The New England Patriots are 0-2 on the 2023 season after a Week 2 loss to the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium. Here are seven final thoughts on the game and what they mean for the team going forward, as we turn the page on the loss…
A Tale of 2 Quarterbacks
As one would expect, one of the biggest stories coming out of the game was the quarterback comparison between the Patriots’ Mac Jones and the Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa.
Jones and Tagovailoa were quite similar in one regard, but for different reasons: quick decisions. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Tagovailoa averaged the lowest time to throw (2.08 seconds) in the NFL in Week 2. Jones was third at 2.38 seconds.
In the case of Jones and the Patriots, quick throws have often been made out of necessity, due to substandard pass protection in front of him. But it’s an objectively good thing that Jones is getting rid of the ball quickly, regardless of how much time his line is giving him.
Tagovailoa, meanwhile, had much cleaner protection across the line and, of course, faster and more dynamic weapons to target. But his decisiveness also helped offset the Patriots’ high-powered pass-rush, and at times he caught rushers over-pursuing him to hit open guys. He deserves credit for taking what the Patriots defense gave him and putting drives together without forcing the ball downfield too much.
Jones was good under pressure, an encouraging sign two games into his third season. He had the league’s seventh-best passer rating in Week 2 when under pressure, per Pro Football Focus (107.6). He needs to clean up the turnovers (his third-quarter interception against Miami was his worst pass attempt of the season so far), but he’s not at the top of the Patriots’ list of problems so far.
If you’re wondering what better receivers and blocking could do for Jones, just look at the other guy.