Thanks to a 24-6 road win over the Carolina Panthers in Week 9, the New England Patriots are the proud owners of a winning record for the first time this season. The game that brought them to 5-4 once again saw some major contributions by members of New England’s rookie class, even though only three of them actually saw the field on Sunday.
With that being said, let’s take a look at how they fared — starting, of course, with Mac Jones.
QB Mac Jones
- Offensive snaps: 56 of 62 (90%)
- Special teams snaps: N/A
The Patriots did not ask their first-round draft pick to do much against the Panthers on Sunday, with Mac Jones dropping back to pass on just 20 of his 56 snaps. When he did throw the football, though, he was mostly solid: the 15th overall selection of this year’s draft completed 12 of his 18 pass attempts for 139 yards as well as a touchdown and an interception.
Jones led the Patriots offense on two touchdown drives and a field goal series against one of the best defenses in the league. Along the way, he made some quick decisions and good reads — trying to get the ball out quickly against a ferocious pass rush. He did that throughout the game, thus limiting Carolina’s ability to directly disrupt him.
That said, the defense did register two wins in that area: Jones was strip-sacked in the first quarter and later also threw an interception to ex-Patriot Stephon Gilmore. The Panthers, however, were limited to a combined six points off of the two turnovers thanks to a splendid performance by the New England defense.
DT Christian Barmore
- Defensive snaps: 40 of 59 (68%)
- Special teams snaps: 2 of 22 (9%)
The stat sheet lists Christian Barmore with one assisted tackle and three quarterback hurries against the Panthers. However, his performance once again goes beyond what the numbers show.
The second-round pick not only was the Patriots’ number one defensive tackle in terms of snaps again, he also was a constantly disruptive force up front who collapsed the pocket numerous times from his multiple alignments. Barmore also showed his awareness, finishing with two batted passes at the line of scrimmage.
All in all, the 38th selection in this year’s draft continues to round into form. He already is a valuable member of New England’s front seven.
RB Rhamondre Stevenson
- Offensive snaps: 17 of 62 (27%)
- Special teams snaps: 1 of 22 (5%)
The only thing stopping Rhamondre Stevenson on Sunday was a head injury that eventually knocked him out of the game. Before going down in the fourth quarter, though, the fourth-round selection put on a show against a solid Panthers defense.
Serving as the number two running back alongside Damien Harris, the Oklahoma product played 17 snaps. He touched the football on 12 of them: Stevenson had 10 carries for 62 yards and also registered a pair of receptions that he took a combined 44. The game was the statistically best of his career throughout the board, and it also saw him register the first special teams snap of his career.
After Gunner Olszewski went down — the All-Pro also suffered a head injury, as did Damien Harris — Stevenson was inserted into the lineup as a kickoff returner. He let the lone kick coming his way sail over his head for a touchback, though.
LB Ronnie Perkins
The 96th selection in this year’s draft will have to wait another week for his NFL debut. After missing the early parts of the regular season due to a shoulder injury and later struggling with an ankle issue, Ronnie Perkins was again declared inactive in Week 9. He was not listed on the injury report heading into the weekend, meaning that he was a healthy scratch for the third week in a row.
CB Shaun Wade
The Patriots’ trade acquisition via way of Baltimore was added to the injury report three weeks ago after sustaining a concussion. While he has since returned to practice as a limited participant, he was eventually ruled out for the game yet again. Wade appears to be trending in the right direction, but he has yet to make his NFL debut.