3. Mike Owenu
Elliott wasn’t the only Patriots running back who struggled, as Rhamondre Stevenson did too. And that’s because the offensive line was horrid.
The O-line failed to protect Jones, who had Cowboys pass-rushers in his face every drive when he was in at QB. It couldn’t create rushing lanes, either, leading to a lackluster outing on the ground.
Perhaps the biggest offender on the O-line? Right guard Mike Owenu.
The RG’s disappointing start to the 2023 season culminated in a disaster on Sunday. He committed 3 costly penalties in the second quarter that helped turn the game in Dallas’ favor for good.
First, he was called for a false start on 3rd-and-10 early in the second quarter that backed New England up. JuJu Smith-Schuster’s 14-yard reception on the next play should’ve been a first down, but instead resulted in a 4th-and-1 that wasn’t converted.
When the Pats got the ball back, they were only down 10-3 and still firmly in the contest. However, Owenu then made another false start gaffe, taking New England from its own 10 to its own 5-yard line.
That dangerous territory gave the Cowboys the perfect opportunity to create a scoring opportunity on defense, and they did just that on Jones’ strip-sack. The QB shouldn’t have been operating just outside of his own end zone, but Owenu’s penalty gave him no other choice.
And to cap off his unbelievably bad quarter, Owenu’s third flag — a holding call — negated a 12-yard pickup from Stevenson just before halftime that made things even more difficult for the offense, which turned the ball over again later on.
In one quarter, Owenu eclipsed or tied his penalty totals from 2021 (3) and 2022 (2). He’s already up to a career-high 4 flags on the year, which just speaks to the disappointment that has been New England’s offensive line in 2023.
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