Mac Jones overcame everybody and everything thrown at him.
The list is long. Here is the short list:
Patriots defense. Texans offense. The Patriots lack of emotion. Damien Harris’ fumble. J.C. Jackson’s poor coverage. Texans 3-for-3 on fourth down conversions.
Sure, a lot of those were hurdles in the first half, but it was Jones’ first half that allowed the second half to matter.
The Texans’ second half ineptitude – dumb timeouts, penalties, coaching decisions – of course, helped, too.
The Patriots are still a work in progress, mind you, but they have a quarterback who is mature beyond his years and where he was drafted – four dudes were drafted before him.
But Mac is the one.
He’s not perfect by any stretch, as we saw with a few floaters to opposing defenders, but he isn’t afraid of the stage. At all.
In fact, you could argue he is the Patriots Offensive MVP through almost 33 percent of the schedule.
It’s not just the stats – completing 71.1 percent of passes through five games and 23-for-30 in Houston – because a lot of his passes are conservative “shorties,” but it’s again getting points at the end of the half, it’s third down completions (7 of 9 versus the Texans), including the touchdown pass to Hunter Henry to tie score, it’s giving your team a chance in the fourth quarter.
The Patriots had no right being this game.
A fumble, an interference call and the inability to get one of the worst offenses, also led by a rookie quarterback, Davis Mills, made this one of the frustrating games of a frustrating season.
But Mac Jones never gave in, like rookies are prone to do.
The result is good for 2021, a second win versus three losses, but the bigger story is the Patriots quarterback decision.
At the draft and a week before the season: Mac Jones.
This was accomplished with a make-shift offensive line, with four of the original five linemen in early September, not in Houston for a variety of reasons, including the pandemic.
The biggest play, probably changing the tone of the game, was a blocked punt, which started out looking like a gutsy play by the Texans, only to see a blocker pushed backward and having the helmet of said blocker get in the way, forcing a 0-yard punt.
The Patriots only scored three points, but it was something, which against the Texans was everything.
The Patriots defense was much better in the second half, but that shouldn’t be celebrated. This defense took a step back against the Texans after a nice step forward against Tom Brady’s offense last week.
The defense was not supposed to be a problem. The problem was supposed to be developing a rookie quarterback.
Well, it’s not a problem right now.
The Patriots have a quarterback whose best days are ahead of him. And if you watch other games, the team with the best quarterback wins 75 percent of the time, if not more.
As frustrating as the 25-22 looked, it was showed the Patriots have an important part of their team who/which is not the problem.
And as you know, there are problems.
You can email Bill Burt at bburt@gloucestertimescom.