Felger & Mazz

Felger & Mazz

In Week 7, when diagnosing Mac Jones’ best and worst, let’s be honest: Jones’ best far outweighed the worst.

And by a wide margin.

Nonetheless, there is always enough of each to revisit for everyone, though it wouldn’t be a stretch to call Sunday’s performance against the Buffalo Bills arguably the best of Mac Jones’ career. In the end, Jones finished 25-of-30 for 272 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. He was sacked only once. Jones’ quarterback rating of 126.7 was the third-highest of his career. Still, factoring in the opponent and circumstances, it’s reasonable to say he has never had a more meaningful performance as a member of the Patriots.

Jones had more than a handful of good throws in this game, completing a succession of key passes in the final seconds of the game to elevate the Patriots to a 29-25 victory at Gillette Stadium. The worst throws were few and (very) far in between, and there was really only one that made Pats fans hold their breath when the game was in the balance.

In chronological order, here are just some of Jones’ best and worst throws of the day:

(Note: we’ve slowed down the all-22 video so as to provide multiple perspectives.)

  • Worst

    Was it the absolute worst thing you’ve ever seen? No … unless you put great emphasis on aesthetics. Leading 13-3, the Patriots began their first possession of the second quarter on their own 25-yard line with 14:49 remaining in the half. The play call appeared to be a wide receiver screen to Kendrick Bourne, but the Pats either had a bad miscommunication … or Jones tried to hold onto the ball … or whatever. But the video pretty much tells the story.

    Was it an overly damaging play? No. Not at all. The Pats went three-and-out and had to punt, but the defense held and immediately got the ball back.

  • Best

    Fourth quarter, Patriots leading 16-10, New England begins possession on its own 34 -yard line with 13:43 to play. Ass offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien did for much of the day, he had Jones throwing on first down, in this case to tight end Pharaoh Brown. Jones drops in a pretty 26-yard completion that sends the Pats off on a nine-play, 66-yard touchdown drive that increases the lead to 22-10 halfway through the final quarter and seemingly puts them in position for a relatively comfortable,  final seven-and-a-half minutes of work.

    Of course, the final minutes were anything but comfortable.

  • Best

    One thing most everyone should like about Jones’ performance on Sunday? The resiliency. When he made mistakes, he overcame them and persevered. Still leading 16-10, the Patriots faced a first-and-10 at the Buffalo 18-yard line with just over nine minutes to play when they were called for an inexcusable delay of game penalty. (This was on Jones.) Earlier in the season, when the Patriots got behind the sticks, they were pretty much toast. But on first-and-15, from a pocket that held up, Jones stepped up and fired this strike to Demario Douglas for a 19-yard gain.

    Was it one of the NFL plays of the week? No. But it was a strong, precise and confident throw into courage that winning NFL quarterbacks have to make. And he did.

    Pay particular attention to the view from the end zone camera – it’s a beauty.

  • Worst

    Despite leading 22-10 midway through the fourth quarter, the Patriots nonetheless needed some heroics to win the game? Why? Because, for a brief time, at least, they reverted. After Buffalo scored to make it 22-17 the Pats opened their penultimate possession with a first-and-10 from their own 25. Jones completed a 22-yard pass to Pharaoh Brown, but Vederian Lowe committed an ineligible receiver downfield penalty that negated the play.

    On the next snap, on what was arguably his worst throw of the day, Jones nearly threw an interception on this pass to Hunter Hunter. On the next play, Bourne caught the ball for a nine-yard gain … and fumbled the ball over to the Bills. The final play wasn’t a Jones mistake. The pass to Henry was.

  • Best

    One thing about football … though we could say the same for all sports and, frankly, life in general. The biggest moments can forge the most lasting impression. For example: were it not for one single play or throw, much of what Jones’ did on Sunday might have been forgotten or erased. This was one of those throws. With the Patriots needing a field goal to tie and a touchdown to win, Jones faced a third-and-8 at the Buffalo 39-yard line with 54 seconds to play. The Patriots had lost three yards on the previous play and did not call a timeout in the aftermath.

    Jones got pressure on this play, but hung in the pocket and perfectly led Hunter Henry for a 14-yard gain. Five plays later, he tossed an easy touchdown score to Mike Gesicki to turn a 25-22 deficit into a 29-25 victory that gave him the first true signature victory of his career.

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