Mac Jones’ homecoming was one to forget. The New England Patriots’ rookie quarterback and Florida native lost his first ever NFL game in his home state 33-24 to the Miami Dolphins.
Along the way, Jones had his hand on two of the Patriots’ three turnovers. The youngster threw an interception in the first quarter that was returned for a touchdown; he also fumbled a snap in the third quarter to end a promising drive in Miami territory.
It was no surprise that Jones was harsh on himself after the game.
“We just need to execute better and that starts with me, just in practice, in the game,” he said. “You have to go out there and do much better than we did today. It’s super embarrassing, honestly, just from my point, just how I played. It wasn’t good enough, and I can do better. It starts with me, I’m the quarterback. That’s my job, to make people around me have success, and it starts with me.
“We’ll get it fixed. You have to watch the film, learn from it and realize how embarrassing it is to play that way. But, at the same time, we have a great opportunity next week and that’s all you can ask for.”
Jones finished the game completing 20 of 30 pass attempts for 261 yards as well as a touchdown pass to Brandon Bolden and the aforementioned pick-six. He nearly brought the team back from a 17-point deficit — New England came within three late in the fourth quarter — but the mistakes earlier were too much for the Patriots to overcome.
While the effort never was in question, the execution very much was. For Jones, the solution would therefore be a simple one: put the two together to find more success.
“We know we can play better,” he said. “We have great players on our offense, and we know that that wasn’t our best product in terms of execution. We definitely fought hard but came up short. So, if we can combine the execution part and the effort together the result will be a lot better.”
The Patriots better do just that quickly. While not knowing their next opponent at the time their game came to an end, they do know they will play a road game on wild card weekend.