The New England Patriots are 7-4 and in the driver’s seat within their division, thanks in large parts due to the contributions from their rookie class. Last Thursday’s game versus the Atlanta Falcons was further proof of that: the group received plenty of action, with a total of four first-year players appearing in the game.
With that being said, let’s take a look at how they fared — starting, of course, with Mac Jones.
QB Mac Jones
- Offensive snaps: 64 of 64 (100%)
- Special teams snaps: N/A
Even though he did not light up the scoreboard like he did against the Cleveland Browns four days earlier, Mac Jones played well against the Falcons after only three days of rest. The first-round selection hit 22 of his 26 pass attempts for a completion rate of 84.6 percent — making him the first rookie quarterback in NFL history with an 80-plus completion rate in back-to-back games.
Jones gained a total of 207 yards through the air and threw one touchdown and interception each; he also was sacked three times. All in all, though, the youngster had another solid day despite Atlanta defensive coordinator Dean Pees doing his best to make life hard for him. For most of the day, however, Jones did not flinch.
DT Christian Barmore
- Defensive snaps: 34 of 54 (63%)
- Special teams snaps: 2 of 24 (8%)
Another dominant defensive performance by the Patriots, another hefty workload for second-round pick Christian Barmore. The Alabama product once again led his position group, playing 34 of a possible 54 defensive snaps (plus two more on special teams) — tops among all interior defensive linemen.
Barmore again played some high-quality football at an under-the-radar position. He registered three more quarterback disruptions to bring his season total to 31, and also had a tackle for loss. The 22-year-old continues to play a big role on this New England defense.
RB Rhamondre Stevenson
- Offensive snaps: 22 of 64 (34%)
- Special teams snaps: N/A
After one week of serving as the Patriots’ lone RB1, Rhamondre Stevenson was again used in a rotation with Damien Harris. With the third-year man back from his concussion, he and Stevenson shared snaps in the backfield: Harris played 25; Stevenson played 22.
The fourth-round pick again made the most out of his opportunities, though. He led the team with 12 rushing attempts for 69 yards and a healthy 5.8-yard average, and also caught a 6-yard pass. Even with Harris back in the lineup, Stevenson continued to see plenty of action — which should bode well for not just his future outlook but that of New England’s running back group as a whole.
CB Shaun Wade
- Offensive snaps: 4 of 54 (7%)
- Special teams snaps: 3 of 24 (12%)
It took 11 games but Shaun Wade has finally made his NFL debut. The fifth-round selection, who was traded from the Baltimore Ravens to the Patriots in late August, played the first seven snaps of his career: he was on the field for four snaps as an outside cornerback, and for three more as a member of New England’s punt return unit.
Wade may not have registered any statistics, but the mere fact that he has made it onto the field can be considered a win.
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 11. He was not listed on the injury report heading into the weekend, meaning that he was a healthy scratch for the fifth week in a row.