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Patriots stock up, stock down after Week 1 loss: Mac Jones rises; Bill Belichick, coaching staff fall

The New England Patriots started their 2021 common season with a 17-16 loss by the hands of the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium. Whereas the Week 1 loss wasn’t precisely the observe Invoice Belichick and firm wished to start the 12 months on, there have been actually some encouraging indicators — notably below heart — that present some optimism as they stay up for the 16 video games forward of them. 

Earlier than turning our full consideration to New England’s Week 2 contest with the New York Jets, let’s take a last look again on the season-opening loss and consider a handful of Patriots’ performances. Beneath, you may see which members noticed their inventory go up following Week 1 and who’ll look to show the tide as quickly as this weekend. 

All in all, you could not ask for a significantly better debut from Jones. The No. 15 general decide accomplished 29 of his 39 passes for 281 yards and a landing with zero turnovers. Sure, there have been some rookie jitters early, which almost resulted in turning the ball over on the opening drive, however Jones settled down as the sport went on and was in a position to put collectively some extraordinarily spectacular throws, like this completely positioned ball on a wheel path to James White

Jones was notably robust towards the blitz, finishing 14 of his 18 throws for 112 yards (h/t Andrew Callahan of the Boston Herald). Within the fourth quarter, Jones was in a critical groove, finishing 9 of his 11 throws for 53 yards to assist New England transfer down the sector. That is about pretty much as good of a primary impression as you may make.  

Stevenson had himself fairly the summer season, however an early turnover acquired his NFL profession off on bitter observe. On New England’s second offensive possession of the day, Stevenson hauled in a brief move from Mac Jones and wound up fumbling the soccer with the Dolphins recovering in Patriots territory. The rookie again was basically benched after that turnover, which then put a ton of labor solely on Damien Harris‘ shoulders. Harris could possibly be seen tapping out of assorted performs late within the recreation to get some relaxation, and you can argue fatigue was a think about his game-losing fumble in the fourth quarter. Placing the ball on the bottom was a critical problem for the Patriots within the opener, however Stevenson’s proved to be a killer for what it meant the remainder of the sport.  

It wasn’t a very robust recreation by the Patriots secondary because it gave up quite a few chunk performs down the sector, however Phillips was a shiny spot in that unit. The security — who completed with three tackles (two for a loss) — was in a position to come up clutch on quite a few events within the opener, notably on the second defensive sequence within the third quarter. 

After Miami opened the half up with a landing drive and the Patriots countered with a discipline aim to chop the deficit to 17-13, Phillips was instrumental in forcing a three-and-out at hand the ball again to the offense. He and Kyle Van Noy mixed to sort out working again Salvon Ahmed for a three-yard loss to start the defensive stand, after which he appeared two performs later with one other sort out for a loss to drive a 4th-and-15 punt. Whereas the Patriots have been unable to take the lead — as a substitute settling for an additional discipline aim on the subsequent possession — Phillips helped put them able to win the sport. 

Beginning offensive sort out Trent Brown went down early with a calf damage, which thrust Herron in at proper sort out to alleviate him. It wasn’t precisely clean crusing for the 25-year-old, who was continuously getting beat by his defender, which left Jones susceptible to quite a few hits (took 9 within the opener). Herron was even benched late within the recreation because the Patriots turned to Yasir Durant — a 2020 undrafted prospect who arrived in a commerce with the Chiefs on Sept. 1 — as a consequence of his struggles. Fortuitously, Brown’s calf damage doesn’t seem critical, so New England might not must depend on the Herron-Durant mixture at proper sort out going ahead. 

Agholor and Jones had a superb rapport within the opener, which is a good signal for a place group that’s going to be below the microscope this season. The free agent addition caught 5 of his seven targets for a team-high 72 yards and a landing. 4 of these 5 catches resulted in first downs. 

Down: Invoice Belichick, teaching employees

The Patriots led the Dolphins in time of possession, complete yards and first downs; Jones threw zero interceptions; Nick Folk hit all of his kicks; and the protection even generated a turnover. And but, New England nonetheless misplaced the sport. That was due to quite a few self-inflicted wounds, like 4 fumbles (two misplaced) and eight penalties for 84 yards. That has to fall on the shoulders of the teaching employees, and can have to be sorted out if the Patriots wish to severely contend for the division this season. 

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The Mac Jones period in New England has begun following the gorgeous launch of Cam Newton. How will the rookie fare this season and what does it imply for the remainder of the Patriots’ gamers? Download the CBS Sports app to search out out! Plus, get perception from our resident Patriots insider, Tyler Sullivan. If you have already got the CBS Sports activities app, be certain that to choose the Patriots as your favourite staff for up-to-the-minute information.

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