Winning NFL football games isn’t nearly as easy as the New England Patriots have made it looks over the past two decades. In fact, it’s pretty damn difficult.
Following a 35-29 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in overtime, rookie quarterback Mac Jones said, “The games that we’ve lost, we’ve been just two or three plays away. I guess that’s just how the NFL works, and I’m learning that the hard way.” He has a point.
Despite their 2-4 record, New England’s point differential stands at just -2, and it isn’t hard to find those few game changing plays that Jones was talking about. Damien Harris’ fumble inside the Miami 10-yard line in week one, Nick Folk’s missed game winning field goal in week four, and CeeDee Lambs 24-yard catch on 3rd-and-25 on Sunday are all plays that had ripple effects in Patriots losses.
Despite a few crushing losses, Jones said there were things the Patriots could do to turn things around.
“You want to try and get back into a rhythm,” he said. “We did that at some times during the game but we’ve got to play complementary football better. The offense has to complement the defense and special-teams has to be involved as well.”
So how exactly do you play better complimentary football? Well, it starts by evening out time-of-possesion. New England’s defense spent just under 40-minutes on the field, playing 82 total snaps to the offenses 50. Despite having great third down numbers, the defense let the Cowboys offense pick up 32 first downs, while the offense only moved the chains 17 times.
Though New England has gotten off to a 2-4 start, Jones said the Patriots will keep working towards righting the ship.
“We can’t hang our heads,” he said. “We’ve got to keep working and no one is going to feel sorry for ourselves because that never works. You can get humbled every week, and you’ve just got to move on to the next week, and we’ll be ready to play next week.”
New England will look to avoid being “humbled” by the lowly New York Jets next week, who will enter the matchup with a similar record at 1-4. It will be a test to see if the Patriots truly look like their record or not.