The New England Patriots offense had an encouraging opening series against the Miami Dolphins in Week 1. The unit picked up four first downs and needed just eight total plays to march from its own 25-yard line to the edge of Miami’s red zone.
Facing a 1st-and-10 at the Dolphins’ 22, however, the Patriots made their first of many crucial mistakes.
Quarterback Mac Jones attempted to go for the touchdown by testing the defense down the right sideline. His target was ex-Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker, and it is not hard to see why he liked the matchup against cornerback Xavien Howard: at 6-foot-3, Parker had a height advantage over the 6-foot-0 defender.
Nonetheless, Howard was able to get his hand on the ball and tip it into the waiting arms of safety Jevon Holland for an interception. As the Patriots’ first drive ended without points, Jones made the case for a defensive penalty; in his view, Parker had been interfered with.
The wide receiver himself, however, agreed with the referees’ no-call after the game.
“I don’t know what happened. When the ball was in the air, [Howard] was able to get his hand up, and Holland came up with the pick,” Parker said.
“I didn’t think I was [interfered with]. He got his hand up and Jevon was able to pick it off.”
Instead of blaming the circumstances or a potentially missed penalty — one that might have put the Patriots in a goal-to situation — Parker pointed to himself. When asked whether or not he thought something happened that prevented him from getting up to play the ball, he clarified that he simply made a bad play.
“I just kind of misjudged it,” he aid. “The next time I know just to go up for it.”
Parker was targeted twice by Mac Jones on the day, catching the second pass thrown his way for a 9-yard gain. The Patriots eventually were beaten with a final score of 20-7, with the offense turning the football over two more times: Jones was strip-sacked for a touchdown in the second quarter, while wide receiver Nelson Agholor lost a fumble in the fourth.
For Parker, it is all part of the learning experience.
“There’s some stuff that you can overcome. You just have to go back on film and correct it.”