FOXBORO — The New England Patriots had their chances to earn a victory over the Baltimore Ravens in Week 3 of the 2022 NFL season.
Playing before their home crowd for the first time this year, quarterback Mac Jones and company put up 26 points against a versatile Ravens defense. In turn, the Patriots' defense sacked Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson four times in the first half. Jackson was also intercepted early in the second quarter by Jonathan Jones, which New England turned into points.
The Pats also added six points from a pair of history-making field goals by kicker Nick Folk.
However, New England’s offense turned the ball over four times, three of which came on Jones’ interceptions. The other negated a 30-yard pass from Jones to receiver Nelson Agholor, who was stripped from behind by Ravens' safety Kyle Hamilton.
Conversely, Jackson threw four touchdown passes and ran for another score to help Baltimore hold off the New England Patriots 37-26 on Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
As New England holds its collective breath while waiting on the health status of its quarterback (more on that in a moment), here is a deeper dive into how the action on the field unfolded.
Turnovers Taint An Otherwise Solid Day for Mac Jones
Injury concerns aside for a moment, Jones finished 22-of-32 for a career-high 321 yards for his third career 300-yard game and first of the 2022 season. He also rushed five times for 31 yards, including a six-play, 32-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. As such, the 24-year-old collected his first NFL rushing touchdown. Jones also showed an ability to rebound from broken plays by gaining yards on the ground, as well as extending plays on third-down with his arm.
Unfortunately, some lingering issues with poor decisions cast a cloud over a potentially historic day for the Pats starter. Jones tossed three second-half interceptions, each picked on questionable throws by defensive back Josh Bynes as well as cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters. Whether it be due to the change in offensive scheme or poor protection from his offensive line, Jones’ questionable decision-making, continues to overshadow the significant progress he has made in other areas of his game.
Parker Had a Breakout Day
Parker finished with five receptions for 156 yards for his 12th career 100-yard game, and his first as a member of the Patriots. The 156 yards are the second-highest total of Parker’s career, having gained 159 receiving yards against the Philadelphia Eagles on Dec. 1, 2019 as a member of the Miami Dolphins. All in all, the Pats wideout took full advantage of Baltimore’s cornerbacks having played him in single coverage on the outside. Parker’s emergence on the perimeter ensures that he will be a frequent target of New England’s quarterbacks in the coming weeks
The Gap Band
Despite some miscues in pass protection, the Patriots offensive line continues to provide some much-improved run blocking. In returning to their roots, the line’s gap schemes and pulling blocks helped to spring both Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson for a handful of important runs. After a quiet first half, Harris found the end zone off of a run-pass-option (RPO), finishing the game with 41 yards on 11 carries. Stevenson rushed for 73 yards on 12 attempts, his longest coming on an 18-yard run. He also contributed a heads-up lateral for a would-be two-point conversion in the fourth quarter. The initial ruling was ultimately overturned as Stevenson was down by contract before passing the ball off to Jones.
Wise Brought the Power
Wise has become one of the Patriots most fearsome defenders on the edge. The former Arkansas Razorback compiled six total tackles (four of which were for loss) and was credited with three sacks on Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.Week 3 marked his first career three-sack game after a three-yard sack in the first quarter, an eight-yard sack and a one-yard sack in the second quarter. At 6-5, 275-pounds, he has used both his size and length and speed to make him a frequent mismatch against opposing offensive linemen.
Missing Kyle Dugger
With Dugger having missed Sunday’s contest due to a knee injury, the Pats expectedly had difficulty defending reigning All-Pro tight end Mark Andrews. As Patriots Country pointed out prior to the game in its ‘3 to Watch’ series, Andrews was able to exploit the mismatch in man coverage as second-year safety Joshuah Bledsoe (who was making his NFL debut) attempted to keep pace. He also found some success against New England’s big nickel secondary consisting of Jabrill Peppers, Adrian Phillips and Devin McCourty.
The Ravens’ star tight end caught eight passes for 89 yards on 13 targets from Jackson. He found the end zone twice, proving to be a problematic cover without the physical style of Dugger to help contain him.
For the next 24-48 hours, all eyes will be on Mac Jones, who left the field in substantial pain after his final pass attempt in the fourth-quarter. While initial x-rays were negative, Jones is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday to determine if any tendon and/or ligament damage was done. While Jones understandably did not meet with the media following Sunday’s loss, the Patriots press team has tentatively made him available to speak with the media via video conference on Monday afternoon.
Reports late Sunday night say Jones suffered a high ankle sprain and could miss multiple weeks or even be placed on four-week injured reserve.
Defenisve lineman Lawrence Guy left the game in the third quarter with a shoulder injury and did not return to action on Sunday.
Cornerback Jalen Mills also missed time on the field in the second half, as he continues to deal with a hamstring injury. Mills was a limited participant in practice on Thursday and Friday with the same injury.
The Patriots travel to the northern midwest for a Week 4 showdown with the Green Bay Packers. Kickoff is set for 4:25 p.m ET from Lambeau Field.
Want the latest in breaking news and insider information on the Patriots? Click Here