By Tiffany Williams –
Sunday afternoon was the perfect autumn day for some football at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. 65,878 people attended Sunday’s game and it was thirty-eight but felt like thirty out at the start of the game. A beautiful brisk autumn day, perfect New England football weather.
In the second quarter, Nick Folk made a 24 yard field goal after 14 plays and 74 yards to make it a 0-3 game, Patriots lead. Greg Zuerlein made a 45 yard field goal after 9 plays and 46 yards to make it a 3-3 game. It looked like this game was gonna go into overtime but with 1:47 on the clock in the fourth quarter, Marcus Jones won this game for the Patriots with an 84 yard punt return. The point after attempt by Nick Folk was good and the Patriots won this game 10-3.
Following the game, Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick called today’s win a “Great team win.” Belichick also said, “We knew it was going to be a battle there all the way to the end. Great ending there with the punt return.”
Talking about that ending, that punt return, on Marcus Jones, Belichick said “Marcus is really quick. I think Troy Brown has done a great job with him. Where Marcus was when he got here and where he is now are – they’re an ocean apart.” Belichick also said “Marcus has worked hard and he’s really improved. He’s had a number of big returns for us, but obviously today going to the house, might have been the first one in the league this year, I don’t know. Obviously a huge play in the game.”
When Belichick was asked what specific qualities he saw in Marcus Jones at Houston and in the pre-draft process that compelled him to draft Jones, Belichick said “He’s fast. He’s quick. He returned punts and kickoffs down there. He also played some offense. He was converted to receiver. He was an explosive playmaker that ended up moving to defense, played inside, played outside and returned kicks. He did all those in college. He’s a good player.”
Following tge game Sunday, at the podium Marcus Jones was asked what he was thinking when he caught the punt and returned it for the game-winning touchdown, he said “My first thing was ball security, so making sure I track the ball and everything because the wind was going crazy out there. That was the main thing and just staying within the scheme. Without my teammates on that play, that would have been a hard play to make.”
When asked about his emotions after scoring the game-winning touchdown, Jones said “It’s one of those situations to where I’m happy, definitely for the divisional win. That’s the main thing and now I’m on to the next week. I’m one of those people.”
Marcus Jones’s 84-yard punt return for a touchdown is the second longest go-ahead 4th quarter touchdown in team history. The only longer return was the 91-yard missed field goal return for a touchdown by Ron Burton at Denver on November 11, 1962.
Jones, who was the 2021 Paul Hornung Award winner as the nation’s most versatile player, is the first player with a punt return for a touchdown in 2022.
The Patriots’ 10-3 win marks their 14th straight victory over the New York Jets and their seventh straight series sweep over the Jets following the 22-17 victory at the Jets on October 30. The 14 straight wins are the longest current winning streak in the NFL over an opponent. The win is also the Patriots’ 14th straight regular season win over the Jets at Gillette Stadium
A quick turnaround for the Patriots, now they’re onto Thursday night. They will travel to Minnesota to face the Vikings in a Thanksgiving night football game in their first regular season visit to U.S. Bank Stadium.