The New England Patriots are back at .500 thanks to a hard-fought 27-24 road win over the Los Angeles Chargers. The game once again saw some major contributions by members of New England’s rookie class, even though only three of them actually saw the field.
With that being said, let’s take a look at how they fared — starting, of course, with Mac Jones.
QB Mac Jones
- Offensive snaps: 77 of 77 (84%)
- Special teams snaps: N/A
Mac Jones’ rookie season has been impressive so far, but the first-round draft pick played some up-and-down football against the Chargers on Sunday. The numbers — 18-for-35 for 218 yards as well as a successful two-point conversion — tell only part of the story, though: Jones was inaccurate at times and appeared to have a harder time getting into a rhythm against the Los Angeles defense.
While he himself said that he “didn’t have my best day at all,” Jones still played some very encouraging football at times and continues to grow each week. He also made some good reads and throws in crunch time: he completed all four of his attempts on the final drive of the game to put New England up by 10 points and also moved the sticks on a third down sneak.
He may not always perform on the same consistent level as he did against the New York Jets one week earlier, for example, but he is certainly headed in the right direction even when playing a sub-par statistical game by his own standards.
DT Christian Barmore
- Defensive snaps: 38 of 60 (63%)
- Special teams snaps: 4 of 30 (13%)
Another week, another game that saw Christian Barmore display the skills that made the Patriots trade up in the second round to get him aboard. The Alabama product did not only lead all New England defensive linemen in snaps played on Sunday, he also was a disruptive force from the interior yet again.
Barmore’s numbers may again not have stood out — he had a half-sack as well as two additional hurries and four tackles — but the Chargers offensive line could not handle him in 1-on-1 situations, which in turn forced them to use more double-teams on the 22-year-old and open up space elsewhere. He was a problem for them all game long:
No one on the Chargers could consistently handle Barmore 1v1. Dude was stacking and shedding blocks at will.— Taylor Kyles (@tkyles39) November 2, 2021
Lost his balance and got take down once, but was dominant otherwise.
Also made a play from the backside where he’s had some trouble this season pic.twitter.com/v72ul3yYlm
Barmore is getting better each week, and he should continue to play a prominent role for the New England defense down the stretch. The Patriots have found themselves a major rookie contributor it seems.
RB Rhamondre Stevenson
- Offensive snaps: 12 of 77 (16%)
- Special teams snaps: N/A
One week after being named a healthy scratch against the Jets, Rhamondre Stevenson was back in action. Serving as the number three running back behind Damien Harris and Brandon Bolden, the fourth-round rookie had another solid if unspectacular outing. In total, Stevenson touched the football nine times on his 12 total snaps: he gained 25 yards on eight carries and also added a 5-yard reception.
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 8. He was not listed on the injury report heading into the weekend, meaning that he was a healthy scratch for the second 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 did return to practice this week, he remained limited throughout and 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.