The New England Patriots again failed to complete a late comeback Sunday night in a 24-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins. Here’s a closer look at how each position group fared in that Week 2 matchup:

We’ll say it: Despite the result, this was an encouraging game for Mac Jones. The third-year QB held up well to the frequent pressure he faced and, unexpectedly, excelled at throwing on the move, which typically isn’t his strong suit.

His third-down completion to Rhamondre Stevenson, sideline strike to JuJu Smith-Schuster, improv’d red-zone hookup with Smith-Schuster and fourth-quarter touchdown to Hunter Henry all came while Jones was rolling out or scrambling.

Facing a third-and-15 early in the fourth, Jones took off and scrambled 18 yards down the sideline for a first down. Two plays later, he hit Henry for New England’s first touchdown of the night.

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Jones also very nearly delivered what would have been an incredible 45-yard completion to Mike Gesicki while scrambling to his left and toward the line of scrimmage, but it landed inches out of the tight end’s reach.

That play did underscore one weak spot for Jones on Sunday: deep passing. He attempted five passes that traveled 20-plus yards downfield, according to Pro Football Focus, and didn’t complete any of them.

Jones also threw a momentum-shifting interception while trying to hit DeVante Parker down the right sideline. Parker’s inability to get open on the play earns him partial blame, but Jones also shouldn’t have tried to force a pass into blanket coverage.

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With little downfield success, this wasn’t an especially explosive passing attack. Jones averaged just 5.5 yards per attempt. But he at least was efficient and accurate underneath, going 25-for-26 on throws within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. Jones also completed 66.7% of his passes when pressured, way up from his 43.8% mark in Week 1.

Parker played well overall in his season debut, catching six of his eight targets for 57 yards and drawing three defensive penalties after missing Week 1 with a knee injury. But his decisive loss to Howard on Jones’ interception is hard to overlook. Parker typically excels in contested catch situations, and Howard routed him on that rep.

Kendrick Bourne (nine targets, four catches, 29 yards) was the Patriots’ most-targeted pass-catcher for the second straight week, but he and Jones had trouble connecting on a series of deep balls. One early in the game hit Bourne in the hands and should have been caught.

That miss came one play before the lost fumble that got Demario Douglas benched. The rookie slot receiver showed more juice and explosiveness than any of his fellow Patriots wideouts before his ball-security gaffe, and he was correct in saying he “could have made a difference” while he watched from the sideline for the final three quarters.

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Smith-Schuster had a key first down on each of the Patriots’ two touchdown drives but totaled just 28 yards on five receptions, including a mere 4 yards after the catch.

Overall, this group’s lack of high-end, game-changing talent was readily apparent, especially against a team that boasted the likes of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.

New England’s backs didn’t have much room to run for the second consecutive week, with Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliott averaging just 3.2 yards per carry between them.

Most of that was the result of poor blocking in front of them, though, and Stevenson was able to get free on a few occasions, gaining 6 or more yards on a third of his 15 carries and scoring a fourth-quarter touchdown that made it a seven-point game.

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Neither back was used much in the passing game, but Stevenson caught all three of his targets, including one that moved the chains on third-and-1. Elliott botched one blitz pickup, resulting in a pressure on a deep incompletion to Bourne that sailed out of bounds, but was better in his next pass-protection opportunity.

Henry’s receiving line through two weeks: 13 targets, 11 catches, 108 yards, two touchdowns. Entering the Monday night games, he ranked second among tight ends in yards and tied for third in receptions, and he and Minnesota’s T.J. Hockenson were the only ones with multiple touchdown catches. Henry was a consistently reliable target for Jones in Week 2, just as he was in the opener.

Gesicki also upped his involvement with five catches on six targets for 33 yards, and Bill Belichick praised him for trying to make something happen on his oh-so-close last-play lateral to Cole Strange. The Patriots lived in two-tight end sets after Douglas’ benching and even ran a series of plays out of three-tight end formations on their opening possession.

The negatives: Poor blocking from Henry and/or Gesicki caused a pair of fourth-quarter screens to Smith-Schuster to go nowhere. Gesicki also could have made a better play on the aforementioned on-the-move deep ball that just missed.

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The Patriots got two O-line starters back from injury (Strange and Mike Onwenu) yet managed to play worse up front than they did against a more talented Eagles D-line in Week 1.

Right tackle Calvin Anderson was worked over by backup edge rusher Andrew Van Ginkel in his second straight rough outing. Left tackle Vederian Lowe — making his first NFL start in place of a concussed Trent Brown — let up a sack on the final drive and had a few early run-blocking whiffs.

Unblocked Dolphins blitzers knifed between Strange and Lowe for a sack on the Patriots’ opening possession and between Anderson and Onwenu to blow up Stevenson in the backfield on a third-and-1. Rookie guard Atonio Mafi replaced Onwenu at the start of the fourth quarter — a planned substitution to spell the latter in his first game back from injury, per both Onwenu and Belichick — and allowed a sack on his fourth snap.

Finally, Miami instantly pressured Jones up the middle on New England’s final play, forcing a hurried throw to Gesicki.

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Jones was sacked four times, hit eight times and pressured on 36.2% of his dropbacks, per PFF, and the Patriots struggled to run the ball consistently for the second consecutive week. It takes time to develop O-line communication and continuity, and a steady drumbeat of injuries has prevented New England from getting its preferred starting five the practice reps it needs together.

But the Patriots need to figure out some sort of solution here, and quickly. Line play isn’t the only issue holding back this offense, but it’s by far the biggest.

After successfully limiting the Eagles’ potent rushing attack in Week 1, the Patriots allowed Raheem Mostert to gash them for 121 yards, 6.7 yards per carry and two touchdowns. The second was a killer: a 43-yard romp straight up the gut that provided what proved to be the winning margin for Miami.

That play was a failure at all three levels, but it started with Davon Godchaux and Daniel Ekuale both getting walled off by double teams at the point of attack.

New England’s D-linemen also finished with no sacks or QB hits on Tua Tagovailoa, no tackles for loss and just one total pressure (by Deatrich Wise).

Captain Ja’Whaun Bentley also was sealed off on Mostert’s long touchdown run, setting the speedy running back loose in the secondary. Earlier, he was pancaked by a lineman on a 28-yard screen pass to Waddle. Jahlani Tavai lost contain on Mostert’s first score — an 8-yarder midway through the second quarter.

Tagovailoa’s average time to throw (1.98 seconds) was the lowest of any NFL QB in Week 2, per PFF, limiting the Patriots’ opportunities to pressure him. But Matthew Judon did get home for one sack, which Josh Uche helped set up by bull-rushing center Connor Williams straight backward.

Uche also brought pressure on a third-and-11 incompletion in the third quarter, and Judon — typically known for his pass-rushing abilities — made a great play in coverage when he blanketed the speedy Waddle on a seam route.

The Patriots employed an unusual defensive wrinkle to combat Miami’s explosive passing game, often deploying three deep safeties to prevent big plays down the field.

Did it work? Sort of. The Patriots successfully limited Hill to five catches on nine targets for 40 yards and a 2-yard touchdown, and Tagovailoa completed just one pass that traveled more than 20 yards in the air.

Keying that effort was first-round rookie Christian Gonzalez. He played every defensive snap for the second consecutive week, outjumped Hill for what Belichick called “an outstanding interception,” and allowed just 32 receiving yards and 6 yards after the catch, per PFF.

Though he had some issues as a run defender, Gonzalez looks like a special talent worthy of his pre-draft hype, and he’s helped carry a battered cornerback group that was without Jonathan Jones and Jack Jones on Sunday and lost Marcus Jones to a shoulder injury before halftime.

But while the Patriots weren’t burned by many downfield heaves, they had no answer for Miami’s quick game. Tagovailoa picked them apart with slants and hitches, many of which head coach Mike McDaniel set up with his inventive use of “out motion.”

Countless times Sunday night, the Dolphins sent a receiver in motion toward the sideline just before the snap, only for Tagovailoa to immediately fire a pass into the space that motion created. Miami used that Canadian football-style motion to get Hill matched up against safety Kyle Dugger rather than Gonzalez on his goal-line touchdown.

Dugger and safety Jabrill Peppers both played every snap, with the former notching a tackle for loss and a key third-down pass breakup. Cornerback Myles Bryant didn’t leave the field after Marcus Jones’ injury and was a mixed bag, with a PBU and two TFLs but a long completion allowed to Waddle.

Injuries forced Bryant to play far more snaps at outside corner than he typically sees and resulted in the largest workload of Shaun Wade’s career (14 snaps).

Rookie Marte Mapu split his 30 snaps between safety and linebacker alignments. His most notable contribution was a negative one: a personal foul for a hit on a defenseless receiver that wiped out Judon’s breakup and gave Miami a late-game first down.

Brenden Schooler’s blocked field goal was a thing of beauty, both from a scheme and an execution perspective. Coaches Joe Judge, Cam Achord and Joe Houston spotted a weakness in Miami’s operation, which featured ex-Patriots punter/holder Jake Bailey, and Schooler timed his sprint and launch perfectly.

Players on both teams said they’d never seen a field goal block like that before. Matthew Slater also said Schooler — an uber-athletic second-year pro who already is one of the NFL’s best special teamers — probably is the only player on New England’s roster who could have made such a play.

Elsewhere, Chad Ryland made all three of his kicks (two extra points and a 49-yard field goal) and Bryce Baringer delivered punts that pinned Miami at its own 8-, 15- and 16-yard lines with no touchbacks. Penalties on Peppers (holding) and Chris Board (offsides) dropped the grade by half a letter.

Featured image via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images