New England Patriots

New England Patriots

The New England Patriots are 1-5 after a loss to the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday. It was a closer, more winnable game, but still not enough to get New England back in the win column. Here are 11 players we graded “UP” or “DOWN” based on their performance in the game…

DOWN: QB Mac Jones

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)

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)

Jones was slightly better than he was in Weeks 4-5, technically speaking. But he still hurt the team by making careless decisions with the football, most notably a second-quarter interception that killed a potential scoring drive. Jones also should have been intercepted on a late-fourth-quarter drive, a gotta-have-it situation. And of course, there was the safety on the Patriots’ final chance.

The quarterback ended up 24-of-33 passing for 200 yards, no touchdowns, and the interception, adding up to a passer rating of just 75.3. That may be a relative improvement over the previous two weeks, but still not enough to win, and not nearly good enough in the key moments of the game.

“Definitely frustrating, but I just have to watch it all and learn and watch it with truthful eyes, that’s all you can do,” Jones said after the game. “Just wasn’t clean enough, across the board. There’s penatlies and all sorts of things we need to clean up. It’s hard to win like that, and I’m definitely frustrated for sure.”

Jones actually got a few solid performances out of his weapons in the game, but still had rough protection in front of him and ultimately made a few too many negative plays himself. It was a winnable game at the end and he came up short.

  • UP: WR Kendrick Bourne

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 15: Kendrick Bourne #84 of the New England Patriots runs after a catch during the second quarter at Allegiant Stadium on October 15, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – OCTOBER 15: Kendrick Bourne #84 of the New England Patriots runs after a catch during the second quarter at Allegiant Stadium on October 15, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

    For the second straight game, no real complaints about Bourne, who certainly wasn’t among the reasons they lost. Bourne caught 10 of 11 targets for 89 yards. He’s been one of the few Patriots to keep showing up on Sunday, despite their dire situation.

  • DOWN: WR DeVante Parker

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 15: DeVante Parker #1 of the New England Patriots drops a pass while defended by Marcus Epps #1 of the Las Vegas Raiders during the fourth quarter at Allegiant Stadium on October 15, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – OCTOBER 15: DeVante Parker #1 of the New England Patriots drops a pass while defended by Marcus Epps #1 of the Las Vegas Raiders during the fourth quarter at Allegiant Stadium on October 15, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

    Parker punched his ticket to the “DOWN”s when he dropped a deep pass on a late-fourth-quarter drive. He failed in a gotta-have-it situation, as a great throw by Jones popped out of his hands. He had just one catch for seven yards prior to that. Parker is coming up painfully short in the one area he’s supposed to excel, and it’s a big contributor to their offensive woes.

  • UP: RB Rhamondre Stevenson

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 15: Rhamondre Stevenson #38 of the New England Patriots scores a rushing touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on October 15, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Sam Morris/Getty Images)

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – OCTOBER 15: Rhamondre Stevenson #38 of the New England Patriots scores a rushing touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on October 15, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Sam Morris/Getty Images)

    Stevenson found the end zone in the fourth quarter, averaged 4.6 yards per carry, and added five catches for 24 yards. He had a bad first-quarter drop that nearly bounced into the defender’s hands for an interception, but that was the only real blemish in a solid day for Stevenson. He even got banged up during the game, but kept truckin’. Hard to feel bad about his performance, specifically.

  • DOWN: S Jalen Mills

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 15: Michael Mayer #87 of the Las Vegas Raiders attempts to hurdle Jalen Mills #2 of the New England Patriots during the first quarter at Allegiant Stadium on October 15, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Sam Morris/Getty Images)

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – OCTOBER 15: Michael Mayer #87 of the Las Vegas Raiders attempts to hurdle Jalen Mills #2 of the New England Patriots during the first quarter at Allegiant Stadium on October 15, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Sam Morris/Getty Images)

    Raiders tight ends combined to make seven catches for 94 yards on Sunday. Mills has been the Patriots’ primary coverage safety against tight ends, so this was not one of his better games.

  • UP: RB Ezekiel Elliott

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 15: Amik Robertson #21 of the Las Vegas Raiders pursues Ezekiel Elliott #15 of the New England Patriots during the third quarterat Allegiant Stadium on October 15, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – OCTOBER 15: Amik Robertson #21 of the Las Vegas Raiders pursues Ezekiel Elliott #15 of the New England Patriots during the third quarter at Allegiant Stadium on October 15, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    Solid day for the Patriots’ ground game, amid all the problems. Elliott averaged 4.9 yards per carry, added a catch for 15 yards, and nearly broke off a 74-yard touchdown catch-and-run that a Hunter Henry penalty wiped off the board.

  • DOWN: DT Sam Roberts

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 18: Punter AJ Cole #6 of the Las Vegas Raiders holds for place kicker Daniel Carlson #2 as he kicks a 49-yard field goal against the New England Patriots in the first quarter of their game at Allegiant Stadium on December 18, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Raiders defeated the Patriots 30-24. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 18: Punter AJ Cole #6 of the Las Vegas Raiders holds for place kicker Daniel Carlson #2 as he kicks a 49-yard field goal against the New England Patriots in the first quarter of their game at Allegiant Stadium on December 18, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Raiders defeated the Patriots 30-24. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    Why are we showing the Raiders’ kicking operation for Roberts? Because he was the culprit on a “leverage” penalty that turned a Las Vegas field goal try into a first down early in the game. The Patriots still held the Raiders to a field goal on that drive, but that doesn’t excuse Roberts’ ill-timed penalty.

  • UP: S Jabrill Peppers

    Peppers made the best Patriots play in weeks, when he delivered a thunderous hit to Davante Adams that popped the ball in the air. Jahlani Tavai gets an honorable mention for tipping it to himself for the interception, but the play likely would’ve been ruled a fumble if the ball hit the ground before Tavai recovered. So, that goes in the books as a pass defensed by Peppers. Incredible play, either way. Nice bounce-back for Peppers after a shaky game last week.

  • DOWN: CB J.C. Jackson

    Oct 15, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams (17) misses a pass while defended by New England Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson (29) in the fourth quarter at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

    Oct 15, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams (17) misses a pass while defended by New England Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson (29) in the fourth quarter at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

    Jackson had a solid-enough start to the game, as evidenced in part by a slow first half for Davante Adams. But Jackson got flagged for pass interference that kept a late-fourth-quarter drive alive for the Raiders. The Patriots ended up forcing a punt, but Jackson gets dinged for a bad penalty at a bad time in the game.

  • UP: DT Christian Barmore

    Barmore made five total tackles, including one for a loss, and made two pass breakups at the line of scrimmage. Clearly a disruptive day for Barmore up front. They’re desperately going to need it, after the defense suffered such devastating injuries.

  • DOWN: RT Vederian Lowe

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 15: Maxx Crosby #98 of the Las Vegas Raiders and Bilal Nichols #91 of the Las Vegas Raiders sack Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots for a safety while Vederian Lowe #59 of the New England Patriots looks on during the fourth quarter at Allegiant Stadium on October 15, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – OCTOBER 15: Maxx Crosby #98 of the Las Vegas Raiders and Bilal Nichols #91 of the Las Vegas Raiders sack Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots for a safety while Vederian Lowe #59 of the New England Patriots looks on during the fourth quarter at Allegiant Stadium on October 15, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    As we’ve noted in prior weeks, this isn’t fair to Lowe. The “DOWN” doesn’t necessarily apply to Lowe, but rather what he represents, which is the Patriots’ scant investment at right tackle in the off-season. It’s really coming back to bite the Patriots, and at the worst possible times.

  • 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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