Despite their offense having another rough outing, the New England Patriots still found themselves in a position to possibly beat the Las Vegas Raiders on the road. Down just two points in the late fourth quarter, they set up shop at their own 9-yard line with 2:23 left in the game.
The Patriots gained six yards on a Rhamondre Stevenson carry to start the series, but lost seven on a holding call against rookie guard Atonio Mafi on the following play. With a 2nd-and-11 coming up out of the two-minute warning, quarterback Mac Jones decided to go for the home run — a deep throw down the left sideline for DeVante Parker.
With the wide receiver getting behind the defense, and Jones delivering a well-placed ball that was among the best throws of his season, the ingredients for a sizable gain were all there. Only problem was that Parker was unable to haul in the catch.
The ball ended up hitting Parker in the hands, but the wideout failed to complete the catch. Instead of the Patriots at least moving past midfield, they therefore found themselves in a 3rd-and-11 situation.
“DP is a great deep-ball threat, and we kind of agreed that we wanted that route,” said Jones about the play after the game. “So, just tough, tough play. If it goes one way, we might go down there and win. If it goes the other way, we don’t. It’s just tough.”
Following a false start penalty on the upcoming third down, Mac Jones was sacked in the end zone for a safety to cap off the 21-17 loss. As the third-year QB pointed out after the game, the outcome of the game very well could have been different had it not been for the incomplete deep pass.
Jones ended the day going 24-of-33 for 200 yards with one interception — improvement compared to his disastrous previous two games, but still not enough to lift New England to a victory. Despite the end result, however, he expressed confidence in Parker and the rest of the Patriots’ receiving personnel after the game.
“That’s football, but at the end of the day I have a lot of trust in the receivers,” he said. “I feel like their energy this week was very good, and they’ve been very confident they can get open and catch the ball. They’ve shown that at times, for sure.”
Parker, meanwhile, had another quiet game beside one 7-yard reception in the second quarter. As for the drop on the final drive, Parker said he had the ball on his fingertips.
“I didn’t get a full grasp of it,” he claimed.
The veteran wideout, who signed a two-year, $10.8 million extension over the summer, currently stands at only 13 catches for 136 yards on the season.