Ezekiel Elliott scored his first TD as a Patriot. That was just about the only thing to be happy about in Week 6. PIC: David Silverman
Some glimmers of hope resurfaced in Sunday's game against the Las Vegas Raiders. Yes, the offense scored their first touchdown since Week 3 against the Jets. Ezekiel Elliott still proved he had life in his legs and at least a touch of power. The defense - for the most part - made plays when they needed to.
But it resulted in the same fate; the Pats deserved their third straight loss after the way they played.
It's quite literally the same ole' song and dance in New England this season. I've chronicled the offensive ineptitude they've showed over each of their games (maybe with the exception of Week 1 against the Eagles). Their decisions to continue to trot out ineffective formations against defenses that are looking to prey is nothing short of disheartening.
And now, we're left questioning everything as we head into uncharted territory - the New England Patriots are 1-5 for the first time in over 30 years.
It's all because of Mac's Big Mistakes.
The bright side: Ezekiel Elliott & Kendrick Bourne showed up to play
Despite the misery we saw from Mac Jones, we knew it was only a matter of time before Zeke Elliott would finally punch in a touchdown. It came on this play, where he took a direct snap as newly-signed QB/WR/RB Malik Cunningham went in motion; Elliott received the snap and ran it right up the gut. Elliott registered 34 yards on the ground and 15 in the air, and while it certainly won't win any awards, it'll at least get him back on the map in the Patriots' offensive schemes.
Kendrick Bourne - who has been notoriously streaky with the Pats the past few years - also strung together one of his most complete games during his tenure in New England. Bourne hauled in 10 receptions for 89 yards, including a few impressive plays like this one. Although he didn't find the end zone, he was a key contributor in an otherwise dismal day - it was truly one of those games that he just kept getting open.
My verdict: Mac Jones shouldn't see the field again At least we know now that Bill Belichick shouldn't spend any real money on a WR1; it won't matter, because of the man that throws the passes: Mac Jones.
Don't get me wrong - the offensive line deserves blame for a dismal performance. DeVante Parker deserves blame for dropping pass after pass, and virtually showing no effectiveness. But you cannot dish out this blame without first looking to the "leader" off this offense and understanding his own flaws.
Mac's decision-making has proven to be atrocious these past few weeks. He's taken accountability, saying "I need to be better," but somehow he keeps getting worse after every time these words are uttered. Yes, he spent the second half of the last two games anchored to the New England sideline, being swapped out for Bailey Zappe after dismal performances, but he did his team no favors while being in today.
Look no further than these two plays.
MAC'S BIG MISTAKE 1: End of the first half
As the first half came to a close, it appeared the Patriots would come close to scoring. Chad Ryland hit a field goal on the drive prior, and they looked slightly more in a rhythm than they had all season. 2nd-and-4: Jones rolls out, and makes what could possibly be the worst throw of his entire career - right into Tre'Von Moehrig's hands. It could not have been more accurate if he'd tried; it was almost as if Moehrig had a target on his hands.
MAC'S BIG MISTAKE 2: The game-losing safety
This was after a lethal drop from DeVante Parker, so you knew how this was going to end anyway.
3rd-and-15 with the ball on their own 4 yard line - 96 yards to go to the end zone. The Pats don't have time, but it's worth a desperation attempt. All Mac Jones had to do was get the ball out somewhere...to someone.
And instead, he takes a safety.
We'll see what the Pats elect to do in the next few weeks. With a 1-5 record, it's all but doomed barring an historic comeback. Do they try something else? Does Zappe get a (perhaps FINAL) shot to be the heir to the throne? Will Malik Cunningham be the super-utility player that Belichick signed him to be, and can he throw it to his own teammates confidently? Can Will Grier translate his strong preseason with the Cowboys to offensive production in New England?
One thing is for sure: I'm tired of Mac's Big Mistakes.