minute drill late in the first half.
4. Intentional grounding. (More on that play below)
5. Incomplete underneath to Henry, broken up by safety Marcus Maye.
6. Had Henry open while scrambling to the left, but bounced his pass in front of the tight end.
7. Broken up by linebacker C.J. Mosley, intended for Meyers.
8. Dropped by Kendrick Bourne.

CBS commentator Trent Green pointed out one potential missed read by Jones, saying he had Nelson Agholor wide open on a trick-play double pass. Jones took the safe completion, hitting Smith for a 19-yard catch-and-run.

Jones also made two contributions in the running game despite not logging any carries himself. He sprinted downfield to help push Damien Harris over the goal line on the running back’s bulldozing 26-yard touchdown run, then laid a key block — OK, “block” — on a 16-yard carry by Kendrick Bourne.

The most glaring negative moment for Jones came during a two-minute drill late in the first half. On third-and-2 from the Jets’ 21-yard line, the young QB scrambled and, unable to find an open receiver, spiked the ball to the turf. He was flagged for intentional grounding, creating a more difficult field-goal attempt for kicker Nick Folk. (Folk bailed him out, slotting his kick from 49 yards out.)

Jones had a similar moment on his first dropback of Week 1. On that play, he spiked the ball backward amid heavy Dolphins pressure, resulting in a fumble. Jones fumbled again in the first half of Sunday’s game, failing to protect the ball as John Franklin-Myers beat right tackle Yasir Durant for a sack.

Pass protection has been an issue for the Patriots through two weeks — Durant was benched after allowing three first-half sacks — and teammates were able to recover both of Jones’ fumbles. Still, the coaches surely will be stressing the importance of ball security with their quarterback ahead of next Sunday’s matchup with the New Orleans Saints at Gillette Stadium.

Cornerback J.C. Jackson (two) and safeties Adrian Phillips and Devin McCourty all picked off Wilson passes, and New England sacked him twice, including two by Josh Uche. Harris and White rushed for touchdowns, and Folk went 4-for-4 on field-goal attempts, extending his franchise-record streak of consecutive makes to 33.

Pittsburgh Steelers offensive guard Trai Turner
Previous Article

Steelers Guard Trai Turner Ejected For Spitting On Raiders Linebacker

New England Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson
Next Article

Three Studs, Three Duds From Patriots’ Wild Week 2 Victory Over Jets

Picked For You