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Mac Jones sees ‘a lot of progress’ but knows Patriots have room for growth on offense

Related: Instant analysis from Patriots’ 22-17 win over Jets

The New England Patriots offense did not have its best day against the New York Jets in Week 8, but it did get the job done. The unit led by sophomore quarterback Mac Jones in his first game action in five weeks scored 22 points and were able to outlast its division rival with a final score of 22-17.

The Patriots can feel good about that final result, and that they were able to quickly turn the page after a bad performance on Monday Night Football against Chicago. However, as Jones pointed out, there is still plenty of room for growth.

“They have a really good defensive line, and we’re just trying to neutralize that and move the ball quickly,” he said during his postgame press conference. “Matty [Patricia] did a great job calling the plays all day. I got to get the ball out on some of the sacks, so it’s not all one person or one thing. We’ll definitely watch and see how we can improve.

“Obviously, we want to score more points and all that. A lot of progress but we have to keep going.”

Jones entered the game in New York off a tumultuous week. Following his high ankle sprain, he returned to action against the Bears only to be pulled after three disappointing drives.

Amid speculation about his outlook heading into Week 8, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick went on to confirm his status as starter during the week. Jones ended up playing all 77 of New England’s offensive snaps against the Jets — setting a new career-high in playing time.

“I always try to be internally motivated,” he said. “Obviously, there’s things that you can control. For me that’s just my attitude and my effort and being a good teammate and showing up, and trying to work and lead the guys.

“My good attribute that I have is communication. We did extra things this week together as a team and, really, as an offense that showed up on the field. If we continue to do that we’ll see better results. The process is there. I’m just super happy to be a part of this and obviously we want to continue to grow. One game is not good enough.”

Jones and the offense had their fair share of issues versus New York’s impressive defense, especially in the first half. He ended up completing 24 of 35 pass attempts for 194 yards with one touchdown and one interception, while being under relentless pressure: playing behind a struggling offensive line, Jones was sacked six times.

Despite concerns about his ankle, however, he bounced back up every time. As Belichick noted after the game, Jones’ toughness both physically and mentally was never a concern from his perspective.

“Mac’s tough, there’s never any doubt about that. Mac’s a tough kid,” he said. “I thought he made good decisions, managed the game well, managed our team well. And that’s what a quarterback’s job is to do, help the team win. That’s what he did.”

Belichick also mentioned Jones’ ability to quickly get rid of the football and take care of it (despite throwing a would-be pick-six that was negated by a defensive penalty).

“I thought Mac did a good job today,” he noted. “He got the ball out quickly. We gave up some pressure, but I thought he did a good job taking care of the ball. … I thought Mac did a great job. [Rhamondre] Stevenson, Jakobi [Meyers], some guys really stepped up for us and made some plays offensively that we needed.”

With Jones back in the saddle, the Patriots are now back at .500 and heading home to face the Indianapolis Colts.