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Patriots vs. Bills rookie review: How New England’s first-year players fared in their playoff debut

Related: Patriots vs. Bills snap count report: Personnel usage reflects New England’s defensive struggles

AFC Wild Card Playoffs - New England Patriots v Buffalo Bills Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

The New England Patriots’ season is over, and it came to a disappointing end in the wild card playoff round. Traveling to Buffalo to take on the division-champion Buffalo Bills, the team was blown out with a final score of 47-17. Along the way, New England did see some regular contributions from its rookie class again.

With that said, let’s take a look at how they fared, starting, as usual, with Mac Jones.

QB Mac Jones

  • Offensive snaps: 63 of 63 (100%)
  • Special teams snaps: N/A

The final game of Mac Jones’ rookie season was an up-and-down affair. While he did throw two interceptions, an argument can be made that the first of those was necessarily his fault: his pass intended for Nelson Agholor was well placed but the wide receiver did not turn around in time while safety Micah Hyde made an impressive play. The second pick came on a throw intended for Hunter Henry that was broken up by linebacker Matt Milano.

Those two turnovers played a big role in New England’s demise, with the first in particular hurting the team. Jones did also make some good throws, however, including a pair of touchdown passes to Kendrick Bourne.

All in all, the first-round draft pick finished the contest completing 24 of his 38 pass attempts for 232 and those two touchdowns and two interceptions.

DT Christian Barmore

  • Defensive snaps: 33 of 56 (59%)
  • Special teams snaps: N/A

Six days after an injury scare in the regular season finale, Christian Barmore was on the field for 28 of a possible 68 defensive snaps but appeared to be hampered by his knee on occasion. Nonetheless, the second-round rookie was once again one of the more disruptive players on the New England defense.

Playing multiple techniques along the defensive line, Barmore finished the game with a team-high three quarterback disruptions. He had another solid outing as an interior pass rusher, but was more inconsistent versus the run. The Alabama product registered two tackles in the running game and also missed one tackle attempt.

RB Rhamondre Stevenson

  • Defensive snaps: 23 of 63 (37%)
  • Special teams snaps: N/A

Another Patriot to suffer an injury in Week 18, Rhamondre Stevenson returned to play 23 snaps versus the Bills. Touching the ball on 12 of them, he had an uneven performance.

The fourth-round rookie, who had a solid overall year, finished with just eight carries for 27 yards and a 3.4-yard average; his longest run of the day went for 8 yards and he also broke one tackle attempt. Stevenson was more productive as a pass catcher, hauling in four passes on four targets for 33 total yards.

At the end of the day, however, he was unable to duplicate his strong outing against the Bills in Week 13. Just like New England’s running game as a whole, the youngster was effectively neutralized by an impressive defensive effort shown by the Buffalo front seven.