Looking at New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones’ performance against the Jets this past Sunday, it’s safe to say that wasn’t his best performance.
However, his outing last season against Indianapolis was far more forgettable, which is something he’ll definitely need to avoid this weekend.
In last December’s loss to the Colts, Jones ended up playing a significant factor in a game where on the stat sheet, all signs should have pointed to a Patriots’ win.
Then-quarterback Carson Wentz completed just five passes for the entire game for a paltry 57-yards along with one touchdown and an interception, while Jones completed 26-of-45 for 299-yards along with two touchdown passes. However, he had two key interceptions that night which, paired with Indianapolis’ ground game putting up 226-yards and a huge special teams turnover, helped the Colts come away with a 27-17 win over New England.
That night was a disaster all around, which included safety Kyle Dugger losing his cool against Colts receiver Michael Pittman and he ended up getting ejected early in the third quarter. That situation was frustrating because it was Pittman who antagonized the altercation, but Dugger fell for it and paid the price.
The Patriots were already in a tough spot to begin with personnel-wise, as Dugger’s disqualification also followed the loss of Ja’Whaun Bentley, who had gone down with an injury earlier in the game.
But injuries and Dugger’s loss only told part of the story. Turnovers and miscues ended up being the theme of the night, with their problems starting on their second offensive series.
Coming off of the Colts’ first touchdown which put them up 7-0, the Patriots had a key special teams breakdown. After moving the chains, the Colts caused the drive to stall and forced New England to punt. However, Indianapolis came up with a huge play by blocking Jake Bailey’s kick, with Colts linebacker E.J. Speed scooping it up and taking it back for the touchdown.
That gave Indianapolis a 14-0 first-quarter lead, which ultimately ended up being a hole they couldn’t quite dig out of.
They added another field goal two drives later, and with 4:31 left to go in the half, Jones and the offense had a chance to get points, which might have given them some momentum given that they had won the toss and were getting the ball back to start the third quarter.
Instead, disaster struck.
They initially managed to drive from their own 25-yard line down to Indianapolis’ 13-yard line, with Jones connecting on passes of 15, 13, and 25 yards to Kendrick Bourne, Stevenson, and Hunter Henry respectively. But after Jakobi Meyers picked up 9-yards, Jonnu Smith was called for a false start on a 2nd-and-1 from the Colts’ 13.
That killed their momentum, moving them back and taking them out of a relatively easy opportunity to move the chains and instead changed how they approached the rest of the series.
Mac Jones had a rough night during last year’s meeting against the Colts. (PHOTO: Grace Hollars/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK)
Two plays later, Jones attempted to connect with Henry on a 3rd-and-3 from the Indianapolis 15 but was picked off at the Colts’ 6yd line by Darius Leonard on a throw where Jones clearly didn’t see him and was late getting the ball out to Henry.
It was a huge missed opportunity, with the Patriots unable to cut into the 17-0 lead Indianapolis took into the locker room at the half.
It got worse at the start of the third quarter. On just their third offensive play on a 3rd-and-1 from their own 34, Jones was again late throwing Brandon Bolden, who was coming out of his break on a throw to the sideline. Bobby Okereke jumped the route and picked it off, giving the Colts the football with great field position after Okereke ran it back to the Patriots’ 20yd line.
That led to a 41-yard field goal after the Patriots’ defense managed to keep them out of the end zone, but it was yet another turnover that dug the hole that much deeper and ended up being just too much to overcome.
Jones did manage to throw two second half touchdowns, which at one point saw them pull within a field goal at 20-17 with 2:21 left to play. Unfortunately, a 67-yard run by Jonathan Taylor on the Colts’ second play on the ensuing drive slammed the door on any hope they had at a come-from-behind win, and the result was a 27-17 loss.
It capped off a frustrating night, with Jones taking responsibility for a loss that he knew he had played a part in as he spoke to reporters.
“You can’t win until you stop from losing,” said Jones after the game. “I mean, I handed the ball to the guy. I did that twice, and that hurt us. I thought the defense played pretty well, and I just shot them in the foot myself by giving them the short field and giving them the ball. That’s just my fault, and I’ll learn from it, but I’m not going to be gun-shy or anything. (I’ll) just learn from it and move on.”
Given his journey so far this season, this would be a nice game to see both Jones and the Patriots get a little redemption this time around heading into the bye week.
Posted Under: 2022 Patriots Season
Tags: Indianapolis Colts Mac Jones New England Patriots