The Mac Jones Era Officially Begun (Began?) With Perhaps the Most Encouraging Loss of All-Time
Before I halfback dive into yesterday's game, I just wanna give a quick apology to all those who rode #TML. It means the fucking world to me to have even a handful of people tail me, so I'm sorry for the loss and costing you some scratch, but that's simply a part of gambling. It's a long and BIG season, we've got plenty of time to bounce back, but I should've been more prepared (even though Week 1 is an absolute crapshoot). I hate betting unders and have been told it's not smart to tease past zero, but next week's bet will look much different than this week's 5-3 aka 0-1 showing.
Vince Lombardi was famously credited with saying, "winning isn't everything, but it's the only thing." What's not as famous is Lombardi's later regret for that statement.
Obviously, winning yesterday was the preferred outcome; I love Ted Lasso, but I'm not that far off the reservation; I want to win. Winning matters. You can quote me on that, but apart from the in-the-moment emotions of losing a game they should've won, you have to be excited as a Patriots fan.
There's no denying this loss could ultimately cost the Pats this season. They dropped a home game to a division opponent that has legit playoff aspirations, this L could theoretically cost them the playoffs, but I feel great about this team not just in the future but for the rest of the season. Mac Jones looked great (apart from his first drop back). I thought the defense played pretty well after the opening series. Folk was 3/3. It's one game, and with 17 regular-season games, a loss has never counted less. We'll take our L, but Patriot fans should feel great about the future of this organization. Ryan Leaf started his career 2-0. Winning your career opener isn't everything.
There's no doubt that the Patriots let it slip away yesterday and while blaming the loss on Damien Harris' fumble is easy, it's not that simple. He had 117 total yards.
If Mac Jones doesn't hit all the wrong buttons on his first drop back of the game, there's a great chance the Patriots score on that drive. Those points surely would've been valuable in what ended up being a one-point loss.
I had a terrible feeling going into that play. I was getting major Super Bowl LIII opening drive vibes. The Pats ran the ball on four straight plays to get to the Miami 30 yard line and BAM. The first time the QB does something other than handoff, chaos ensues. Even though they recovered the fumble, Mac's first drop back was an absolute early drive killer à la Laura Bush (in addition to the next play call).
I haaaaate punting inside the 45 unless it's super long yardage, and while the Patriots were facing a 4th and 17 on their own 37, I would've much preferred attempting the 54 yarder. I get it; you have an All-Pro Punter, you're playing the field position game early, I don't remember the wind situation, AND I have the benefit of hindsight. Still, I'd take my chances with the field goal over punting pretty deep in opponent territory. It ended up being only a 17-yard difference, and Miami ended up scoring a touchdown anyway. Again, I know hindsight is 20/20; this isn't my first blog....it's my 239th of the year!
Mac Jones wasn't exactly Patrick Mahomes, but he played the best of any rookie QB by a substantial margin.
Not bad for your first career professional start.
This play didn't count, but I love what it shows: Mac's pocket prescience and mobility (something scouts/critics/people I saw on Twitter said he had none of!)
I was watching the Pats on the smallest of three available screens at my buddy's, but this throw and catch had me fired tf up—absolute dime (and a great snag by Sweetfeet as well).
Speaking of third down, that had to be one of the biggest highlights of the day (although a pessimist could focus on the red zone stalling). 11/16 on third down was good for a nearly nice 68.75%...fuck it, we can round up to a 69% conversion rate. That has to be some sort of first start record that I will not be following up with an ounce of research.
I loved what I saw out of Jonnu; I can't wait until these tight ends really get going. His fumble was simply human nature after a table-topping.
AND he basically said what this entire blog is saying.
IMO the biggest bummer of the game isn't the loss but Rhamondre Stevenson fumbling on his first career touch. I think that may have played a role in Damien's heavy workload. Harris played 40 snaps to Rhamondre's 5. Maybe that was how the Patriots had it planned, but I think it's fair to assume 38's fumble cost him some playing time. Total speculation, but maybe if he doesn't fumble and ends up with like 4-8 carries, and Damien doesn't fumble late with a little more in the tank? Just an interesting domino effect situation to think about. I was super bummed to see J.J. be a health scratch too. Not exactly an ideal first week for two of the preseason's best backs.
Make no mistakes, this will go into the record books as a loss for the New England Patriots, but apart for giving away the game late you have to be excited about the future of this team. Mac looks like that dude. My future boss put it perfectly. #HireDozo
In short: Penalties and fumbles (Mac, Rhamondre, AND Damien's...I still think it's wrong to put all the blame on #37) ultimately cost the Patriots the game, but this team is going places, and Mac Jones' poise is a major reason why. I can't wait to get back in the win column against the Jets next week.
I get it, you lost, you're pissed, but I didn't love the football speak, hardo-ish reason for not caring about his first touchdown ball. Maybe it's just my sentimental, inner hoarder, but you gotta cherish that shit---even though the last line gets me a tad pumped. You're gonna want that ball when you're 50.
Okay, when he said "we will," it moved a little. This boy has that Ocean Alley confidence, baaaaabyyy.
At this point, not that rare, Triple P.S.
Guess who else started 0-1?
The 2001, 2003, AND 2014 New England Patriots. That's half of their rings for those who haven't gotten their calculator out yet.
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