Jones shared with reporters that it’s a play the Patriots had worked on in the past. “It’s kind of one of those plays where we’re moving the ball in our two minutes offense and I have good comfortability (sic) with that. We’ve worked on that play through the offseason,” he said. “50/50 balls – [Agholor] is one of those guys I put in the ‘throw it up to him’ category and he’s going to make the play. So if it’s one-on-one, I’ll give him the shot.”
Head coach Bill Belichick was also complimentary of the play after the game. “Nelly did a great job going up there and taking the ball. Good job by Mac giving the receiver a chance to go get it, and Nelly came down with it. It was a huge play for us,” he said. Asked if the play was a representation of the growth Belichick had mentioned seeing in Agholor this summer, the coach replied, “He’s been good all year. I don’t think you want to judge guys on just one play. He’s been one of our most consistent guys all year.”
Still, both Belichick and Agholor mentioned the chance for growth from that play. For Belichick, it’s about not being able to capitalize on a potential double score, given the Patriots got the ball back to start the second half.
“We had a chance for a swing there at the half but we weren’t able to get the field goal in the third quarter,” Belichick said. The Patriots moved the ball 41 yards in 11 plays to start the third quarter, but were stalled on a 3rd & 8, leading to a missed 52-yard field goal from Nick Folk. “It was the right idea we just have to do a little better job there finishing the drive in the third quarter.”
As for Agholor, he’s looking at the bigger picture. “I thought we did well, but we’ve got more plays to be made,” he said. “There’s something that if we watch, that we could have made – we’re only going to get better. So I hope that this game is a stepping stone towards where we’re headed. I don’t want this to be ‘hey, this is our identity.’ I want it to be, ‘OK, we see some good stuff now lets get better from here.'”
Agholor certainly set himself up with a strong floor to improve on this early in the season. He caught six passes in this game for 110 yards and the touchdown. It was the first 100-yard performance from a Patriots pass catcher in over a year – Jakobi Meyers was the last Patriot to cross the century mark in receiving yards, doing so in Week 15 of the 2020 season, when he had 111 receiving yards on seven catches against the Miami Dolphins.
Further improvement will be key for the Patriots’ offense this week. They welcome the Baltimore Ravens to Gillette Stadium next week for the home opener. Baltimore put up 38 points against the Dolphins in Week 2, and quarterback Lamar Jackson appears to be an early MVP candidate. The offense will need to do its part to keep up in that game.