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  • The New England Patriots are 6-6 after a 24-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night at Gillette Stadium. Here’s who we graded “UP” or “DOWN” based on their performance in the game…

    UP: CB/WR Marcus Jones

    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - DECEMBER 01: Marcus Jones #25 of the New England Patriots runs for a first quarter touchdown against the Buffalo Bills in the first half at Gillette Stadium on December 01, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – DECEMBER 01: Marcus Jones #25 of the New England Patriots runs for a first quarter touchdown against the Buffalo Bills in the first half at Gillette Stadium on December 01, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

    Jones won the Paul Hornung Award as the most versatile player in college football, and now he’s the Patriots’ most versatile player. He played a few offensive snaps for the first time in his NFL career, and ended up scoring the Patriots’ only touchdown on a 48-yard catch-and-run. There was little to be excited about in tonight’s game, but Jones’ continued playmaking and incredible versatility was a bright spot.

  • DOWN: CB Jonathan Jones

    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - DECEMBER 01: Wide receiver Stefon Diggs #14 of the Buffalo Bills catches a first half touchdown pass in front of cornerback Jonathan Jones #31 of the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on December 01, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – DECEMBER 01: Wide receiver Stefon Diggs #14 of the Buffalo Bills catches a first half touchdown pass in front of cornerback Jonathan Jones #31 of the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on December 01, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

    Once again, the Patriots had no answer for Stefon Diggs, and it was Jonathan Jones covering him most of the time. This game may have proven once and for all that Jonathan isn’t a viable outside corner, except in the most specific of matchups. He also seemed to stop playing on Josh Allen’s scrambling touchdown pass to Gabriel Davis. It’s not totally fair to Jonathan that he was put in this position to begin with, but it certainly was far from his best night.

  • UP: LB Josh Uche

    Dec 1, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) fumbles the ball after a sack by New England Patriots linebacker Josh Uche (55) during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

    Dec 1, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) fumbles the ball after a sack by New England Patriots linebacker Josh Uche (55) during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

    It was another trying night for the Patriots defense, but they were at least able to keep the game reasonably close in the middle two quarters thanks to big plays by Uche. Most notably, Uche strip-sacked Josh Allen late in the second quarter, which gave the Pats a chance to score some much-needed points. Uche has been on the rise in recent weeks, so that’s a positive to take away from an otherwise uninspiring night.

  • DOWN: CB Jack Jones

    Dec 1, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; Buffalo Bills running back James Cook (28) is tackled by New England Patriots cornerback Jack Jones (13) in the first quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

    Dec 1, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; Buffalo Bills running back James Cook (28) is tackled by New England Patriots cornerback Jack Jones (13) in the first quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

    Jones committed a 22-yard pass interference penalty that set up the Bills’ first touchdown of the night. Like Jonathan Jones, Jack also struggled when tasked with covering Stefon Diggs. He gave up a deep touchdown to Diggs that got called back due to a Bills penalty. Jack has shown a lot of promise in his rookie season, but he’s not quite ready to perform at a high level against an offense like this.

  • UP: DT Davon Godchaux

    Dec 1, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) throws the ball under pressure from New England Patriots defensive tackle Davon Godchaux (92) during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

    Dec 1, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) throws the ball under pressure from New England Patriots defensive tackle Davon Godchaux (92) during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

    Other than one chunk play by James Cook and a goal-line touchdown by Devin Singletary, the Bills didn’t have much success moving the ball up the middle. And it wasn’t for trying. They ran a lot into Godchaux, who finished with a team-high 10 tackles. Not a huge impact there when Josh Allen and his receivers are making so many plays in the passing game, but Godchaux was near the bottom of the list of “problems” for the Pats in this one.

  • DOWN: Two-Minute Offense

    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 25: Offensive Line Coach Matt Patricia of the New England Patriots looks onward during during the second half against the Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium on September 25, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – SEPTEMBER 25: Offensive Line Coach Matt Patricia of the New England Patriots looks onward during during the second half against the Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium on September 25, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    The Patriots defense gave the offense a big-time opportunity late in the second quarter after Uche’s strip-sack with 1:31 left. What did the offense do with it? Seven plays, 32 yards, zero points, two timeouts used up, and even 10 seconds left on the clock for the Bills somehow. The two-play sequence of a Rhamondre Stevenson run up the middle on second-and-1, then a Mac Jones sneak on third-and-1, was egregious. It burned two timeouts on consecutive plays, the latest rough situational showing for a continuously struggling offense. That falls on offensive play-caller Matt Patricia, and the decision to put him in that role in the first place falls on Bill Belichick.

  • Next Patriots Ups & Downs will come 11 days from tonight, after the Patriots take on the Arizona Cardinals in what’s now a must-win game on Monday Night Football.

    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. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. Check out all of Matt’s content here.

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