FOXBORO, Mass. — It looked like Mac Jones and the Patriots were writing a familiar script Sunday afternoon.

New England built a 12-point fourth-quarter lead over the Bills only to watch it evaporate. Josh Allen and the Buffalo offense took a three-point lead with 1:58 left, setting the stage for a quarterback who, to that point, never had a conducted real game-winning drive.

Then something completely unexpected happened.

Jones, long since written off by most Patriots fans, conducted an eight-play, 75-yard drive that was punctuated by a touchdown to Mike Gesicki with 12 seconds left. The Bills did nothing with their final two plays, and New England held on for a narrative-changing 29-25 victory.

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After the game, multiple Patriots players talked about the leadership that Jones showed with his back against the wall.

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“He was positive,” said receiver Demario Douglas, who caught four balls for 54 yards. “Like, ‘Let’s go. Let’s go, fellas.’ I feel like always, in the huddle — we got Mac. I’m in there with vets. And they’re all like, ‘We got this.’ And you can see it in their eyes: confidence. And I feel like that’s what helped me. They gave me that confidence, too. And they believe in me.”

While speaking to, guard Cole Strange added: “Kind of the same message he had the whole time, that all of us sort of shared. Just confidence that we were gonna put it in the end zone. The game wasn’t over. … As long as there’s time on the board, we’re still rolling.”

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Strange agreed with Douglas’ assessment of Jones’ positivity. But he added it was nothing new from the much-maligned 25-year-old quarterback, who’s among the NFL’s most maligned players.

“He’s pretty consistently positive, too,” Strange said. “You know, regardless of what’s going on outside. … Ignore them, focus on what we need to do. Focus on the coaches, our assignments. Stay positive. He’s usually like that.”

It would’ve been easy for Jones to let the moment get the best of him and to drag the offense down with him. It’s happened before, after all. But the Patriots quarterback kept his cool with the game on the line.

“A lot of composure,” receiver Kendrick Bourne said of Jones. “Just very calm. (Rhamondre Stevenson) made a great play to start the drive. … But we were just locked in.”

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Stevenson added: “Mac’s our leader, He did a great job just keeping everybody poised and ready to go get some points on that drive.”

It’s not a stretch to say this was the best overall game of Jones’ career. The numbers were there — 25-of-30, 272 yards and two TDs — and he finally got a straight-up win against a top team and elite quarterback.

Does that mean he suddenly is locked back in as New England’s quarterback of the future? That’s probably a stretch, but if he plays well again next Sunday and beats the Miami Dolphins, it’ll be a fair conversation.

Featured image via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports Images