FOXBORO, Mass. — While you were sleeping, the Patriots finished off a forgettable 26-3 win over the Indianapolis Colts.
New England racked up a measly 203 yards of total offense with the Indy managing just 121 yards. The Patriots looked like a team ready to hit the bye week, while the Colts looked like a team destined to land a high 2023 draft pick.
Mac Jones didn’t do much of anything, completing 20 of 30 passes for 147 yards and a touchdown while facing pressure for much of the game. He did snap his streak of seven straight starts with at least one interception, though. Had it not been for Jonathan Jones’ excellent first-half punt block, which gave the Patriots the ball at Indy’s 2-yard line, New England probably wouldn’t have scored an offensive touchdown in this game.
On the other side, fellow sophomore quarterback Sam Ehlinger completed 15 of 29 passes for 103 yards to go along with an interception while rushing five times for 39 yards. He was sacked an outrageous nine times, with Matthew Judon and Josh Uche both delivering three sacks. Oh, and the Patriots held the Colts to 0-for-14(!!!) on third down.
Nick Folk converted all four of his field goal attempts, because of course. Rookie Marcus Jones also rattled off some impressive returns during a game that featured a lot of special teams.
The Patriots improved to 5-4 with the victory while the Colts dropped to 3-5-1 with the loss.
Here are three studs and three duds for New England from its Week 9 victory at Gillette Stadium:
LB Matthew Judon
The Patriots’ star edge rusher was an absolute force in this game, racking up three sacks and six tackles. Judon was in the Colts’ backfield all afternoon and terrorized Ehlinger early and often. He also made a huge tackle on fourth down at the start of the fourth quarter. Judon now is just seven sacks away from tying Andre Tippett’s single-season Patriots record of 18.5. Judon also became the first player in the NFL to reach at least 10 sacks this season.
RB Rhamondre Stevenson
The offense would be lost without him. Stevenson didn’t post huge numbers — finishing with 15 carries for 60 yards and three catches for 10 yards — but his one-handed, three-yard receiving touchdown in the second quarter was a huge play. Per usual, Stevenson ran hard and picked up yards when there weren’t many available. The only thing to worry about with him is the huge workload, which hopefully will lessen once Damien Harris returns.
CB Jalen Mills
This arguably was the best game of the season for Mills, who was a bit inconsistent over the first eight weeks. The veteran made a great tackle in the running game during the first quarter and also broke up multiple passes. New England needs this version of Mills going forward.
Honorable mentions: Josh Uche, Jonathan Jones, Special teams, Marcus Jones
Both left guards
It was rough. Cole Strange, who briefly got benched for Isaiah Wynn last week, was pulled after only two series against the Colts and didn’t return until the fourth quarter. The rookie committed an illegal-use-of-hands penalty that got declined and appeared to give up multiple pressures. Wynn wasn’t much better, committing a holding penalty and giving up multiple quarterback pressures of his own. The Patriots have had issues at right tackle all season, and now they appear to have one at left guard.
P Jake Bailey
Does he have the yips? Bailey’s up-and-down (mostly down) season continues. He shanked a 36-yarder in the first quarter on his second punt of the game and later kicked one that sailed only 39 yards. He polished off the terrible performance with a 7-yard punt late in the fourth quarter — yes, 7 yards. The Patriots can’t afford for him to play like this much longer, given how crucial field position is in their path to victories.
WR Jakobi Meyers
An unusually quiet game for Meyers, who finished with just five catches for 42 yards and lost a fumble that led to a Colts field goal. It probably isn’t anything to be concerned over, and Meyers wasn’t actually bad in this game, but he certainly wasn’t one of the Patriots’ top performers.
Honorable mentions: James Ferentz, Mac Jones, Tyquan Thornton