What Bill Belichick Liked About Mac Jones’ Performance Vs. Jets

'I thought he gave us a lot of good plays'


Oct 31, 2022

While far from flawless, Bill Belichick saw plenty of encouraging signs from Mac Jones in the Patriots quarterback’s first full game in over a month.

Jones went 24-for-35 for 194 yards and one touchdown with one interception Sunday as New England took down the New York Jets 22-17 at MetLife Stadium.

“I thought Mac did a nice job,” Belichick said in a Monday morning video conference. “We had pressure on quite a few pass plays — more than we would like, for sure — and I thought he made good decisions. He had to pull the ball down a couple and made some key runs for us. The Jets gave us some looks at the line of scrimmage that he had to deal with in the running game; I thought he handled those well. I thought he gave us a lot of good plays.”

The Patriots’ offensive line had trouble protecting Jones, who missed three games with a high ankle sprain and played just three series in last week’s blowout loss to the Chicago Bears at Gillette Stadium. The Jets sacked him a career-high six times and caused his interception, with a defender beating right tackle Marcus Cannon around the edge and swatting Jones’ hand as he threw.

Jones did get lucky on two other would-be picks — a roughing the passer penalty wiped out what might have been a season-altering pick-six, and linebacker C.J. Mosely dropped a pass that hit him in the stomach — and the Patriots scored just one touchdown. The rest of their points came on five Nick Folk field goals, and New York still had a chance late despite a dreadful performance from their own second-year QB, Zach Wilson.

New England will need cleaner play from Jones — whose 5.1% interception rate this season ranks last among qualified NFL passers — and his blockers if they hope to make a legitimate push for a playoff spot. But Belichick, who notably declined last week to commit to Jones as New England’s long-term starter, viewed Sunday as a positive step.

“I thought Mac did a good job today,” the Patriots head coach said after the game. “He got the ball out quickly. We gave up some pressure, but I thought he did a good job of taking care of the ball. (Rhamondre) Stevenson is obviously a tremendous back … but I thought Mac did a great job. Stevenson, Jakobi (Meyers) — we had some guys really step up for us and make some plays offensively that we needed.”

Stevenson was the Patriots’ best offensive player in the win, finishing with 143 yards from scrimmage (71 rushing, 72 receiving) on 23 touches. Meyers added a team-high nine catches for 60 yards and a touchdown, including a couple of early third-and-long conversions, on an otherwise quiet day for New England’s receiving corps.

The 4-4 Patriots will host the 3-4-1 Indianapolis Colts this Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

Thumbnail photo via Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports Images
New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson
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