Six Thoughts On Mac Jones’ Performance In Patriots’ Win Over Panthers

The Patriots didn't need much from Jones in Week 9


Nov 7, 2021

The New England Patriots rolled to their third consecutive win Sunday, battering the Carolina Panthers 24-6 at Bank of America Stadium.

Here are six thoughts on how quarterback Mac Jones performed in this ugly, lopsided game:

— The Patriots didn’t need this to be an air-it-out game for Jones. They cruised to a comfortable victory on the back of a strong rushing attack and a swarming, dominant defense.

Jones was quietly efficient in the first half, going 11-for-13 for 121 yards with completions to seven different receivers. He also went 5-for-5 on third down in the opening half, including a 28-yarder to running back Brandon Bolden and a 7-yard touchdown to tight end Hunter Henry.

The rookie quarterback dialed up the velocity on his scoring strike, which put the Patriots ahead 14-6 just before halftime. It was Henry’s fifth touchdown catch in the last six games.

— The Patriots’ passing game was nearly nonexistent after halftime. Jones completed just one pass over the final two quarters. He attempted just five, missing on a few deep shots during a third-quarter drive that ended in a Nick Folk field goal.

With the game in hand, head coach Bill Belichick handed the reins to backup Brian Hoyer with 3:29 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Jones’ final line: 12 of 18, 139 yards, one touchdown, one interception. Nothing special, but significantly better than his Carolina counterpart’s. Sam Darnold once again struggled against New England’s defense, going 16-for-33 for 172 yards and no touchdowns and three interceptions, including an 88-yard J.C. Jackson pick-six.

The 18 pass attempts were a new career low for Jones, who’s thrown the ball 30-plus times in seven of his first nine NFL games.

— It was a quiet day for New England’s wideouts. Kendrick Bourne and Jakobi Meyers combined for just four catches on eight targets for 42 yards, and Nelson Agholor did not record an official target. (Jones’ lone throw to Agholor resulted in defensive pass interference penalty.)

Nearly 70 percent of Jones’ passing yards came on throws to running backs or tight ends. Rhamondre Stevenson led the way with 44 receiving yards, 41 of which came on one highlight-reel catch-and-run.

Though that particular pass traveled just a few yards, it might have been Jones’ best of the game. Throwing over a defender with that kind of touch isn’t easy.

The Patriots rushed for a season-high 151 yards, with Stevenson (62 yards), Bolden (54 yards) and Damien Harris (30 yards, touchdown) sharing the load.

— Jones turned the ball over twice in the first half, first losing a fumble on a Brian Burns strip sack and later throwing an interception to former teammate Stephon Gilmore.

Gilmore’s familiarity with Jones, Meyers and the Patriots’ offense was apparent on the pick, as he began breaking on the ball before the QB had even released it.

The fumble came on one of Carolina’s two first-half sacks, both of which seemed to involve either miscommunications or timing issues between Patriots blockers. Burns received a chip from tight end Hunter Henry but was too fast for left tackle Isaiah Wynn, who lunged at the edge rusher as nailed Jones from behind.

Jones also could have done a better job of sensing pressure on the play.

Jones and the Patriots’ offense responded well to both giveaways, though. In both cases, their next possession was a 75-yard touchdown drive.

— Penalties — particularly pre-snap penalties — hamstrung the Patriots’ offense early.

On their opening possession, they had a false start and a hold on back-to-back plays, setting up a second-and-25. Their next drive began with a delay of game and included another false start, creating unfavorable second-and-19, second-and-15 and third-and-16 situations. They then committed yet another false start on their final series of the first half.

— Jones has yet to lose away from Gillette Stadium in his NFL career. He’s a perfect 4-0 on the road.

The 5-4 Patriots will return home next week to host the 5-4 Cleveland Browns in a game that could have major playoff implications in the AFC.

Thumbnail photo via Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports Images
New England Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson
Previous Article

Three Studs, Three Duds From Patriots’ Dominant Win Over Panthers

Boston Bruins defenseman Jakub Zboril, Carolina Hurricanes forward Martin necas
Next Article

How Can Bruins Jumpstart Forwards, Defense After Loss To Maple Leafs?

Picked For You