However, beyond the fleeting clutch moments, there are a lot of little details that were off in this game for Jones, who had moments where his movement in the pocket stalled, causing a loss of pressure on the ball, in instances where the ball was placed at little cost. A little, and a little hesitating at times, and the Mac still feels limited in extended playback or second-hand feedback.
Several factors beyond the quarterback’s control contributed to Sunday’s loss. We could get Belichick to make his overall decisions on roster construction from fourth down or pick fouls on situational play calling by O’Brien (I didn’t like third down screens).
Ultimately, better-than-average quarterbacks find ways to win games like the one in which they have two chances to take the lead in the fourth quarter, and the great ones overcome mistakes like early catches, drops, and bad breaks that come their way. Throughout the game and the season.
The offense put good stuff on film in the opener (see audio breakdown above) which was good enough that it’s too early to write this group off after one loss, especially when they’re missing some pieces. However, after giving Mac a pass because of the coaching setup last year, she vowed that this would be an excuse-free zone in Jones’ third year. Mac was adequate, but he needed to be more precise with the details, otherwise the oscillation would continue.
Here are two takeaways and quick film notes from the Patriots’ loss to the Eagles on Sunday:
1. How the Patriots defense shut down Philly’s read option schemes
Often times, when you run film after a defensive performance that was viewed as dominant, you see all the offensive plays left on the field. In other words, it wasn’t as good as it first seemed because the crime was foul.
While this wasn’t an Eagles offense firing on all cylinders early in the season, the Pats’ defense was legit in this game. Their defensive front won the game against an elite offensive line by pressuring QB Jalen Hurts on over 42 percent of his dropbacks, holding Philly to a 3.9 rushing average, and varying coverages of defensive play caller Steve Belichick on the backend to keep Philly on top. -0.15 expected points added per game (22nd percentile) – This was the performance against the best offense and an MVP-caliber quarterback everyone wanted to see.
Along with some well-timed blitzes that led to positive plays for the defense, it was also encouraging to see the Patriots have answers to the running game designed for the quarterback. The Eagles tried to hurt the Pats on the ground with repeated plays in losses to the Ravens and Bears in the 2022 season, with both offenses running gap-read concepts like counter-reading. Gap reads are bearish charts that typically feature pullers as lead blockers rather than zone reads. Historically, gap periods have created problems with New England’s two-gap system.
Last season, the Patriots’ defense ranked 28th in the NFL, allowing 6.1 yards per designed rush attempt to the quarterback. On Sunday, the Eagles had just 46 yards on 13 carries with a pick and an average of 3.5 yards, showing real progress for Belichick’s defense.
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