FOXBORO, Mass. — Two weeks, two similar situations, two markedly different outcomes for Mac Jones and the Patriots.

Last Sunday, Jones and New England’s offense got the ball back, down two, with 2:23 remaining and most of the field to cover. They went backward, with a holding penalty and a back-breaking safety dooming them to defeat against the Las Vegas Raiders.

The circumstances this Sunday: 1:58 remaining, down three, ball at their own 25-yard line. It was yet another chance for Jones to dispel his various well-earned narratives — can’t beat a quality opponent, can’t win a shootout, can’t come back late, can’t come through in crunch time.

This time, the embattled quarterback finally delivered.

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Jones led an eight-play, 75-yard drive and found tight end Mike Gesicki for a 1-yard touchdown with 12 seconds remaining to power the Patriots to a 29-25 victory over the big, bad Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium.

It was Jones’ first game-winning drive since Week 5 of the 2021 season — when the Patriots kicked a late field goal to overcome a four-win Houston Texans team — and the first of his career while trailing.

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It also marked the first time since Jones was drafted that the Patriots won a game while allowing 25 or more points. They had been 0-15 in such contests, including playoffs. He’d won just once before when trailing in the fourth quarter (the aforementioned Texans game).

For the Patriots, it was their first win over an opposing QB who was not either a backup or Zach Wilson in over a year (Jared Goff, Oct. 9, 2022).

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And, most importantly, it was a signal to the rest of the team and fanbase that Jones, who was benched in two of the previous three games and might already have lost his job if the Patriots had any other viable in-house option, is not a lost cause.

“The offense had the ball in their hands at the end,” cornerback Jonathan Jones said after the game. “People say they can’t score in two-minute, but they proved everybody wrong.”

The Patriots appeared on their way to a more comfortable upset when Mac Jones hit Kendrick Bourne for a 4-yard touchdown that put them up 22-10 halfway through the fourth quarter. But Buffalo responded with a touchdown of its own, then scored another to vault ahead after a Bourne fumble gave Josh Allen and company a short field.

Jones, who came up empty on comeback bids against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1, Miami Dolphins in Week 2 and Raiders in Week 6, went 7-for-8 for 70 yards on the final drive, including a 6-yard completion to rookie receiver Demario Douglas that was negated by a defensive pass interference penalty.

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That flag gave the Patriots a first-and-goal from Buffalo’s 1-yard line. Jones found Gesicki in the end zone two plays later, and the Patriots withstood a final last-gasp push from Allen to lock down their most stirring win in years.

“(My goal was to) just lower my pulse and go out there and execute,” Jones said. “I think that’s what I told the guys in the huddle, ‘Just take a deep breath and let’s go do it, right?’ Half of it’s just belief, and the other half is execution.”

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The drive capped what might have been the best all-around game of Jones’ career. He completed 25 of 30 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns with no turnovers — his first game without a giveaway since Week 3 — while mostly attacking the short and intermediate areas and playing behind a much-improved O-line. After halftime, he had as many touchdowns (two) as incompletions.

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Jones’ 83.3% completion rate was his third-best as a pro. So was his 126.7 passer rating, trailing only blowout wins over Cleveland and Jacksonville he notched during his promising rookie season. It was a statement performance for a player who sorely needed one.

“I don’t think a lot of the talk and stuff that happens with him is fair, honestly,” Gesicki 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, 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.”

Sunday’s comeback won’t suddenly launch the 2-5 Patriots back to contender status, nor does it mean Jones now should be viewed as New England’s obvious answer at QB. But it gave the 25-year-old something he hasn’t often enjoyed over the last two seasons: momentum.

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Jones and the rest of the Patriots will look to maintain it when they visit the AFC East-leading Miami Dolphins next Sunday.

“It’s just a crumb,” Jones said. “Just keep picking up those crumbs, and eventually you’ll have a whole loaf of bread. That’s my goal — continuing to work and continuing to be Mac.”

Featured image via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports Images