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Ten Patriots Thoughts After Their Loss vs Eagles

Ian Logue
Ian Logue on Twitter
2 weeks ago at 5:00 am ET
Posted Under: Patriots News

Ten Patriots Thoughts After Their Loss vs EaglesEric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Some quick thoughts coming off of Sunday’s loss to Philadelphia:

1) After turning the football over to start the game for a pick-six and then playing a role in their second turnover, Mac Jones ultimately made some plays and got the New England Patriots back in the game Sunday against the Eagles.

The only issue is that he again couldn’t finish the job, and it’s a key reason why the Patriots will head into next weekend’s match-up against Miami frustrated by a lot of “what if” scenarios as they begin the season 0-1.

At one point after starting out 5-of-11 for 24 yards and his interception, Jones closed out the first half connecting on 12-of-13 for 118-yards with two touchdowns.  The third-year quarterback was 12-of-21 (57.1%) for 139 yards and a touchdown during the fourth quarter, but was just 3-of-8 over the club’s final two possessions for 28-yards when it counted most.

The latter will likely be what’s discussed this week, along with the early turnovers that put them in the hole to start with.

As someone who has been a staunch supporter (and I still believe we haven’t necessarily seen the best of Jones just yet), it doesn’t change the fact that what happened on Sunday won’t quiet his critics.  Nor will it give anyone on the fence – coaches potentially included – a reason to believe he’s the long-term answer this team needs.

With Jones now in his third season, the days of moral victories are running out, and as has been mentioned here, he needs to start converting some of these into victories.  Because years from now, when people look back at the schedule, the context only matters to a point.  As a third-year player, the wins and losses will now be what he’s most remembered for.

It’s also why he’ll likely find the pressure building if more of these games continue to end up with similar outcomes.

2) Christian Gonzalez played pretty well in his first NFL outing, playing fairly solid in coverage while also making a couple of big plays, including a nice job on a corner blitz for a sack, along with a pass break-up late that helped set up a potential comeback by the offense.

For a secondary that was matching up against the defending NFC Champs and was without Jack Jones, Gonzalez ended up with an impressive showing.  The Dolphins will likely be just as challenging but the rookie showed that he can certainly hold his own as the club’s top corner.

3) Keion White was fantastic and definitely didn’t look like a rookie on Sunday.  He helped bring pressure on several occasions against Jalen Hurts and more importantly, he had the speed to help make sure Hurts didn’t become a bigger problem making plays with his legs than he ended up finishing with.

White, so far, is looking like a steal for New England and for a defense that already had some playmakers, White seems to have really provided a piece that will be valuable for them in 2023.

4) Newcomer Ezekiel Elliott played well on Sunday.  Despite his fumble, which wasn’t completely his fault given how quick he had to react coming off the pass from Mac Jones, he overall played really well.

One thing that stood out was a conversion he had in the third quarter when it was clear the Eagles weren’t completely sure what he was going to do, whether it was a pass out of the backfield or whether he’d carry the football (he ultimately picked up 3 yards on a run) on a 3rd-and-1.

That’s the type of danger Elliott brings to the table and what makes him such a great compliment to Rhamondre Stevenson.  He ended up being a key part of the offense on Sunday, even though it didn’t end with a “W” in the win column.

Kendrick Bourne
Bourne was terrific on Sunday. (PHOTO: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports)

5) Kendrick Bourne ended up being a pleasant surprise on Sunday, with the veteran coming up with some solid grabs in big moments despite Sunday’s loss.

Bourne hauled in two touchdowns on Sunday, both of which came on throws from Mac Jones where the quarterback went up and over the top near the back of the end zone after Bourne beat his defenders, putting the ball up where only he could get it.

The veteran ultimately hauled in 6 receptions for 64 yards along with his two touchdowns, and was a bright spot for an offense that was without DeVante Parker.  If Sunday is the start of things to come, Bourne should potentially find himself with a productive season ahead of him.

6) Hunter Henry was also terrific, hauling in 5 passes for 56 yards along with a touchdown but it will be a fourth down grab to extend the drive which will be the one people will be talking about in the coming days.

The play happened early in the third quarter as the Patriots faced a 4th-and-8 at the Eagles 36-yard line.

As the Patriots opted to try and keep the drive alive, Henry reached out with one hand on a ball that was thrown well off target and snagged it at the Eagles’ 24-yard line to move the chains, which put New England closer to a chance at points trailing 22-14.

While the drive eventually stalled and Bill Belichick passed at an opportunity at a field goal attempt with over 9 minutes left to go that would have cut the lead to five, it doesn’t make Henry’s performance any less impressive.

Rhamondre Stevenson
Stevenson was solid again Sunday. (PHOTO:Kris Craig / USA TODAY NETWORK

7) Rhamondre Stevenson got stronger as Sunday’s game progressed and he made some great plays in this one that helped the Patriots mount their failed comeback bid, including a terrific catch and run that went for 32-yards late in the fourth quarter that helped set up New England’s final touchdown of the day.

Overall, he finished 6-of-6 catching the football for 64-yards, along with 12 carries for 25-yards behind an offensive line that was inconsistent opening up holes in the ground game.

But Stevenson was again one of the more valuable pieces for the team on offense, and appears ready for a big role in 2023.

8) Bryce Baringer was outstanding punting the football on Sunday, dropping three of his five punts inside the 20-yard line along with one touchback.

He flipped the field on multiple occasions which got the Patriots out of trouble while also pinning the Eagles back deep in their own territory.  He was one of the bright spots for the team on Sunday and was terrific in his first NFL start.

9) Kayshon Boutte will draw some criticism, and rightfully so.  The rookie played relatively well but finished 0-of-4 on the afternoon, with two of his targets ending up as non-completions primarily due to his inability to get his feet down in bounds.

One of those plays came with what essentially had the game on the line in the waning moments, with Boutte instead getting one foot down and then striding out with his other, which ended New England’s comeback bid.

As a rookie, it will likely be a learning process, so it’s hard to get upset at him over it.  Instead, the fact he made some would-be plays against some pretty good competition is a positive they’ll be able to take away from this one.

As a result, the former LSU wideout appears to be a terrific compliment to this group, and should be fun to watch as the season goes on if he can learn from it and start putting some good moments together.

10) The same can be said for Demario Douglas, who ended up with four receptions for 40-yards, including a big grab for 23-yards that helped set up New Enlgand’s first touchdown drive, along with another one that went for 16-yards that played a role in their final touchdown of the afternoon.

Both Douglas and Boutte more than did their part against Philadelphia and were a nice surprise for a team that hasn’t had a receiving corps as talented down the depth chart in recent seasons.

If both can continue to grow as players, fans should be excited for what the future may hold for each of them in the coming months.

The Patriots will next take on the Miami Dolphins next Sunday night at Gillette Stadium.

Posted Under: Patriots News

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