FOXBORO — The place has this crew been all season?
The Patriots shocked the world Sunday with a 29-25 upset win over their AFC East-rival Payments at Gillette Stadium.
It was simply the Patriots’ second win of the yr and the primary time they’ve scored greater than 20 factors this season.
Down 25-22, quarterback Mac Jones led an eight-play, 75-yard scoring drive. Jones hit tight finish Mike Gesicki on a 1-yard landing cross.
“The best way Buffalo performs down there, it’s actually onerous to throw the ball on the objective line,” head coach Invoice Belichick stated. “They did an actual good job of taking the objective line away. You form of acquired to throw behind them into the again of the top zone, you recognize, with a flag or some sort of play within the again end-line sort of factor. As a result of on the objective line, they’re actually aggressive they usually – you recognize, it’s simply onerous to stuff the ball in there. So it was a great throw. An excellent, excessive throw towards that protection is form of what you’ll want to do once they play like that.”
The most important play of the drive got here on the primary snap, when working again Rhamondre Stevenson took a catch-and-run 34 yards downfield. Officers threw a flag on the play for ineligible man downfield on heart David Andrews, however it was picked up. The Patriots moved the ball to the 1-yard line on a cross from Jones to rookie large receiver Demario Douglas. Douglas caught the ball on the 1-yard line, however the Payments additionally had been charged with defensive cross interference on the play. The Patriots took the penalty to avoid wasting time on the clock.
The Patriots had almost choked the sport away.
Up 22-10 with 7:40 left within the fourth quarter, the Payments shortly put collectively a five-play, 75-yard drive in simply two minutes and 4 seconds. Quarterback Josh Allen, whereas getting hit, delivered a downfield strike to large receiver Stefon Diggs. Diggs slid to the bottom, making the catch, however didn’t get touched down. He shortly acquired as much as scamper into the top zone to make the sport 22-17.
Jones and the offense held the ball for simply 36 seconds on their ensuing drive earlier than large receiver Kendrick Bourne caught a 9-yard cross from Jones and fumbled the ball away to the Payments.
The Payments took their time with an eight-play, 29-yard drive ending with a 1-yard QB sneak landing from Allen. A profitable two-point try put the Payments forward 25-22.
Following embarrassing losses in consecutive weeks to the Cowboys, Saints and Raiders, the Patriots got here out trying like a good NFL crew Sunday towards the Payments.
Jones put collectively a nine-play, 63-yard drive, getting Douglas and tight finish Pharaoh Brown concerned early, earlier than the Patriots slowed down as soon as they acquired contained in the purple zone. Nonetheless, the Patriots acquired out to an early 3-0 lead with a 30-yard discipline objective by rookie kicker Chad Ryland.
The Payments’ first offensive play was a turnover. Allen didn’t see Patriots security Jabrill Peppers in zone protection and threw an interception on a throw supposed for tight finish Dawson Knox.
The Patriots responded with a seven-play, 45-yard scoring drive that culminated with a 2-yard dashing plunge by Ezekiel Elliott to make the rating 10-0. Douglas, as soon as once more, was concerned closely because the Patriots efficiently moved the ball downfield, catching passes of 10 and 16 yards from Jones.
It was the very best the Patriots had appeared all season.
Jones completed the sport 25-of-30 for 272 yards with two passing touchdowns and no interceptions.
“It’s only a crumb, proper? That’s what I at all times say,” Jones stated about his efficiency within the win. “And also you’ve acquired to construct off that. You’ve acquired to construct off that and assault day-after-day the identical.”
The Patriots did decelerate, nonetheless, Their protection allowed a 13-play, 66-yard drive that ended with a Tyler Bass discipline objective earlier than each groups traded three-and-outs.
Douglas as soon as once more made an affect with a 25-yard punt return, resulting in a five-play, 40-yard discipline objective scoring drive to make the rating 13-3. Bourne picked up 33 of these 40 yards on a catch-and-run.
A gust of wind blew one other discipline objective try from Bass large proper earlier than the top of the half. Defensive sort out Christian Barmore helped push the try again with a 7-yard sack on the drive.
The Payments acquired the ball to begin the second half and put collectively a powerful 10-play, 81-yard march that ended with an 8-yard landing cross from Allen to working again James Cook dinner, reducing the Patriots’ result in 13-10.
The Patriots responded with a scoring drive of their very own. Ryland knocked by means of his third discipline objective after a nine-play, 44-yard drive to make the rating 16-10. Douglas had the most important play of the sequence with a 20-yard jet sweep run.
The protection pressured a turnover on downs after key cross breakups from cornerback J.C. Jackson and linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley. Jones then led the Patriots on a nine-play, 66-yard scoring drive, hitting Bourne on a 4-yard landing cross. Brown caught his second 25-plus yard catch to assist transfer the Patriots down the sector. He completed with two catches for 51 yards.
Bourne caught six passes on seven targets for 63 yards with the landing catch and fumble.
QB Mac Jones: This was an enormous second for Jones, who had simply the second game-winning drive and fourth-quarter comeback of his profession.
WR Demario Douglas: The rookie slot receiver caught three passes for 35 yards, added a 20-yard run and returned a punt for 25 yards.
S Jabrill Peppers: The veteran security had some missed tackles, however he got here up large on the Patriots’ first defensive play with an interception. He’s been a takeaway machine this season, forcing a fumble Week 1 and inflicting an interception in Week 6.
Key personnel adjustments: Transferring Mike Onwenu to proper sort out and Sidy Sow to proper guard helped settle what had been a brutal offensive line. Rotating cornerback Jack Jones with Jonathan Jones additionally improved the Patriots’ protection.
Tackling: So many key performs by the Payments had been spurred by poor tackling makes an attempt from the Patriots. That’s one space the place the Patriots may want to return to fundamentals this week.
WR Kendrick Bourne’s fumble: Bourne in any other case performed very nicely however almost gave the sport away to the Payments.