New England Patriots

New England Patriots

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 15: Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots laughs while Maxx Crosby #98 of the Las Vegas Raiders reacts after flag during the first half at Allegiant Stadium on October 15, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

The New England Patriots sank to 1-5 on the season on Sunday, as they fell to the Las Vegas Raiders by a 21-17 final at Allegiant Stadium. Mac Jones and the Patriots offense had a chance to drive down the field for a potential game-winning field goal in the final two minutes of regulation, but instead, Jones took a safety to seal the Patriots’ third straight loss.

This one looked bad for the Patriots from the jump. The Raiders scored three points on their opening drive while chewing more than eight minutes off the clock in the first quarter. New England was fortunate to keep them to three, because a leveraging penalty on defensive tackle Sam Roberts on a field goal try gave Vegas a first down, and earlier in the drive, a drop by DeAndre Carter in the open field stopped what would’ve been a first down and potentially a touchdown. But the Raiders jumped out to a 3-0 lead, nonetheless.

The Patriots offense, meanwhile, had -2 total yards in the first quarter. That is not a typo. Negative-2 yards. And to start the second quarter, the Raiders offense continued to move the ball. To cap an eight-play, 59-yard drive, Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo hit former Patriots receiver Jakobi Meyers for a 12-yard touchdown, making it 10-0.

That was when the Pats finally showed some signs of life, but it still wasn’t perfect. Jones hit Ezekiel Elliot for a short pass that the veteran running back almost turned into a 74-yard touchdown catch-and-run, but a holding penalty on tight end Hunter Henry nullified the score. The Patriots still got a first down out of it, and then a 36-yard catch-and-run by Kendrick Bourne got them in range.

The Raiders stopped them from there, but rookie kicker Chad Ryland was still able to make one from 43 yards to make it 10-3. It marked the first points scored for the Patriots since a Week 4 defeat at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys.

  • Late in the second quarter, Jones and the Patriots offense were threatening. But Jones once again did what he’s done entirely too much of in 2023, which is make careless plays with the football. Jones tried to make a deep throw to Henry, but the ball was way overthrown and landed easily in the hands of Raiders safety Trevon Moehrig for an interception.

    The Raiders were able to capitalize on the Jones interception, grabbing three more points just before halftime to extend their lead to 13-3. Garoppolo suffered a back injury during the final drive of the half, exiting the game and giving way to his backup, another former Patriot, Brian Hoyer.

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 15: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots looks on prior to a game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on October 15, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – OCTOBER 15: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots looks on prior to a game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on October 15, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

    And in what felt like a sudden turn, the Patriots got themselves back in the game after getting the ball to start the third quarter. They finished off a 75-yard drive with their first touchdown of any kind since Week 3, as Elliott powered his way in off the direct snap.

    Malik Cunningham came in at quarterback on the play, before splitting out wide, opening up the TD opportunity for Elliott. The Patriots cut the deficit to 13-10 at the time.

  • Despite the Elliott touchdown, Hoyer didn’t take long to hit the Patriots for a big play downfield. Facing a third-and-4, Hoyer went over the top to Tre Tucker and connected for a 48-yard gain. That led to another Raiders field goal to make it 16-10.

    The Patriots could not answer. Jones took a four-yard sack on first down on the ensuing New England drive, leading to a three-and-out. Hoyer and the Raiders’ new-look passing game was not done making big plays, as Hoyer hit Davante Adams for 21 yards on the first play of the next possession. Josh Jacobs followed that up with an 18-yard run, and tight end Austin Hooper later converted a third-and-5 with a 12-yard catch-and-run.

    Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson drilled his fourth field goal of the game to finish the drive, extending Vegas’ lead to 19-10.

  • The Patriots were able to get to the end zone one more time late in the fourth quarter, as Rhamondre Stevenson capped a 17-play, 75-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run. The Pats bled 9:30 off the clock and got a stop on the next Raiders drive, but their final drive was disastrous, including a drop by DeVante Parker, two penalties, and the game-icing safety.

    At 1-5, the Patriots sank further into last place in the AFC East, and are tied with the Denver Broncos for the worst record in the AFC. Only the Carolina Panthers (0-6) have a worse record in the NFL.

    And it doesn’t get any easier for the Pats. They host Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills in week 7, then head to Miami in Week 8 to take on the first-place Dolphins.

    Click here for complete New England Patriots coverage at 985TheSportsHub.com.

    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.

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