The New England Patriots have now won six games in a row, thanks to a 36-13 victory over the visiting Tennessee Titans in Week 12. Now at 8-4, the Patriots have realistic dreams of not just making the playoffs but entering them as one of the top seeds in the AFC — something that would not have been possible without the contributions from the rookie class.
Against the Titans, four of its members saw the field. Let’s take a look at how they fared — starting, of course, with Mac Jones.
QB Mac Jones
- Offensive snaps: 59 of 60 (98%)
- Special teams snaps: N/A
Mac Jones had some ups and downs in his 12th NFL start, but the first-round draft selection still played a solid overall game. Completing 23 of 32 pass attempts for 310 yards and a pair of touchdowns, Jones led New England to eight scores on his 10 drives. While the Patriots had to settle for five field goals — in part because of some errant throws by the young quarterback — he did move the ball well.
Jones also threw some impressive passes along the way. His 38-yard completion to Jakobi Meyers, for example, was a good read with the pass having the perfect zip and angle to reach the wideout despite safety Kevin Byard coming close to knocking it away.
There are a few attempts the 23-year-old likely wants back — including a missed touchdown to Hunter Henry and a near-interception that was dropped — but he and the team can feel good about his performance overall.
DT Christian Barmore
- Defensive snaps: 33 of 63 (52%)
- Special teams snaps: 3 of 28 (11%)
The Patriots’ second-round draft selection had another solid day against the Titans, picking up two more quarterback disruptions in 15 snaps as a pass rusher. For the first time all season, however, Barmore saw more action versus the run than the pass: the Titans ran the ball 18 times when he was on the field — easily the most run-game action he has seen in a single game so far.
Barmore was okay versus the run, but oftentimes not in a position to help a struggling run defense. On the Titans’ 68-yard touchdown run, for example, he was the lone down-lineman on the field; Tennessee ran a draw and found success versus the lighter front.
His forte still remains the pass rush, though, even when he does not make the play. One example is Matthew Judon’s first-quarter sack: Barmore drew the attention of three offensive linemen, which in turn gave Judon a one-on-one situation he took advantage of. As is the case with most defensive tackles, the stat-sheet also does not properly reflect Barmore’s impact.
RB Rhamondre Stevenson
- Offensive snaps: 20 of 60 (33%)
- Special teams snaps: N/A
Speaking of the stat-sheet, Rhamondre Stevenson had a solid performance based on the numbers: he carried the football nine times for 46 yards and a 5.1-yard average per rushing attempt. Once again, however, the stats tell only part of the story.
Stevenson carried the football only four times through the first four quarters, averaging just 2 yards per run. He did not start to gain better yardage until the team was already up 26-13 in the fourth period: his final five carries gained 4, 6, 10, 19 and -1 yards, showing that he did most of his damage late.
The reasons for that are manifold, and the impact of the Titans defensive front cannot be understated. At the end of the day, Stevenson was a virtual non-factor when the game was still close, but he also effectively helped the Patriots seal the deal late.
CB Shaun Wade
- Offensive snaps: 7 of 60 (11%)
- Special teams snaps: 2 of 28 (7%)
One week after his NFL debut, Shaun Wade again saw a handful of snaps late in the game. The fifth-round selection, who was traded from the Baltimore Ravens to the Patriots in late August, played seven defensive snaps on the final drive of the day. He also added a pair of snaps as a member of New England’s punt return team.
Wade, who registered one assisted tackle, was not tested in the passing game; Tennessee called seven straight runs to close out the game. He generally did look good but was out of position on one perimeter run that gained 9 yards.
LB Ronnie Perkins
The 96th selection in this year’s draft will have to wait yet another week for his NFL debut, and it seems unlikely that his status will change anytime soon. 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 12. He was not listed on the injury report heading into the weekend, meaning that he was a healthy scratch for the sixth week in a row. The third-round draft pick appears destined for a redshirt season.