DO YOUR JOB An Account of the 2022 New England Patriots Season
Ja'Whaun Bentley's pick - and two from Devin McCourty - were enough to get the Pats back to .500%. PIC: David Silverman/New England Patriots
Pete Blackburn just about summed this one up.
I was definitely worried about this Pats-Jets matchup on Sunday. Off the worst loss of the year, you can say that this might've been the most important game of 2022. Would the Pats decide to roll over and figure out how much money Damien Harris would be next year? Or would they put their big boy pants on, compete, and salvage this season to compete for a playoff spot? Well, it wasn't pretty, but the 22-17 win suggests they're at least still in it for now.
But they certainly had some help from a horrid performance from the Jets.
Zach Wilson's turnovers might've been enough...
I try to remind myself every time I complain about Mac/Zappe/playcalling: "it could be worse, we could have Zach Wilson."
The QB that was promised when he was drafted second overall by the Jets has simply not arrived in these first 12 months. Yes, he needs some time to make mistakes and to get his feet wet. But do you call this progress?
This was one of 3 INT's Wilson tossed today. Sure, he threw for 355 yards and two TD's, but throws like this simply don't cut it against a Patriots defense that still remains pretty solid.
It sure seems like the Jets have some bigger fish to fry, and Elijah Moore's strained relationship with both the coaching staff and Wilson seems to be growing as a storyline every day.
Jakobi, Dev, and Rhamondre have something to say
Yes, this game was all about capitalizing on bad defense, but without Rhamondre Stevenson and Jakobi Meyers, this could've been way too close for comfort. For one, this may have been the best that Rhamondre has looked in his career so far. He was clearly RB1 today, even with the RB room at near-full-strength. They turned to him in high-leverage situations, passed the ball, executed the ground-and-pound, and simply looked like a well-oiled machine.
But the best quality, by and large, was Rhamondre's ability to get yards after contact. Here's one that was instrumental in the Pats scoring in their first drive of the second half.
I expect big things from #38 this season - it's clear that with leadership lacking in other areas, he might be a guy that others look to in that area.
Also, what a day from Devin McCourty. He was all over the place in coverage, and most importantly, picked off Wilson twice. The Jersey kid is the gift that keeps on giving - and on borrowed time, I'll take all we can get from Dev.
There's no secret of what I think should've happened over the past few weeks, but here's me spelling it out again: Bailey Zappe should've lost this job, and Mac should've earned it back. But Bill Belichick tossed that plan right the window when he swapped QB's in the second quarter in what was unquestionably the worst loss of the year last week. So, at this point, anything goes.
Make no mistake - Mac Jones was not great today. He went 24-for-35 with 194 yards, a touchdown, and an interception, and was also sacked 6 times for a loss of 33 yards. I was concerned about his decision-making early in the game, and there was no worse point than this 4th-down conversion attempt.
Mac's average target depth was less than 5 yards (4.7), and it took him a long while to get comfortable overall. In general, the first half was much worse than the second - which is encouraging - and I'm happy with the way he responded. But without a doubt, my confidence in Mac has been at an all-time-low, and he'll continue to have to prove everyone wrong in subsequent weeks.
Up next: Home contest vs. Colts
The Colts were walked off by the Commanders, taking a late lead into the 4th quarter without anything to show for it. They've got a staunch defense - which scares me - but if the Pats D can continue to show that Week 7 was a fluke, they should have no problem stifling Matt Ryan and company in Foxboro. Let's see which version they decide to bring back with them.