FOXBOROUGH – After undergoing a “full audit” of himself during his team’s bye week, New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones felt like he improved in some areas but left some room to be desired in other areas in Sunday’s 10-3 win over the New York Jets.
Jones was efficient in the game, completing 23-of-27 passes for 246 yards and for the second time this season, he didn’t throw an interception. But as the turnover-free game showed progress, he quarterbacked a Patriots offense that struggled to get points on the board for a third straight game, failing to score a touchdown as a unit on Sunday.
Jones lamented on both the positives and negatives of his and the Patriots’ offensive performance following Sunday’s win.
Following a report from the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport on Sunday said that Jones spent time during the bye week focusing on the timing and syncing of the offense, the quarterback felt that was improved in the Week 11 win against the Jets.
“I think a little bit. Definitely improved on that. Talked about it,” Jones said. “Any offense, timing, spacing, all that stuff, drop depth, everything. Definitely going to look at the film and see how it looks, but for the most part I felt like it was good, and like I said, tough conditions to play in, 20-, 25-mile-per-hour winds.”
“So proud of the guys for catching the ball and doing all that stuff. The linemen did good. I think some of those sacks are coverage sacks, and it kind of is what it is. That’s football, right? You’re in long yardage, and they have good players on the defensive side of the football, and that team specifically with the defensive line. Did some good things. Definitely want to get through the fringe and score more touchdowns.”
But as Jones noted, with the good game just as much, if not more, of the bad with the Patriots offense on Sunday.
New England got the ball into New York territory five times but finished with just three points. Nick Folk missed a pair of makeable field goals though the Patriots ran into similar problems each time they got down into Jets territory. They would either commit a penalty, allow a sack, or have a run go for small or negative yardage on first and second down, setting them back.
Mac Jones gets 0 blame this game. pic.twitter.com/Z7bATQsU9M
— Babz (@BabzOnTheMic) November 20, 2022
Jones wasn’t shy in sharing his feelings about the Patriots’ struggles to score touchdowns.
“I think it’s super disappointing,” Jones said. “We put too much work in to get that result. I think it starts with us, the execution part, and then obviously trying to figure something out here, just make it work and get through that, like you said, 35-, 40-yard line and just see if we can get through that and see what happens. Every time you’re moving the ball towards the goal line, it’s good. When you’re going backwards for whatever reason, it’s not.
“We want to be able to create those explosive plays, like the Damien [Harris] long run, for example, and then finish off those drives. We need to do that in the red zone. We need to do it in the open field. But it comes down to execution and watching the film and seeing what we can do better.”
Jones was sacked six times on Sunday, tying a career-high, which also came against the Jets three weeks ago. in addition, New England’s offense was called for four penalties on Sunday, putting them at a deficit in moments where they shouldn’t have had to be working in a negative spot.
While Jones acknowledged the reality of the negatives from New England’s offensive performance, he also acknowledge the reality of the positives from the unit’s performance.
“We won the game. I think obviously we moved the ball pretty well today, so that’s a fact,” Jones said. “We’ve got to be able to move it through that fringe area better, and we’ve got to watch the tape and see what we can do better, but I thought we stayed together as a unit, didn’t lose our cool and worked together to try to win.”
After Sunday’s game though, Jones didn’t want to say that he thinks the Patriots’ offense is turning a corner.
“I think it’s a game-by-game thing,” Jones said. “I think today was us against the Jets and really us against ourselves. We want to do better. We want to obviously score more than three points. It’s not good enough. Got to look at it and see what we can do better.
“It’s kind of the same story here. We’ll figure it out, but it takes time and execution. That’s what it comes down to. Putting points on the board and not turning the ball over is important, which we didn’t do today, so that’s how we win games 95 percent if we don’t turn it over.”
PUNT RETURN TD WITH 5 SECONDS LEFT! @Patriots
— NFL (@NFL) November 20, 2022
But like many in the Patriots’ locker room, Jones is happy with the win, which came after Marcus Jones returned a punt 84 yards for a touchdown with five seconds left to win the ballgame and improve their record to 6-4.
“Obviously Marcus’ return was the icing right there on the cake, but that’s a good football team in a tough environment,” Jones said. “They played really well, and got to give credit to them, and happy that we won, and that’s a great divisional win. It’s a good start there to this little run we’re going to make here. Got to just watch the film and see where we can get better.”