4 Keys from Patriots opening loss to Miami

by 24USATVSept. 13, 2021, 1 a.m. 18
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With his first start, the Mac Jones era has begun in New England as Josh McDaniels eased the rookie in by leaning on the ground game early and letting Mac get a bit adjusted. In the second quarter, Jones would deliver the first touchdown pass of his career, a seven-yarder to Nelson Agholor that put the Pats up 10-7.

Jones showed surprising chemistry with Agholor after a summer that saw limited connections between the two. None of them were better than a second-and-15 throw by Jones where he stood in the pocket and delivered a nice downfield throw to the outside receiver.

The rookie would top that throw with a beautiful third-down conversion for 26 yards to James White in the third quarter. It was a critical play and a huge moment as the rookie started to gain some confidence as the game went on.

He'd need that confidence on the next drive early in the fourth quarter as Jones would stare down two big third-down conversions, one to Hunter Henry and another to James White. A third targeting Jakobi Meyers would fall incomplete, forcing the Pats to settle for a field goal. Still, with the team behind in the fourth quarter, the rookie quarterback helped grind out a 14-play scoring drive in crunch time to close the gap to a one-point game.

After a Jonathan Jones interception, Jones and the offense would take over and the rookie QB would again deliver a big third-down conversion, this time to Jakobi Meyers.

It was a solid debut for Jones, who showed the poise and anticipation that won him the job. Unfortunately, he could not do enough to help the offense put more points on the board.

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