Mac Jones Grade: B
Sounds about right, huh? Rookie Mac Jones, the leagues steady Eddy, has consistently had B to B+ performances for his Patriots this year. Coming into today he was fourth in the league in completion percentage at over 70. Today, he finally had an inefficient outing in the face of a stout Charger pass rush. He was well under 50% on pass attempts and inaccurate through most of the afternoon in southern California.
Though he ended nice and strong in the fourth quarter to finish just over 50% passing, hitting critical throws when New England needed them to win. But in an even bigger story long term, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels answered calls of many in the Patriot community, opening up the playbook, taking the training wheels off Jones and letting him uncork it downfield early.
With Chargers cornerback Michael Davis out, he picked a good time as Jones saw some newfound success with the deep ball. First, six minutes in the game when Jones threw a dot to Nelson Agholor on a deep post to set up a touchdown. Good for the deepest completion of his young career. A quarter later he found former LA Charger himself in tight end Hunter Henry (there's that revenge narrative subject again) on a deep crosser for 33 yards to set up a Patriot field goal.
Though unlike Herbert, Jones clearly has limitations throwing down the field, Patriot nation can still sleep easier at night having physically seen McDaniels open up the playbook for Jones and see success. Now, it's more important to note the Chargers league worse run defense was seen again on Sunday.
Damien Harris and company got chunk play after chunk play, especially late, setting up critical manageable second and third downs. The Patriot offensive line finally looked formidable for the first time since the preseason. A combination of a healthy group coming together and getting the bad Charger run D.
Big picture, although no one in their right mind would take Jones over a Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields to build around for the next ten years, all the draft talk about him being the most pro ready with the most immediate upside pre and post snap, is beyond valid.
He's certainly overachieving with this less-than-ideal talent, particularly on offense, highlighted with his statement moment of the season in Los Angeles. His first W versus a team with a real pulse, having previously just beaten the Jets and Texans