FOXBORO, Mass. — It’s not a stretch to say that Mac Jones is the most maligned player in the NFL. After all, his Sunday began with a report that some around the league believe he has “no trade value.”

But Jones’ day finished on the other end of the spectrum, with the 25-year-old quarterback delivering a signature game-winning drive in the Patriots’ 29-25 victory over the Buffalo Bills. For many reasons, it was Jones’ finest performance since arriving in New England.

Tight end Mike Gesicki, who caught the game-winning touchdown, knows Jones has been under fire from local and national pundits alike. And he defended his quarterback during a postgame news conference.

“I don’t think a lot of the talk and stuff that happens with him is fair, honestly,” Gesick said. “I think he’s done an unbelievable job kind of blocking all of that out, and he’s done an unbelievable job internally leading us throughout all that adversity. Today, back against the wall, you hear all the talk about us with a chance to win the game and we can’t close and all that stuff.

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“And today, we had a chance, and he stood in there and delivered play after play after play. Ultimately, we won the game off several great plays, but ultimately off a great ball by him. So, I’m really happy for him and just excited for this to ultimately propel us forward.”

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Jones’ big game might change the narrative surrounding the Patriots for a few days. But it won’t mean anything if he and his team drop the ball this Sunday in a road game against the Miami Dolphins.

A victory would improve the Patriots to 3-5 ahead of two winnable matchups, whereas a loss would leave Bill Belichick’s team 2-6 with the Oct. 31 trade deadline just two days away.

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Nevertheless, Sunday offered a reminder of what Jones is capable of when he’s playing with confidence. And he deserves credit for staying the course despite deafening outside noise.

Featured image via Kris Craig/USA TODAY Sports Images