The headline pretty much says it all. But please indulge me as I set the record straight from what you’ve probably heard since Thursday and before this went into print. Starting with the Patriots’ offense:
The Hoodie was The Hoodie
Belichick SO mad Rivera calling timeouts at the end of Week 1 preseason 💀 pic.twitter.com/PlXa3mWOBo — Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) August 13, 2021
Cam Newton got the start, as we all knew he would. This is on script for Belichick – Cam started two series and was pulled. Just as we have seen in every first preseason game over the past twenty years. The vet – the starter gets two series then we move on. What happened over those two series is the story.
During the first series, he was unimpressive, three and out, and had to be saved on third and eight by the refs. Backed up deep in their own zone Newton was strip-sacked after Washington defensive end Chase Young demoralized Patriots left tackle Isaiah Wynn, then getting to Newton in a matter of milliseconds, and knocking the ball loose with a fantastic hit.
The refs gave the ball back to New England as Cam’s arm was moving forward as he was leveled.
.@MacJones_10 takes the field to a standing ovation in New England. 📺: #WASvsNE on @nflnetwork (or check your local listings) 📱: https://t.co/QXoNWCGPHr pic.twitter.com/8WWNk6p19V — NFL (@NFL) August 13, 2021
With just under a minute to go in the first quarter, rookie first-round pick, Mac Jones, made his NFL debut. Working almost exclusively with the second unit, Jones completed 13-of-19 attempts for 87 yards. Watching the game, some would say it was unimpressive. Jones dinked and dunked and took what the Washington defense gave him. In short, he managed the game. I LOVED IT.
Jones second-half start was better than his first half
Josh McDaniels went up-tempo to open the second half and Jones orchestrated a 53-yard scoring drive. Running no-huddle all the way down the field – well half the field. But it was most impressive (Vader Voice). He was accurate, he was on time, he made the throws he had to make. Everything McDaniels saw from his rookie Thursday night had to make him happy. From anticipation throws to play action, Jones came as advertised.
It's a @Patriots TD and Cam Newton is LOVING it! 🙌 📺: #WASvsNE on NFL Network (or check your local listings) pic.twitter.com/6y2DWYz7no — NFL Network (@nflnetwork) August 13, 2021
Damien Harris got the start and picked up where he left off last season. He had just four carries but averaged 4.2 yards per. Sony Michel had six totes and averaged 4.3 yards a carry. J.J. Taylor had two for ten but also caught five passes for 31 yards in an impressive effort. While James White reminded everyone why he is “Sweet Feet” putting up 22 yards on two catches out of the backfield.
The light show happened in the fourth quarter when Rhamondre Stevenson entered the game. Rhamondre had two touchdown runs including a 91-yard rumbling sprint down the sideline with just over a minute left in the game to put it away.
But in my opinion, not as impressive as the early fourth-quarter drive where he rumbled and stumbled for 28 yards on five plays and a TD from the one-yard line. True this all happened against guys who may be working for Amazon in three weeks, but this kid has a future.
Perfect call here dialing up a crack toss with WAS bringing the beef inside with 5 DL vs NE's 2 RB set. Wilkerson seals the DE and Jakob paves the way for Sony downfield. Great job by Ferentz crossing the NT's face and Wynn scaring the CB into submission lol pic.twitter.com/Sytm5uTg3a — Taylor Kyles (@tkyles39) August 13, 2021
Patriots O-Line of Demarcation
Make no mistake people, this Patriots offense will go as far as this group of fat men will take them. Isaiah Wynn started at left tackle, Michael Onwenu at left guard, the returning James Ferentz stepped in for injured captain David Andrews at center, Shaq Mason of course at right guard. And the mammoth Trent Brown at right tackle.
With the exception of Wynn getting embarrassed on the opening drive, the starting unit looked amazing last night. They kept one of the most talented defensive lines in football in check, they opened up holes and kept their quarterbacks for the most part clean. Trench War Won.
Weapons untested, Wide’s, Left Out
Mac Jones and Kristian Wilkerson have some chemistry 👀#Patriots | #GoPats | #NFL pic.twitter.com/93twvmRBtK — Tyler Milliken (@tylermilliken_) August 13, 2021
With the exception of Kristian Wilkerson who earned nine targets and caught six passes for 39 yards, it was a very conservative night for the Pats receivers group. TE Jonnu Smith had one catch. Likewise, Jakobi Meyers, Kendrick Bourne, Isaiah Zuber, and N’Keal Harry each had one grab.
The Patriots threw the ball just 30 times in the contest and most of those targets went to running backs. Nelson Agholor and Hunter Henry sat this one out. Sorry Charlie, if you were expecting a huge night from the wideouts, tonight wasn’t the night.
That’s it for the Patriots offense, I’ll be back with the defense and special teams later. As always follow/give me grief on Twitter @Tmurph207