Mac Jones, Patriots flat-out embarrassed in 38-3 loss to Cowboys
Mac Jones turned the ball over three times, twice for touchdowns, as the New England Patriots got blown off the field at AT&T Stadium in a 38-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.
Jones went 12-of-21 for 150 yards with no touchdowns, two interceptions, and a lost fumble on the day, and was ultimately benched in favor of Bailey Zappe during the third quarter. His lost and his first interception both went back the other way for Dallas touchdowns, putting the Pats in an insurmountable halftime hole from which they would never recover.
Both teams started strong on their opening possessions before settling for field goals. The Patriots tightened up their defense in the red zone after the Cowboys drove 69 yards in five plays to set up first-and-goal from the 3-yard line, moving Dallas backward and forcing the field goal try.
The Patriots’ offense, meanwhile, got a rare big play when Jones escaped pocket pressure and found rookie receiver Demario Douglas for a 42-yard catch-and-run. But Jones couldn’t quite connect with Mike Gesicki in the end zone on third down, so they opted to kick the game-tying field goal to make it 3-3.
On the ensuing Cowboys possession, they took full advantage of the Patriots losing their outstanding rookie cornerback, Christian Gonzalez, who injured his shoulder making a tackle during the drive. On the very first play with Gonzalez getting his injury checked, Dak Prescott hit receiver CeeDee Lamb in the end zone against coverage from Myles Bryant. The TD opened up a 10-3 lead for the Cowboys late in the first quarter. Gonzalez was later ruled out.
The Patriots tried to push Jones forward on fourth-and-1 early in the second quarter, but the quarterback was stopped short. A quick defensive stop got the ball back to the Pats, but a bad punt return by Douglas, followed by a strip-sack on Jones by Cowboys edge rusher Dante Fowler, led to a Dallas defensive score by linebacker Leighton Vander-Esch.
Adding insult to injury, the Cowboys then faked the point after try as holder Bryan Anger threw it to defensive tackle Chauncey Golston for a wide-open two-point conversion. The Cowboys followed that up with a three-and-out on defense, then a 73-yard field goal drive to make it 21-3.
It only got worse from there for the Patriots. Driving down the field with a chance to get points before the end of the half, Jones instead threw back across his body and the ball ended up in the hands of the Cowboys’ Daron Bland, who took it the other way for an easy 54-yard pick-six, making it 28-3.
Unfortunately, the Patriots didn’t have another historic comeback in them. The Cowboys would add a field goal and a late touchdown in the second half to extend the blowout lead.
The Patriots are now 1-3 on the season. And while it’s still early and the Pats are far from mathematically eliminated as playoff contenders, the idea that they’d have a shot at that seems remote right now.
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. Check out all of Matt’s content here.