It was a brutal start for the New England Patriots against the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday. The Patriots punted on their first four possessions of the first half before taking a knee to end the half. As they did so, they entered the locker room facing a 22-0 deficit.
As the offense struggled to move the football, the chants for backup quarterback Bailey Zappe ran through Gillette Stadium each and every time the Patriots punt unit ran onto the field.
Yet, Mac Jones and the offense battled through the early struggles to try and pull out a second-half comeback.
“I mean, his resiliency. That isn’t the first time that it’s happened this year, honestly,” Jakobi Meyers said postgame about the chants. “He’s dealt with it all year. Guy’s ready to pass to it the next guy. But he keeps going out there battling. He takes shots, gets back up. He make mistakes, he comes back up try to fix it.
“Shout out to Mac. He’s a tough guy mentally and physically. I can roll with him any day, because at the end of the day regardless of what people say he’s going to go out and fight the hardest. Shout out to him. Proud of the guys.”
Jones impressed in the second half as New England was forced to air it out more. He made a few high level throws when targeting Kendrick Bourne, as he pointed to his teammates to help explain his own resiliency.
“I think we’ve got a lot of tough players on this team. I look up to a lot of guys like Jakobi and KB and [Matthew] Slater and Devin [McCourty],” he explained. “I’ve been able to watch my first two years here. And the best players on our team are the toughest players and there’s times when I need to be more tough and stand in there and rip it and all that stuff.
“We’re all out there competing. That’s what it’s all about. It’s just not quitting and keep competing and we’ll do that as an offense. We’ll do that as a defense. Do it as special teams. I think the guys themselves, we’re all going to compete. So that will never change.”
Unfortunately for the Patriots, their comeback efforts came up short as a fumble down near goal line handed the ball back to Cincinnati late in the game.
“Look, you’ve got to keep swinging. That’s the only thing I know to do. And he competes his butt off,” captain David Andrews said of Jones. “So I thought we just – you can’t make up chunks on one play. You’ve got to keep going play after play, down after down. We try to do that. Like I said, just didn’t finish it.”