New England Patriots

New England Patriots

FRANKFURT AM MAIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 12: Julian Blackmon #32 of the Indianapolis Colts celebrates an interception in the fourth quarter during the NFL match between the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots at Deutsche Bank Park on November 12, 2023 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

The New England Patriots fell to 2-8 on the season after their third straight loss, a 10-6 defeat at the hands of the Indianapolis Colts at Deutsche Bank Park in Frankfurt, Germany on Sunday.

Patriots quarterback Mac Jones finished 15-of-20 passing for 170 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception. His pick came at the worst possible time, as the Pats were in the red zone and threatening for a go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Jones was benched in favor of Bailey Zappe for the Pats’ final desperation drive.

For a moment, it looked like the game could feature more scoring than it did. The Colts won the opening coin toss and deferred to the second half, giving the Patriots the ball to start the game.

Their opening drive started off strong, with 66 yards gained on their first 10 plays. But a run for no gain and a five-yard sack forced the Pats to settle for a field goal. Rookie kicker Chad Ryland blasted the ball right down the middle to give the Pats a 3-0 lead.

However, their lead was short-lived, because the Colts answered by finding the end zone. On the way there, facing third-and-6, Colts quarterback Gardner Minshew II escaped pressure and completed a 30-yard pass to Isaiah McKenzie to keep the drive going.

They eventually got down to the goal line, where the Patriots stopped them for no gain on the “Tush Push” play made famous by the Philadelphia Eagles. But the Colts opted to go for it on fourth-and-goal, and running back Jonathan Taylor bounced outside to find a seam to the end zone, putting the Colts on top 7-3.

  • After that, any scoring momentum in the first half came to a screeching halt. The Patriots punted on four straight possessions, while the Colts punted on three straight, then just missed on a late field goal attempt by Matt Gay. The Patriots’ last-second attempt came up short, so the teams went to halftime with the Colts up 7-3.

    The Pats got a much-needed break on the opening possession of the third quarter, but couldn’t capitalize on it. Minshew made an ill-advised pass attempt that linebacker Jahlani Tavai tipped, leading to an interception by Myles Bryant.

    On the strength of their running game, the Patriots powered their way into the red zone. But they turned to the passing game on third-and-2, and Jones took another sack, then Ryland missed his second field goal attempt of the game to keep it at 7-3.

  • The Patriots defense got another stop on the ensuing Colts possession, and started their next offensive drive on their own 6-yard line. They netted 89 yards, thanks to a continued strong running game, but a third-down incompletion by Jones forced another field goal try. Ryland converted this time, from 24 yards, to cut the deficit to 7-6.

    The Colts were able to respond to that field goal with a kick of their own, sparked initially by a 42-yard kick return by McKenzie. Gay booted a 51-yard field goal to put the Colts back up by four, at 10-6.

    An 11-yard catch by Kayshon Boutte and a personal foul sent the Patriots into Colts territory, and a 21-yard catch-and-run by Demario Douglas set them up near the red zone. But Jones, on second-and-12 from the 15, threw off his back foot and the ball didn’t get nearly enough air under it, resulting in a back-breaking interception by Julian Blackmon.

  • The Patriots were still able to get one more defensive stop and regain possession, with Zappe entering the game. But on the final offensive play for the Patriots, Zappe faked a spike then fired downfield, only to be intercepted and seal the loss for good.

    Up Next: The Patriots will have their bye in Week 11, with a litany of continued problems to work on going forward. Many big-picture questions will hang over the team as well, namely the futures of both Jones and head coach Bill Belichick. Unfortunately for the Patriots and owner Robert Kraft, the on-field product has deteriorated to the point that the off-field stories have become the most interesting part of their season.

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    Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 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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