HOUSTON — Sunday wasn’t the New England Patriots’ greatest day, however after they wanted a lift most, rookie quarterback Mac Jones delivered for them.
Name it Mac’s Second.
Jones led his first profession game-winning drive within the NFL — a 15-play march that chewed up seven minutes within the fourth quarter to arrange Nick Folks’s 21-yard subject purpose with 15 seconds remaining — serving to the Patriots escape with a 25-22 victory towards the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium.
“I feel I’ve mentioned it each week, simply how a lot we imagine in him. The poise you have seen out of him these first [five] weeks, I can not think about,” beginning middle David Andrews mentioned. “What an awesome win for him, what an awesome win for this soccer workforce. We wanted it.”
The Patriots rallied from a 22-9 second-half deficit to keep away from a three-game dropping streak and enhance to 2-3. They now look forward to subsequent Sunday’s residence recreation towards the Dallas Cowboys (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS).
They accomplish that with a rising consolation with Jones and the way he’s main the offense. The rookie completed 23-of-30 for 231 yards and one landing with one interception.
“No. 10, man, he is a troublesome son of a gun. The child stands in there, he makes throws, he takes hits,” Andrews mentioned. “He is by no means adverse — particularly after a few of our performances right here of late — [and] he has our again. Whenever you get to play for a man like that, it is an awesome alternative.”
That was one of many greatest takeaways after a daylong battle for the Patriots by which their protection began alarmingly gradual and a fumble on the purpose line by working again Damien Harris negated a would-be landing within the second quarter: Jones continues to win over his teammates.
Beginning defensive sort out Davon Godchaux’s tweet after the sport was one instance.
— Davon Godchaux (@ChauxDown) October 10, 2021
“Mac gave it to us all day. I believed we moved the ball, and I believed he made lots of good choices,” coach Invoice Belichick mentioned. “There have been some checks he needed to make, however actually the final drive — the third-down conversion to [tight end] Hunter [Henry] after which we had a pair good runs in there.
“However Mac’s been good for us all yr when it comes to his management, his resilience, and form of all the time relying on him to do the precise factor. And he actually does it at a excessive degree. It has been spectacular.”
Jones has accomplished greater than 70% of his passes in 4 of his 5 begins, and his 135 completions are tied with Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals for essentially the most ever by a rookie in his first 5 begins.
His high goal Sunday was Henry, who completed with a team-high six receptions for 75 yards. Henry has been an enormous booster of Jones — the 2 have linked off the sphere as neighbors — and he mentioned he was pleased with Jones’ efficiency Sunday.
“He is robust, man. He stands in there,” mentioned Henry, who caught a 13-yard landing move on a nook route early within the fourth quarter and likewise had a key 10-yard reception on third-and-6 on the game-winning drive.
“It says rather a lot to the older guys who’ve been round, to be that younger and stand in there and hearth the ball, it offers lots of confidence to the receivers, tight ends and offensive linemen, too.”
The successful drive was aided, partly, by a roughing the passer penalty on third-and-18. It was the break the Patriots wanted to get the drive began, and from there, Jones performed just like the “ice man” he mentioned he strives to be — “good and clean, cool, calm and picked up.”
“I don’t know if we outplayed the opposite workforce, however we out-competed [them],” Jones mentioned. “Typically you simply should discover a strategy to win.”