Mac-attack leads the New England Patriots to a blowout victory

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports /

The New England Patriots sharpshooting quarterback Mac Jones got back on track this afternoon, and led a 50-10 shellacking of a depleted Jacksonville Jaguars squad in Week 17.

After two disappointing and costly losses against the Indianapolis Colts and Buffalo Bills, Jones and the team rebounded big-time and ripped the Jaguars to shreds. With the win, the Patriots earned themselves a spot in the playoffs thanks to the Tennessee Titans defeating the Miami Dolphins.

In doing so, Jones became the first rookie quarterback since Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys in 2016 to lead his team into the playoffs. That’s good stuff.

The New England Patriots are in the playoffs and looking for more

Despite clinching a playoff spot today, the Patriots could have had more. Their previous two losses were costly, as they managed to lose not just the top spot in the AFC, but the top spot in the AFC East as well.

Those losses were certainly tough to swallow considering how well the team had been playing beforehand. But today’s win will help ease the pain. This victory helped clinch another playoff appearance for Bill Belichick, which is his 19th as a head coach. That ties him with former Dolphins head coach Don Shula for the all-time lead. Congrats to Belichick are certainly due.

After the Patriots aerial attack ripped the Jaguars to shreds in the first three quarters they fell off a bit in the fourth. Yet, the super accurate Jones finished with the game completing 22 of his 30 passes, with three resulting in touchdowns. That 73 percent completion percentage is more like the Jones we have become accustomed to seeing on a weekly basis.

Jones also showed solid mobility, completing passes on rollouts and proving NFL experts wrong in dissing his running ability. And while the offense’s fourth quarter performance was subpar, the damage was already done and the game was well in hand.

Yet, any drop-off is unacceptable when the team is one game away from the playoffs. Being totally sharp is the goal and sloppy play even in the final quarter of a blowout is not what Belichick was looking for.

Certainly, this will be fodder for some coaching up by Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, as the Patriots head to Miami to face their old nemesis in Week 18. Winning in Miami has never been an easy task for the Patriots, even during the halcyon days of the perennial Super Bowl contending Patriots under the leadership of Tom Brady.

This isn’t the same outfit without the All-Time best at the helm, but they are in the playoffs again after only a one-year hiatus, and that of itself is an accomplishment.

New England Patriots should be poised to step on the gas against Miami

Even having locked up a playoff spot, not everything will have been sewn up after the Week 17 games. Divisional titles, home-field advantage, and playoff seeds are still in play.

There will be no letdown on his players by Belichick after this blowout win. There shouldn’t be any slack at all provided by Belichick and his coaching staff. This is especially true after Jamie Collins essentially admitted that the team may have become a bit full of themselves when they were 9-4.

Three weeks ago, they were looking like a shoo-in to win the AFC East and maybe even take the top seed in the AFC itself. Their two poor performances prior to their blowout over Jacksonville today ruined their odds of pulling that off.

They’re now unlikely to win the AFC East due to the loss to Buffalo the week before, and unless the Bills somehow slip up against the New York Jets, the Pats will enter the playoffs as a Wild Card team.

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That’s quite a drop since being 9-4 the week before their bye. Post-bye week, they flopped and now will have a tough battle on Wild Card weekend for a chance to advance to the Divisional round.

Yet, the good news is that Jones has regained his superb accuracy and rekindled the fire in his arm, and the Patriots are back in the win column, albeit against likely the worst team in the league.

But, making the playoffs is making the playoffs, and the New England Patriots are in what Bill Parcells used to call “the Tournament”. And that’s a nice first step back to where they really want to be and that would be back on top of the entire NFL.