As the Patriots fall to 1-4, here is who caught our eye for better or worse upon live viewing.
Losers: QBs Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe. It was another horrid game from Mac Jones, who tossed two more interceptions — one leading directly to the Saints’ first points of the game. While he was again under heavy pressure, Jones’ internal clock seems to be nonexistent. He was once again playing sped up and looked shaky from the jump. It may be beyond repair at this point.
Jones again finished the game on the bench, which brought Zappe into action. The backup QB was not much better, as he sailed back-to-back third down passes to an open Hunter Henry and Kendrick Bourne.
Loser: Everyone else. Welcome back, all. Another dreadful and uninspiring showing all around from New England. Both Jones and Zappe were under heavy pressure the entire contest with the line struggling. Jones tossed one interception while getting hit, another on a drop from Ty Montgomery, and a failed fake “Tush Push” resulted in a fumble instead of a huge gain.
The Patriots again could not run the ball, gaining just 45 yards on 18 carries (2.5). It was a poor showing defensively as well, appearing to have several breakdowns and poor tackling for the second straight week. One last one: punting on 4th-and-three at New Orleans’ 40-yard line.
Loser: Special Teams. This deserved it's own section, as it was another shaky day from the entire unit. Veteran long snapper Joe Cardona continued a theme this season with some poor snaps, with one leading to a 26-yard punt from Bryce Baringer. Rookie kicker Chad Ryland missed another kick, this time wide left from 48 yards out.
Additionally, Jabrill Peppers had some issues in the return game — fair catching a punt at the five-yard line and muffing another ball later in the game. Ty Montgomery also failed to reach the 25 on either of his kick returns.
Loser: Health. Like last week, the beatings didn't just come on the field for the Patriots as they saw a handful of players depart with injuries. On the offensive side of the ball, they lost receivers Demario Douglas and JuJu Smith-Schuster to head injuries. Michael Onwenu also departed early with an ankle injury. Late in the game, linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley then left with a shoulder injury.
Winner: New England’s Draft Pick. We’ll end with one silver lining here: at 1-4, the Patriots currently hold the No. 5 pick in the NFL Draft. While there is plenty of time to go, it’s looking like they’ll have a chance to add a serious talent next April (Hello, Drake Maye?). Now, time will tell who makes that selection.