The Patriots traveled all the way to Frankfurt, Germany, just to suffer a 10-6 loss to the Indianapolis Colts and watch their starting quarterback get benched — possibly for good.

Mac Jones was pulled after throwing an interception at the goal line on New England’s penultimate drive on Sunday. A touchdown would’ve given the Patriots a lead in the final minutes, but Jones instead underthrew a wide-open Mike Gesicki.

After New England’s defense stopped the Colts on the next possession, Bill Belichick turned to sophomore quarterback Bailey Zappe for the final drive. After picking up a pair of first downs, Zappe threw a game-ending interception to safety Rodney Thomas.

Jones completed 15 of 20 passes for 170 yards to go along with the interception. He also ran three times for 25 yards and was sacked five times. He didn’t play well at all.

Story continues below advertisement

New England’s offense was led by Rhamondre Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliott, who combined for 142 rushing yards, and rookie receiver Demario Douglas, who caught six balls for 84 yards.

    What do you think?  Leave a comment.

On the other side, Gardner Minshew completed 18 of 28 passes for 194 yards to go along with one pick. Michael Pittman Jr. was his top receiver, catching eight balls for 84 yards.

Jonathan Taylor ran 23 times for 69 yards and a score.

Story continues below advertisement

Overall, the Patriots racked up 340 total yards compared to 264 for the Colts. New England also had more first downs (21 to 14) and were better on third downs.

Bill Belichick’s team now is 2-8 through 10 games. The Patriots will enjoy their bye next week, after which there could be a new quarterback under center.

Here are three studs and three duds from a potential franchise-altering loss in Germany:

Running backs
Elliott and Stevenson both were excellent in this game. Stevenson, who’s been on a heater, ran with a sense of purpose Sunday, racking up 20 carries for 88 yards while adding 2 catches for 9 yards. Elliott also ran hard, finishing with 13 carries for 54 yards to go along with 2 catches for 34 yards. New England’s offense would’ve done nothing against the Colts if not for the running game.

Story continues below advertisement

Demario Douglas
The rookie caught six balls for a career-high 84 yards and once again was the only remotely dangerous weapon in New England’s passing game. He gets better every week.

LB Jahlani Tavai
He deserves far more credit than he gets. Tavai has been rock-solid all season, and finished Sunday’s game with seven tackles and one pass breakup, which resulted in a Myles Bryant interception. The veteran linebacker now has played a role in three turnovers over the last five weeks: an interception against the Las Vegas Raiders, a forced fumble against the Washington Commanders and Sunday’s pick-assist. He’s not great, but he’s a legitimately good football player.

Honorable mentions: Christian Barmore, front seven, Davon Godchaux, Mack Wilson, Kyle Duger, Myles Bryant, Shaun Wade

No Matchup Found

Click here to enter a different Sportradar ID.

Story continues below advertisement

QB Mac Jones
Yes, his pass protection was poor, and yes, he has nothing to throw to. But Jones flat-out stunk in this game. His red-zone interception was indefensible, and it was just one of multiple head-scratching decisions made in the red zone. He once again played a frantic, unsettled brand of football — despite going against a middling defense. If Jones doesn’t start another game for the Patriots, it will be totally justified.

Bill O’Brien probably spoke for all Patriots fans in this video:

Offensive line
The O-line gave up five sacks in the first half, including four on third downs. Jones deserves some blame for those sacks, but the reality is New England’s pass protection was terrible. Guards Cole Strange and Sidy Sow especially struggled in the first two quarters, but the entire unit had issues. At least the run-blocking was effective.

Story continues below advertisement

Special teams
You can bank on this unit submitting multiple bad plays each game, and this week was no different. In the first half, the Patriots sold out for a punt block — while not fielding a returner — but Indy got off the kick and it traveled 69 yards. The Patriots also got two touchbacks from rookie punter Bryce Baringer and a missed 35-yard field goal from rookie kicker Chad Ryland. Just for good measure, they gave up a 41-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter. This might be the worst special teams group in the NFL.

Honorable mentions: Hunter Henry, Chad Ryland, Bryce Baringer, JuJu Smith-Schuster

Featured image via Nathan Ray Seebeck/USA TODAY Sports Images