FOXBORO, Mass. — Mac Jones was extremely hard on himself after the Patriots’ season-opening loss to the Eagles on Sunday. Honestly, he probably shouldered far more blame than he needed to after having one of the best statistical games of his career.
But Jones’ teammates sang a different tune after New England’s 25-20 loss to Philadelphia. Each player who spoke to reporters praised Jones for playing well after what was a disastrous start to Tom Brady Night.
Matthew Judon: “I think, as a quarterback, that’s how you gotta come up here and talk to (reporters). But we don’t care about that. Mac went out there and played his butt off. It was unfortunate we got a couple bad calls, we got a couple penalties here and there. We can’t put that loss on Mac. Mac played his butt off, and every opportunity he had, he made them count.”
Hunter Henry: “I’ll just say this about Mac, man. I’ll go to battle with number 10 any day of the week. I love competing with that guy every single day, and I’ll go to war with him wherever it is, man — conditions cold, rainy, beautiful day, a hot day, whatever it is. The dude’s a competitor, and it’s fun to go out there and play with a guy like that.”
Mike Gesicki: “Mac played great all day. He was locked in and was putting the ball where it had to go. I love having 10 back there as our leader. He was locked in all day from the first down.”
Demario Douglas: “Good job. I say good job, because you hold your head high. That’s a hard job. Being a quarterback’s a hard job, especially with that D-line they have. He held his weight, and salute to him, for sure.”
Ezekiel Elliott: “Mac definitely balled out today. Lights were on and he was on. He did a great job. Started slow, but he got us going.”
Jones primarily was upset with his inability to convert on multiple game-winning opportunities late in the fourth quarter. Twice in the final minutes, the Patriots had a short field while trailing by five, and both times they came up empty.
Was it all Jones’ fault? No, of course not, but the loss continued New England’s troubling post-Brady trend of coming up just short in games against elite opponents.
“I’m sure everybody feels the same way that Mac does,” Bill Belichick said Monday morning. “If we had all done one or two things a little bit better, it could’ve made a difference.”
Jones and the Patriots will look for better results this Sunday night when they host the Miami Dolphins. A victory, depending on how it looks, could be considered the biggest of the 25-year-old’s career.