Mac Jones gives Patriots a boost with highlight reel win over Bills

Mac Jones gives Patriots a boost with highlight reel win over Bills

Mike ReeseESPN staff writerOctober 25, 2023 at 06:00 AM ET4 minutes to read

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Foxborough, Massachusetts – New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones just helped engineer the most dramatic comeback of his NFL career on Sunday — a 29-25 win over the Buffalo Bills — and his teammates kept coming up to congratulate him as he stood next to CBS reporter Evan Washburn as part From the post-game interview.

Jones shared a celebratory embrace with defensive tackle Davon Godchaux as Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days” played inside Gillette Stadium, followed by long snapper Joe Cardona and defensive end Dietrich Wise Jr. Then, just when there appeared to be a chance for Jones to drive the tackle, safety Jabrill Peppers came in, followed by linebacker Mack Wilson Sr. and tight end Mike Gesicki.

They all seemed to realize the magnitude of the moment for Jones, and their actions reflected a potential stepping stone for the 2-5 Patriots as they turn the page to Sunday’s road game against the 5-2 Miami Dolphins (1 p.m. ET, CBS).

“I think the whole football team is happy for Mac, to see him go out and perform the way he did,” said Matthew Slater, the club’s captain and longest-tenured player.

“It’s certainly been a tough year for him, just as it has been for all of us. But it says a lot about his character as a young man to be able to go out and put it all behind him and perform the way he did.” “When he plays well, it gives the whole football team a boost.”

Jones was at his best in the moments that mattered most, driving his second game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime (the other being Week 5 of 2021 in Houston). He was 11 of 13 for 127 yards and two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter and teammates noted his poise under pressure.

Football may be the ultimate team game, but it’s these types of situations — down by three points with 1:58 remaining and getting the ball on the 25-yard line — that can define a quarterback’s career.

Offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien acknowledged that the experience of leading a game-winning final drive was beneficial as part of Jones’ career growth.

“He’s done a really good job. He’s just a third-year player – you’re not talking about a guy who’s about 12 years old – so every game is a learning situation for him. He definitely has a lot of experience from his first year and his first year,” he said on Tuesday. “The past, but he is still a young player.”

“The players around him did a great job, and I think that’s really important. It’s a team game. We dealt with some adversity in the game as a team and were able to come back. He got us into the right plays.” On the last flight.”

Jones, 25, struck a forward-looking theme in the wake of the win, saying: “It’s just crumbs. Just keep picking up those crumbs and eventually you’ll have a whole loaf of bread.”

Similar results may be difficult to achieve against a Dolphins defense that ranks fourth in the NFL in sacks per pass rush (24 total) under first-year coordinator Vic Fangio. But as the scene unfolds on the pitch on Sunday, players rally around him, and media talk about Jones possibly losing his starting job has quieted for now.

“He brought great energy. He was very efficient. He cared about the football. He gave us a chance to win,” Slater said. “You love to see that from a young man who’s been through as much as he’s been through this season — to keep fighting the good fight and get rewarded for it. We’re looking to continue that trend moving forward.”

“We expect that from him,” added full-back Jahlani Tavai. “We know the type of player he can be.”

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