What was shaping into a gritty comeback performance quickly became one of the most crushing defeats in the Belichick era. An egregious officiating error to allow the game-tying touchdown scored by Raiders wideout Keelan Cole to stand, followed by a horrific gaffe committed by Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers with no time remaining in regulation, cost the Patriots a chance at overtime and produced one of the most viral clips in NFL history.
The final play has been the main talking point from the game thus far, but this match really has a lot of meat on the bone so let’s get right into the main takeaways.
Where to even begin with this offensive performance?
I’ll start with the quarterback. This was possibly Jones’ worst performance of his career. Mac was late on the first throw of the game and then missed two throws to his right on the opening drive. It really did not get much better as Jones finished with a 52.1 passer rating and a 12.2 QBR.
The most concerning part about this performance is that Jones was mostly untouched by the Raiders pass rush. Jones was not sacked once and was hit only five times on 31 dropbacks. He consistently missed open receivers, threw too many tantrums and was not level-headed enough to play quality football. Check out the top football betting strategies.
The blame for the lack of production on offense starts with the coaching, but Jones did himself no favors in this game. It is clear that he let his emotions influence his game on the field, and if this offense is going to get any better moving forward, Jones needs to be a better field general than he has been the last three games.
The last play of the game has overshadowed a lot of critical self-inflicted errors the Patriots had this game. The goal-to-go situation at the beginning of the second quarter was as bad as it gets.
Before that possession, the Raiders defense had allowed 14 touchdowns out of 14 attempts on goal-to-go situations inside the five-yard line this season. The Patriots were the first team not to be able to score a touchdown on the Raiders in that situation, and it was embarrassing.
With the ball on the two-yard line, the Patriots ran three straight plays from the shotgun formation. A timeout was taken from the Patriots sideline to wipe out a Jakobi Meyers touchdown. Another timeout was taken before the fourth downplay because the play was late coming in from the sidelines. Jones then scored on a quarterback sneak but was too quick and did not let tight end Jonnu Smith get set, resulting in a false start that negated the score. It was mistake after mistake after mistake.
Not to mention the second-to-last offensive possession for the Patriots. One first down would have significantly lowered the Raiders’ chances of a comeback, and two first downs would have ended the game.
The Patriots decided to play scared, running it two times and getting called for a false start. And on third down, a naked bootleg was called for Jones to attempt to run for the first down on third and ten. There was not even an attempt to win the game on that drive.
An encouraging sign from the loss was the Patriots defensive performance against a solid Raiders offense. The Patriots defense did an excellent job in disguising their blitzes, and an injury-riddled secondary held up to one of the best receivers in the league.
Rookie cornerback Marcus Jones had an excellent game covering wideout Devante Adams. He had safety help over the top, but he is still one of the best receivers in the game, and Jones had several key pass breakups while guarding Adams. He deserves a lot of credit for his performance. Check out the top football odds.
Safety Kyle Duggar had an amazing pick-six on the Raiders second offensive play coming out of the half. The amount of film work that had to be done to identify that formation and play, and the athletic ability to break on the ball and intercept a wide receiver screen play and take it to the house is truly special.
Third-year edge rusher Josh Uche continues to impress with his array of pass-rushing moves. He forced a fumble on a Carr sack that was recovered by the Raiders, and had a couple key pressures in the second half. The Patriots have some young studs on the defensive side of the ball that, hopefully, Patriots fans can look forward to watching.
The Patriots’ chances at the playoffs are in their own hands, but the road ahead is nearly as challenging as it gets. Two home matchups against the red hot Cincinatti Bengals and division rival Miami Dolphins await them, as well as the season finale in Buffalo.
If the Patriots defy all odds and win out, they are in the playoffs. According to FiveThirtyEight, the Patriots playoff chances stand at a meager 21 per cent.
After a heart-crushing loss like this, it would be a miracle if they ran the table.
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