The New England Patriots’ offense had plenty of critics during their Thursday night loss to the Buffalo Bills, and that group apparently included starting quarterback Mac Jones.
The second-year quarterback was seen making an irate statement on the Patriots’ sideline in the final minutes of the 24-10 defeat, with amateur lip-readers interpreting it as “Throw the f***ing ball! F***ing” [unclear] game sucks! F***!”
Whatever was said, Jones had plenty of reason to be frustrated.
The Patriots offense mustered only 242 total yards against the Bills, but the real struggles were in a hopelessly conservative passing game. Playing from behind for most of the night, Jones managed only 4.9 yards per pass attempt with 30 of his 36 throws targeted within 10 yards from the line of scrimmage.
Even when the Patriots were driving while down 24-7 with less than eight minutes left, offensive play-caller Matt Patricia opted to go for a quick pass after a quick pass. The yardage gained on each of Jones’ completions during the drive: 19, 3, 7, 8, 9, 4, 12, 6.
The drive ended up going 17 plays for 57 yards and eating 5:45 off the game clock. The ultimate result was a white-flag field goal, with the Bills kneeling the game out on the ensuing drive. Jones finished the game 22-of-36 for 195 yards and one touchdown.
Mac Jones address angry moment during Patriots-Bills
Asked about his apparent anger after the game, Jones said he lost his temper over the decision to focus on short passes when the team clearly needed bigger plays.
“Obviously just kinda letting my emotions get to me, but we’re kinda playing from behind and what I said was about throwing it deeper in the short game. I’ve got to execute that part better, but it’s the short game that we Kept going to, which was working, but I felt like we needed chunk plays. I shouted that out to kinda get everyone going and that’s emotional, that’s football. I’m passionate about this game.
“Obviously you don’t want to let your emotions get the best of you, but I think that’s pretty much it. It wasn’t directed at anybody, just emotion coming out and we kinda needed a spark.”
The Patriots’ offensive futility and Jones’ regression from a promising rookie year have been entwined narratives for much of the season, and Jones criticizing the team’s play-calling, while acknowledging he could have played better, represents another low for a team that fell to 6-6 on Thursday.
The biggest target of blame has been the Patriots’ offensive coaching staff. The two biggest figures there appear to be two failed head coaches and New England retreads: Patricia, officially the team’s offensive line coach, and Joe Judge, the quarterbacks coach. Neither man had much experience on offense at all before this season (the lone experience belonging to Patricia, all the way back in 2005 when he was New England’s assistant offensive line coach), and it is certainly showing.
Of course, at some point, the blame probably rests with the man who put them in charge.