7-Things for



Patriots Game


7-Things For Jets: Part I.

By Tom Mahoney

1. One Step Up And Two Steps Back: Part One- The loss to the Cowboys was expected. What wasn’t expected was Mac Jones taking two steps up and one step back. This week was a giant step up in his progression to the next Brady (we can only hope;). I also have to mansplain how wonderfully great Mac was last week, because he’s a rookie. He showed something that most Rookie QBs never see. Something positively Brady-like (we can only hope and pray).

“It was a tough one to lose tonight. Yeah, it was a good football team. Give Dallas credit,” BB said. “They're a good team. They're well-coached. I know we just came up a little bit short. Thought that we went toe to toe with them for 60 minutes and we just couldn't. They just made a few more plays than we did. So give them credit for that.”
Mac Jones stepped it up last week in a totally Brady fashion. He just wasn’t able to finish. Like we expect from most rookies. But he showed that clutch that you can’t teach in this Game. You either have it or you don’t. There are a lot of things that made Brady the GOAT, but it all started with he’s got it. He engineered game winning drives like he was making commercials for a construction company. This season is not about the Super Bowl, it’s about starting the process to turn Mac Jones into a Super Bowl winning QB.
“I think just you want to try and get in a rhythm. We did that sometimes during the game, but we've got to just play complementary football better, and the offense has to complement the defense, and special teams has to be involved in it, as well. I left a lot of plays on the field, but we did fight hard. When you look at the big picture, you never want to say you're close, and it's hard to do that, but the games that we've lost we've been two or three plays away, and I guess it's just how the NFL works, and I'm learning that the hard way.

“We can't hang our heads, we just have to come back tomorrow, get up early and come back to work.”
Cowboys scored to start the 4th Quarter, or the QB’s Quarter. The difference between a good and a great QB is the 4th Quarter. Ironically. Mac went under center to start the 4th Quarter with 13:13 on the clock. They lined up in a Weak formation and motioned the RB out of the backfield, leaving the RB offset to the Weakside behind Mac (it looked strange;). Mac dropped back eyeing Jacobi (as he should on every play;). He threw it high and inside. Meyers caught it and fell forward for the 1st.

1st and 10 from the Pats 41. They bring in a lot of beef in a big Singleback. He hands it off to my guy Rhamondre Stevenson (who I said was a plug and play RB, because he was great in pass pro!?! And yes he was great in pass pro at Oklahoma. I don’t know what happened;). Mac gives him the ball., and the O-line crumpled. A TE fell down, and at least three OLs (I’m not naming names, but 71, 75, 72) missed blocks. He slammed into the Weakside for a cloud of dust, or so…

2nd and 8, this was the play where the clock ran down for no good reason, and Mac had to call time out. And in beautiful Brady-like fashion screamed F-U-C-K at the sideline as he walked off. 2nd and 8, Pats lined up in a 3-Wide Singleback. He handed off the Stevenson, who strangled the ball as he ran through the line for another cloud of dust.

3rd and 3, 4-Wide Weak Shotgun. They motion Henry to the strongside, right on the Seam. He had a great release, and skipped inside a little to lose the DB. Mac hit Bolden on the other side for the 1st.

1st and 10 at Midfield, Pats line up in in the same shotgun formation they motioned into the previous play. Jonnu Smith chipped blocked the Edge again and went down the numbers, again. Stevenson (the best RB in blitz pickup from last year’s Draft;) fell down in pass pro. Hunter Henry missed his block on the OLB, who hit Mac as he threw. The ball wobbled out to nowhere like a wounded duck.

2nd and 10, Mac went back to Singleback, with the blocking failing all around him and the clock clicking down. He handed the ball to Harris, who had to dodge two defenders in the backfield as Ferentz and Jonnu missed blocks. Harris had a great run of two yards. 2nd and 8, Pats flow back into a 4-Wide Strong Shotgun. Bolden got in a great chip on the Edge. Mac has a completely clean pocket. He waited. Then threw a beauty to Jacobi crossing two yards behind the marker. He caught it easy, as the Safety slammed him into the dirt.

1st and 10 at Dallas’ 43, Tight Singleback. Harris blasted off right up the middle like William Shatner going into space. He rumbled past the marker before anyone could touch him. Then bumbled forward anther ten yards, before Karras could slammed into the pile and knocked him forward. Then he stumbled down at the 16, with bodies strewn across the dead-end street.

1st and 10, Mac went back to the Singleback (I didn’t realize that rhythmed until I edited this like a dyslexic;). Jacob Johnson (who was also terrific on this Drive) motioned inside. Mac handed it to Harris. He sprinted outside till he was tripped up inside the Ten. 2nd and 4, Twin-WRs Weak, Singleback. Stevenson in the game. Mac had a major issue as he tried to snap it. My guy ( N’Keal) was supposed to motion and forgot for a few seconds. Mac stamped his foot repeatedly. Then has to throw the ball away.

2nd and 10, let’s do it again, Can the Rookie QB overcome, late in the 4th, a frustrating mental error by a teammate? 99% of the time not a chance. But this is my main man (I had him picked for the Pats) and Brady Wannabe Mac Jones. They go Shotgun. He calmly handed it off to Harris who slammed inside the Five, with Ted Karras and Ferentz slamming defenders down infront of him.

1st and Goal from the Four, Mac handed it to Harris, who cut back, and fell down at the One. 2nd and Goal from the One. Gigantic Singleback, with everyone on the Line except Stevenson. Mac handed him the ball, and like a guided missile he slammed into the line, knocking three Defenders on their butts, for as impressive a TD run as you will ever see. Mac led the Pats down for as impressive a 4th Quarter winning Drive as you will ever see. Pats-21. Boys-20.

“That's part of the game. I could have got the ball out quicker, and that's on me. I'll watch the film and figure out ways I can, A, get the ball out quicker or figure out ways to get it out or change the play or whatever,” Mac said. “I'll talk about that with the offense and find ways to where if I know it's a look that we don't want how we can change it or whatever, but it's part of the game, and I don't think that hit, of course it hurts, but you've just got to get up and play the next play. It's part of football, and that's the fun part.”
2. Oops- Unfortunately this ain’t paradise. The Pats D stopped Dallas cold. Then they missed a Field Goal. That’s the Game. Mac’s game winning drive in the 2nd half of the 4th Quarter was as great as it gets. Rookie QBs don’t lead their teams downfield for game winning drive in the 4th. Mac did that in this game. Then Dallas drove down to take the lead, and missed the field goal. In just, an explosive play of losing.

“Whatever they call, I execute it and give everybody a chance to execute the play,” Mac said. “That's going to happen a lot more, hopefully, in my career. Where you have a bad play, and you come back and you make a good one. So it's not always going to be perfect. You've got to dodge the ebbs and flows and just play the next play.”
What Mac did next is so special that it could only be called Brady-like. After engineering a 4th Quarter game-winning drive (this is a good news bad news thing;) the Pats decided to put the pedal to the medal, instead of run out the clock. This was in the Alternate-Realty mode, where everything goes right while at the same time, destroys everything you accomplished this week.

“I think you hit the reset button and stick to my rules and stick to what I've been taught. You can't feel sorry for yourself, and sometimes it's out of your control or sometimes it's completely your fault,” Mac said. “I wish I could have done things differently to where we weren't even in that position. I just have to watch the tape and learn from it. It's not the first pick six I'll throw and it's not going to be the last, so I have to learn how to bounce back and play the next play.”

The Pats lined up in a Twins-Right Singleback, with 2:42 to go and a 1-point lead. If Mac can do everything right? The Pats win, and as we know he did, and they didn’t. But in 99% of game that are actually played in reality, this is Mac’s unprecedented SECOND game winning Drive in the 4th Quarter against the Dallas Cowboys, for a rookie QB starting his sixth game. That is unprecedented clutch play for a rookie. Even Brady couldn’t do that (granted it was because he didn’t play as a rookie, but still;).  

1st and 10 from the 41, they hand it to Harris in an attempted Off Tackle run. But he gets swarmed over by three guys. They have a false start. 2nd and 15, and Mac finally looked like a Rookie QB playing in a Game winning situation for the 1st time. He overthrew Kendrick Bourne by about a half foot or so, and the ball slips off his fingers right into the greedy hands of Diggs. It was not a terrible throw by Mac, but it was just bad enough to slip off his WR’s fingertips.

“I think when I watch the film, I always want to find ways I can do something better, and I'm sure there was something I could do better on a lot of plays, and that play was one of them. You've just got to play the next play and you're only as good as your last play,” Mac said. “At the same time, you've got to move on and just execute the play that's called. I could do that better, and I will, and we can't just hang our heads. We've got to keep working, and no one is going to feel sorry for ourselves because that never works. You can get humbled every week, and you've just got to move on to the next week, and we'll be ready to play next week."

However, the Defense steps up and stopped the 2-point conversion: Pats-21, Dallas-26. Mac has to come out and engineer another Game Winning Drive late in the 4th. That is as near unprecedented, for a rookie QB as you can get. He already drove them down once in the 4th, for what looked like a game winning Drive. No rookie could ever do that again. Especially Brady (because he didn’t play as a rookie;). Rookie QBs have had game winning Drive in the 4th, but I never heard of two by a rookie before.

“I think when I watch the film, I always want to find ways I can do something better, and I'm sure there was something I could do better on a lot of plays, and that play was one of them. You've just got to play the next play and you're only as good as your last play,” Mac said about his 2nd game winning drive in the game. “At the same time, you've got to move on and just execute the play that's called. I could do that better, and I will, and we can't just hang our heads. We've got to keep working, and no one is going to feel sorry for ourselves because that never works. You can get humbled every week, and you've just got to move on to the next week, and we'll be ready to play next week.”

Okay, 4th quarter, after the Rookie Mac and the Offense string together a Game winning drive in the 4th already. Dallas got a Pick Six to go up five, 21-26, with 2:27 on the Clock. It is impossible for a rookie QB to do it again, in the NFL. The Pats lined up in 4-Wide Weak shotgun, with Kendrick Bourne in the slot, and Hunter Henry outside of him.  Henry motioned inside next to the OLT Herron.

Diggs backed off of Bourne on Mac’s left, but inside the Numbers. Bourne angled outside as he ran past the LB, like a WR would, who was lined up in the slot with had no DB lined up outside of him. Diggs was looking for him to use the space outside. Instead, he took a few steps angling outside. Diggs bit, and Bourne burst inside towards the Logo at Midfield. Mac, who had the best touch of all the QB in last year’s Draft, threw as beautiful a placed ball as you will ever see. He played it perfectly between the Safety and Diggs. Diggs slowed, seeing the Safety charging and leaping up to catch it.

But the pass was placed perfectly on Diggs side, not the Safeties. Bourne reached out elegantly and grabbed at full speed, and he was gone. Then he out played both DBs to the ball. Reach up and snagged it as easy as pie and outside Diggs to the Endzone. By the way, all this was done with three starters out on the Offensive Line. It just keeps getting more and more impressive. Whether you are a Mac Fan or not. That is two, what looked like at time, game winning drives by a rookie QB in the 4th. Unprecedented.

“I think that's the ebbs and flows of football,” Mac Jones said. “You've just got to play the next play and do your job to the best of your ability. I left some plays on the field, but it is what it is.”

He took two big steps forward last week. This week? He took his two biggest steps forward yet, in unprecedented way, for a rookie QB. With a rookie QB it’s not about winning (next year, it will be only about winning;). This year it is about taking those baby-steps after baby-steps to hopefully someday become a Super Bowl winning QB. Mac is taking those steps faster and clutcher than any QB I have ever seen. If he continues to improve at this rate, he should be another great Super Bowl winning QB for the Pats. I won’t say Brady-like career-wise. But he has a lot of the traits that made Brady the Greatest.

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