‘I have to play better’: Mac Jones takes responsibility after Patriots’ loss to Colts
“I can’t say what I want to say”: Bailey Zappe talks game-winning interception
MacJones was taken out of the game again, and this time Bill Belichick made it clear that it was a bench move.
It didn’t get the quarterback out of trouble. It wasn’t injury-related, Jones said he had “a little bruise” but was otherwise healthy.
It was the coach’s decision to change quarterbacks midway through the game, one last drive.
When asked why Bailey Zappe was the best option to close out the game instead of Jones, Belichick replied, “I just thought it was time for a change.”
After failing to complete three of the 10 games the team has played and New England’s record sitting at 2-8, one of the biggest questions surrounding the Patriots heading into the bye week is whether the move will be permanent should be.
Should the Mac Jones era be over after the bye week? Here are a few final thoughts.
Is it time to give up on Mac Jones?
Whether Jones remains the Patriots’ starting quarterback depends on how many excuses you want to give him.
He has thrown 10 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 10 games. He is completing a career-worst 64.8 percent of his passes and amassing a career-worst 6.1 yards per completion. His numbers are consistently worse than when he was a freshman.
He missed open receivers at times, he made poor decisions that reportedly infuriated people on the team, and he made throws, like the one at the end of his time on Sunday, that were nowhere near what they needed to be.
“It was a terrible throw. We practiced it and got it done in practice,” Jones said. “Not a good throw. I knew where I was supposed to go and I didn’t.”
The offensive line was leaky – Jones was sacked a total of five times on Sunday – the highest mark of the season. Jones has been under a lot of pressure most of the time this season and he hasn’t responded well to it.
Aside from Kendrick Bourne (out for the season) and rookie Demario Douglas, the Patriots’ receivers struggled to create enough separation to consistently lead. JuJu Smith-Schuster, who caught his first touchdown pass of the season last week, is the only Patriots receiver with a touchdown.
However, we have already been in the Mac Jones era for three years. He had a good start, but every year things got worse and worse. At some point you just are what you are. Jones has had every opportunity to show that he can develop the players around him and win games. He hasn’t demonstrated the ability to do this job in a long time.
Maybe he’s the kind of quarterback who can be good on a team that has more weapons and better assesses offensive talent. But as for this team and who is currently here? Jones doesn’t seem like the right man to lead them.
Zappe wasn’t much better.
It took Jones more than three quarters to throw his only interception of the day.
Zappe completed just three passes before throwing an interception on the final drive.
Overall, he was 3 for 7 on Sunday, as the interception went awry due to a false spike. He is completing 40 percent of his passes in limited action this season.
But that is the key word – limited Action. Zappe went 2-0 as a starter last season when Jones was sidelined with an injury. He completed 70 percent of his passes in four games and threw five touchdowns against three interceptions.
Granted, the starts were against the Lions and the Browns and he had a poor performance against the Bears before being shelved for the remainder of the season.
This year, Zappe was only asked to step in under the direst of circumstances, and he fared no better than Jones. But could he really be much worse than Jones at this point if given the opportunity to start? If the team is going to lose anyway, wouldn’t it make sense to find out?
The defense held up its end of the bargain.
The defense held Indianapolis to 10 points, 70 yards rushing and fewer than 200 yards passing.
And it wasn’t enough to win.
“It’s just tough, man,” tight end Hunter Henry said with a sigh. “It’s just not good enough in any way. We’re going into a bye here and we have to improve. We still have to do a lot better. It’s just not good enough in any way.”
The defense’s performance should have been enough to win.
Spreading the blame equally makes little sense when the offense can’t score more than two touchdowns against the Colts, who moved back to .500 with Sunday’s win.
Still, defensive end Deatrich Wise Jr. says there is no division between the Patriots’ offensive and defensive units.
“There is no division. As a defense, we have big exceptions ourselves,” Wise said. “Personally, I felt like the first and second half were a little different. If we had just stopped them in the first half they wouldn’t have even gotten those points, so in a way we feel that way.”
The running backs were a bright spot.
Rhamondre Stevenson seems to be breaking out of his crisis. For the second time in a row he surpassed the 80-yard mark. Ezekiel Elliott added 54 yards on 13 carries.
The Patriots had nearly 100 more yards on the ground than the Colts.
The defense had some bright spots. Davon Godchaux recorded eight tackles on the defensive line. Myles Bryant intercepted a pass from Gardner Minshew that Jahlani Tavai tipped off. Christian Barmore, Jabrill Peppers and Shaun Wade all found their way into the backfield where they made tackles for loss.
If you’re looking for an upside on the offensive side of the ball, running backs should count.
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