The Patriots began their new season in disappointing fashion Sunday, suffering a 17-16 loss to the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium.
New England was sloppy, undisciplined and a bit disjointed on both sides of the ball. However, plenty of things happened in the game that Patriots fans should feel encouraged by.
Each week, we’ll give you three studs and three duds for the Patriots, no matter how hard it might be to fill either category.
Here’s the Week 1 edition:
Damien Harris, RB
He could’ve landed in the “duds” section due to his late-game fumble, but Harris nevertheless was one of the Patriots’ best players in this game. Overcoming an occasionally spotty offensive line, the third-year back rushed for 100 yards on 23 carries.
Obviously, that fumble can’t happen. But Harris still showed why he has a chance to become a star running back in the NFL.
Nelson Agholor, WR
Few knew what to expect in this game from Agholor, who recently has battled an ankle injury and really didn’t do much during the preseason. Well, New England’s top wideout delivered in his debut, catching five balls for 72 yards and a touchdown.
Mac Jones, QB
Jones got off to an uneven start, with his wires seemingly crossing on a sack-fumble on the first drive of the game. After that, the rookie settled in and looked as advertised.
He completed 29 of 39 passes for 281 yards to go along with one touchdown pass. Sure ,there were some balls batted down at the line of scrimmage, but that’s going to happen and Jones isn’t going to be perfect.
All told, the rookie showed talent, toughness and poise in his NFL debut.
Honorable mentions: Kyle Van Noy, Adrian Phillips, run defense
Justin Herron, RT
Herron, typically a dependable backup, entered the game after Trent Brown suffered a calf injury and was not good. He gave up multiple pressures and committed a holding penalty that negated a would-be 33-yard completion to Kendrick Bourne.
Herron eventually was benched in favor of newcomer Yasir Durant, telling you all you need to know about his night.
Rhamondre Stevenson, RB
The rookie fumbled once during the preseason and fumbled again on his first regular-season carry. That’s a one-way ticket to the doghouse on a Bill Belichick team. Stevenson has a ton of talent, but he’ll need to get the fumbles under control if he wants to earn a role on this team.
It wasn’t all bad, as multiple players (Phillips, Jonathan Jones), had their moments. And although J.C. Jackson did give up a couple big completions, he ultimately was fine in this game.
However, the Patriots secondary allowed too many chunk plays that gave the Dolphins good field position. Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw for 202 yards and one touchdown (along with an interception), doing just enough to lead his team to victory.
Honorable mentions: Kendrick Bourne