New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - NOVEMBER 28: Kendrick Bourne #84 of the New England Patriots runs after the catch for a third quarter touchdown against the Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium on November 28, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

The Patriots beat the top-seeded team in the AFC by 23 points, but even Bill Belichick admitted they weren’t perfect. It took the Titans beating themselves and a handful of clutch plays in order for the Patriots to pull away in this one, a 36-13 win that vaulted the Pats back into first place in the AFC East with a chance to claim the No. 1 seed in the conference.

Ultimately, the Titans withered in the fourth quarter before otherwise hanging around and giving the Pats a challenge. That’s especially the case up front. This was the first game in over a month that the Patriots didn’t dominate in the trenches on both sides of the ball. In fact, you could argue the Titans dominated this one.

Obviously, that wasn’t enough for Tennessee. The Patriots were able to overcome some struggles in the trenches and come up with some explosive plays, on both offense and defense. Offensively, the pass-catchers were able to lift up a meh game for quarterback Mac Jones, who had a better-than-it-really-looked 123.2 passer rating. Jones avoided a major mistake and threw for a season-high 310 yards, so he qualifies as “neutral” in this game, neither “Up” nor “Down.”

So who the hell was up and down, then?! Well, keep reading and you’ll find out…

Next Ups & Downs will actually come next Tuesday, since the Patriots play the Buffalo Bills on “Monday Night Football.” But that is, obviously, another massive game for the Pats, and AFC East supremacy (perhaps conference supremacy) will be on the line. Stay tuned.

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Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at mdolloff@985thesportshub.com.