Making his first career NFL start, Jones impressed Sunday afternoon, completing 29-of-39 passes for 281 yards and one touchdown with no turnovers in New England’s 17-16 loss.
Despite the individual success, Jones was not very positive postgame.
“I think we can get better,” Jones said in his press conference. “That’s just how we have to look at it. It definitely wasn’t good enough, starting with me. So we’ve got to watch the film. We lost, so it’s not good enough.”
Jones’ success came despite facing a significant amount of pressure from Miami’s aggressive front. While the Dolphins did not officially register a sack, they piled up nine quarterback hits on the first-round pick.
“My body feels good, but it wasn’t good enough, and we’ve got to just come back tomorrow and get ready to work,” Jones said. “The shots I took, some of them were my fault. I need to get the ball out quicker, and that’s part of football. You have to expect to get hit. Our offensive line played good, and they’re going to get better, and we’re going to work together because it takes all of us. They’re a great group of guys, but I think we can definitely improve on our communication, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
The pressure Miami generated did not seem to faze Jones, whose completion rate of 74 percent was the best ever by a rookie with at least 30 pass attempts in his first career start, according to the Providence Journal’s Mark Daniels, via Stathead. Jones completed several throws with defenders in his face, including his first career touchdown to wide receiver Nelson Agholor.
Afterward, Agholor was spotted trying to give Jones his first career touchdown ball. Jones seemed uninterested, however, giving the ball back to the veteran target to keep for himself, as it also was Agholor’s first touchdown as a Patriot.
“It doesn’t really matter because it was one touchdown,” Jones said about the exchange postgame. “We gotta score more. It’s not like the game was over right there, we’ve got to be better in the red zone and score more touchdowns. And we will.”
Jones’ impressive debut was not enough to overcome the Patriots’ poor display of situational football. New England’s offense lost two of its four fumbles, converted on one of its four trips to the red zone, and was penalized eight times for 84 yards. A recipe for failure.
“I think being the quarterback, I need to do a better job [of] demanding better in practice,” Jones said. “Sometimes I just let things slide, myself included. That’s not good enough. So I’m going to try and be more vocal, and I am a vocal person, but it’s kind of a new situation, and I can be better.”
Jones and the Patriots will now turn the page to next week, as they will hit the road to face rookie quarterback Zach Wilson and the New York Jets.
“I can do a better job,” Jones said. “I thought they played hard, but we can play even harder. We’re just going to go up from here.”
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