The New England Patriots are 2-7 after suffering a crushing 20-17 loss to the Washington Commanders on Sunday at Gillette Stadium. Here are 12 players we graded “UP” or “DOWN” based on their performance in the game…
DOWN: WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
Smith-Schuster caught six of his seven targets for 51 yards, but it was that seventh target that really did him in. Mac Jones put the ball right in his hands, and the ball popped through and ended up an interception.
Smith-Schuster took accountability for the play after the game, so good on him for that. But the reality remains that he hasn’t looked like the same productive player he’s been in the past, and may never return to that level. Rough first season in New England for him.
DOWN: QB Mac Jones
Jones wasn’t the biggest problem in this loss – I’d put the receivers and the big plays allowed on defense above him – but a fourth-down overthrow of Tyquan Thornton loomed large throughout the game. The Patriots had a chance to go up 7-0 there, because Thornton was open with no one in front of him.
Instead, they had to play from behind for most of the game because of Jones’ bad throw. The offensive line mostly gave him time to throw today, too, and it didn’t feel like Jones did much to take advantage of that. He’s certainly not good enough to make up for the Pats’ lack of weapons, but he can be better than he was.