Three Studs, Three Duds From Patriots’ Week 8 Victory Over Chargers

Adrian Phillips up, Mac Jones down

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October 31, 2021

Just like that, the New England Patriots have their biggest win of the season.

It wasn’t always pretty, but Bill Belichick’s team on Sunday defeated the Los Angeles Chargers 27-24 on Sunday at SoFi Stadium. Rookie Mac Jones struggled for the Patriots, completing just 18 of 35 passes for 217 yards in the win. Sophomore sensation Justin Herbert also scuffled for the Chargers, completing 18 of 35 passes for 223 yards, two touchdowns and two picks.

Nick Folk was a perfect 4-for-4 on field goals for the Patriots, including two from 48 yards.

New England improved to 4-4 with the victory while Los Angeles dropped to 4-3 with the defeat.

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 8 edition:

STUDS
Adrian Phillips, S
Huge game for the former Charger. Phillips picked off Herbert in the first half and added a pick-six in the fourth quarter. Phillips has been one of the better players on New England’s defense all season, and that trend continued Sunday.

Gunner Olszewski, PR
Man, does this guy love returning punts against the Chargers. Olszewski returned one for a score against Los Angeles last season and nearly broke a couple in this game. His most impactful game of the campaign.

Damien Harris, RB
Didn’t run totally wild, but he would’ve put up even bigger numbers if not for a pair of costly holding penalties. The emerging star running back still finished with 80 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. Harris continues to run hard while showing great speed.

Honorable mentions: Nick Folk, K; Matt Judon, LB; Lawrence Guy, DT; Secondary

DUDS
Mac Jones, QB
Got off to a strong start, but the rest wasn’t pretty. Jones looked sped up throughout, and the timing of the entire offense suffered as a result. Yes, the Chargers pass rush had a lot to do with that, but Jones flat-out made some bad throws in this game. These kinds of games happen with rookies, but they nevertheless are disappointing.

That said, Jones did just enough in the second half to lead his team to victory. He deserves credit for that.

Kendrick Bourne, WR
This is all about his fumble in the third quarter, which led to a benching. Those kinds of mistakes just can’t happen on a team that has such a slim margin for error. Ball security remains a glaring issue for the Patriots.

Left side of the offensive line
Justin Herron came into the game in the second quarter and promptly committed a holding penalty that wiped out a huge touchdown run from Harris. In the third quarter, Isaiah Wynn committed a holding that negated another big gain from Harris. The left side of the line also struggled in pass protection.

Honorable mentions: Jonnu Smith, TE; Jakobi Meyers, WR

Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images
New England Patriots defensive back Adrian Phillips
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