The Tampa bay Buccaneers defeated the New England Patriots 19-17 on Sunday night in the Belichick vs Brady Bowl. The game featured a lot of great moments and matchups, but the player that gained the most was Patriots quarterback Mac Jones.
Jones finished the game 31/40 for 275 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. In a game that featured the Greatest Quarterback of All Time, Jones did not look out of place. He was under heavy pressure in the first half, but played so well against it that the Buccaneers started to back off. At one point, Jones completed 19 consecutive passes and twice led the Patriots on touchdown drives that took the lead: first 7-3 and then 17-16. Jones first touchdown pass to Hunter Henry was a great display of being patient in the pocket and watching for the receiver to get open. Once he had a spot, he fit the ball in and let Henry do the rest.
The second touchdown pass was a great call by Josh McDaniels; Tampa Bay sold out to stop the run so the Patriots ran a play action pass and Jones hit Jonnu Smith for the touchdown. After Tampa Bay took a 19-17 lead on a drive led by Tom Brady, Jones came back on the field with a chance to lead the Patriots to victory. New England started on the 25 and made it to the Tampa 37 before a 3rd Down pass was batted at the line. The Patriots then elected to kick a 56-yard field goal for the lead, but Nick Folk’s kick hit off the upright and was no good.
On the final drive, Jones was 3/6 23 yards; one of the incompletions was due to a pass interference penalty that resulted in a 20-yard gain. Most important of all, Jones looked comfortable as he operated the New England offense in the most critical moment of the year’s biggest game.
Moral victories don’t count for much in the NFL and New England is in a bad spot at 1-3, but what Jones showed on Sunday night has to have the Patriots happy. The most important position on the field is quarterback and it looks like the Patriots got it right there again. There is still a long way to go, but Jones looks like he belongs in the NFL and the Patriots are set up for a run with him once the rest of their roster fills out.