Mac Jones’ professional career is off to a pretty encouraging start. Not only did the 15th overall selection of this year’s draft win the New England Patriots’ starting quarterback gig over the summer and has since led the team to a 7-4 record, he has also played some very good football along the way.
Against the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday Night Football, Jones even made history: according to Elias Sports, the youngster became the first qualifying rookie quarterback in league annals (i.e. one attempting a minimum of 15 passes per game) to complete at least 80 percent of his throws in back-to-back contests.
Jones went 22-for-26 against Atlanta for a completion rate of 84.6 percent. He also gained 207 yards and threw one touchdown and interception each, helping New England win with a final score of 25-0.
The previous week versus the Cleveland Browns, Jones hit 19 of his 23 attempts — completing 82.6 percent of his throws — for 198 yards as well as three touchdowns. The Patriots won that game 45-7.
“They had 11 guys out there and we just read it out and tried to stick to what we do,” Jones said after the game against the Falcons. “They’re going to bring different stuff just because it’s a short week and they did a good job of that, but you always just take what the defense gives. If they give you the completion, take it, if they don’t, throw it away or do whatever you have to do to not make a bad play and I could do better at that but always take what the defense gives.”
Jones’ ability to accurately distribute the football is not just impressive in a historical context for rookie quarterbacks, it also has him ranked pretty highly in a league-wide comparison as well. In fact, only two players have posted a higher completion percentage so far this year than Jones (70.2%): the Arizona Cardinals’ Kyler Murray (72.7%) and the Dallas Cowboys’ Dak Prescott (70.3%) — two realistic candidates for the 2021 MVP award.
Jones, meanwhile, is not part of that conversation. However, the 23-year-old can very much be considered a frontrunner for Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. Most importantly, however, he has helped the Patriots return to play winning football after what was a disappointing 2020 campaign.