The Patriots beat the Bills 14-10 on “Monday Night Football” despite only having three pass attempts from rookie quarterback Mac Jones.
Jones’ passing stat line broke two records on Monday night. It not only featured the fewest single-game pass attempts in Patriots history, but also featured the fewest pass attempts in any NFL game since 1974. Jones finished the game with two complete passes for 19 yards.
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The reason the Patriots ran the ball the majority of the night is believed to be because of the strong winds in Buffalo during the game. A few kicks went haywire, along with some of the passes looking impossible to catch due to the strong winds. When asked why the Patriots decided to focus on their run game on Monday night, the “elements” seemed to be the answer for Jones.
“We had a game plan, and obviously that changes a little bit with the elements. But, at the end of the day, I think we had the looks that we were looking for to run the ball and we just kept doing it,” Jones said in his postgame news conference. “Like I said, the offensive line created the holes and those guys did some tough running, not even to mention the receivers getting in there to block, too. Everyone played a role and it was just great to watch and see everyone have that effort.”
The MOST passes by a winning team over that span was 70, all thrown by Patriots QB Drew Bledsoe in Week 11, 1994 … in his 9th career win
— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) December 7, 2021
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Jones did not attempt his pass until the second-to-last play in the first quarter. The ball appeared impossible to catch after going a bit high, but the pass was caught by Jonnu Smith for a first down and gain of 12 yards.
Jones’ other two pass attempts came in the fourth quarter. His second pass attempt was incomplete, intended for Nelson Agholor; his next pass attempt came in the next play, with a 7-yard completion to running back Brandon Bolden on third down. The Patriots did not convert.
Final stat line for the winning QB, Mac Jones: 2 for 3 for 19 yards, 0 TD 0 INT with 4 rushes for 1 yard. Brilliant.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 7, 2021
Jones admitted to relying heavily on coach Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels for the play calling in Monday’s game, which featured some of the worst weather the rookie has faced in his first season in the league. The Patriots finished the game with 222 total rushing yards of 46 carries.
“Coach Belichick and Coach Josh (McDaniels), they’ve been in every type of element there is, and they know what it takes to win,” Jones said. “I think we knew that if we just held onto the ball, we’d be OK.”
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During Belichick’s postgame news conference, he said the Patriots did not originally plan to focus on their running game, though the circumstances of the weather called for it.
“We didn’t know what it was going to be. It’s the way it worked out,” Belichick said.
With the Patriots’ seventh win in a row, they stay on top of the AFC East standings and now they have secured the No. 1 spot in the AFC standings with just four games remaining.