Mac Jones was outrageously hard on himself over Patriots’ loss to Eagles
Can we get a wellness check on Mac Jones?
The New England Patriots starting quarterback looked and sounded utterly despondent after the team’s season-opening 25-20 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, in which he was 35-of-54 (64.8 percent) for 316 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. Not that Jones should be happy about the loss, or even how he played. But his postgame comments were extremely self-critical. To the point that it was hilariously excessive.
“Definitely let the team down tonight,” Jones said. “Couldn’t score early, and we just fell behind, because of me, and I put it on myself.”
The game certainly didn’t start the way Jones, or anyone rooting for the Patriots in any capacity, hoped to see. After a promising six-play stretch to start the Patriots’ first possession of the season, the seventh play ended in disaster. Jones sailed one a little high toward an open Kendrick Bourne, and the ball clanged off his hands right to Darius Slay, who returned it 70 yards for a pick-six. Bourne also coulda woulda shoulda caught the pass when he was able to get his hands on it, but that was a throw Jones would like to have back.
The Patriots were never able to fully recover from the pick-six. But Jones did help get the Patriots back in the game and make it a competitive affair after a nightmare start, shepherding two touchdown drives late in the second quarter.It sounds like the fourth quarter, however, is what’s going to haunt him. Given the ball twice in the final four minutes of the game, down just five points at 25-20, Jones and the Patriots offense came up empty both times. On those two drives, Jones was 2-of-6 for 26 yards, and also took two sacks.
“Not good by me,” Jones said. “They gave me the ball twice to win the game, and I couldn’t do it. I just got to go back and watch and see what I can do better, but as a quarterback, that hurts; right? You get a chance to win the game twice and can’t do it. You just got to learn from it. You only get so many opportunities in the NFL to do that, and I felt like I definitely let the team down.”
Those last two drives weren’t good enough by any measure for a quarterback looking to lead his team from behind to a win. But it’s also hard to blame Jones for the Patriots’ final fourth-down miss of the game, in which rookie wide receiver Kayshon Boutte caught a well-placed ball by Jones and would have had the first down, but couldn’t get his second foot down in bounds.
That’s not to say Jones should throw Boutte under the bus for that. Obviously not. But Jones took the self-blame to the absolute maximum, here.
“Just have to watch it and see what I can do better, but everybody around me played a great game, and [I] just have to be better,” Jones said.
EVERYONE else played well except Jones?! Clearly, anyone who watched the game knows it was about more than just Jones not playing well. Receivers dropping the ball. A depleted offensive line struggling to hold up. Penalties. It was not a perfect game for the Patriots, by any means.
It was, however, a competitive effort by them, in the end. But as Bill Belichick himself noted after the game: “We didn’t play good enough to win. Did enough things to make it competitive, but not enough to win. Got to coach better. Got to play better.”
Jones could definitely play better than he did on Sunday. He needs to be more accurate with a clean pocket than he was on the pick-six. There were at least a couple of plays where he didn’t see a wide open receiver. But overall, not a bad game. A pretty good one, when you factor in the, you know, touchdown passes. You just wouldn’t know from his postgame press conference.
Good to see the quarterback take accountability, but the hope is that the negative feelings don’t linger. Jones needs to have a short memory. Someone needs to hug him and tell him everything’s going to be OK. Because if he’s like that after every loss, it’s going to be an emotionally heavy season for the Patriots.
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 @realmattdolloff. Check out all of Matt’s content here.