By Tiffany Williams –
After a week eleven 10-3 win against the New York Jets, the New England Patriots came up short in week twelve against the Vikings with a 26-33 loss and then last Thursday night in a matchup with the Buffalo Bills they were served a 10-24 loss.
Devin McCourty, Thursday night played and started in his 200th NFL game. He has started every game he has played and currently ranks third in team history in starts and 6th in team history in games played. McCourty became just the 90th player in NFL history to start 200 games and just the 24th to do so with one team.
Marcus Jones, on Thursday night made his first career start on defense and also lined up on offense and scored on a 48-yard touchdown pass from Mac Jones on his first play from scrimmage in the first quarter. Jones became the first defensive back to record a touchdown reception on offense since 2000 when Marcus Coleman of the New York Jets caught a 45-yard touchdown pass from Vinny Testaverde against Buffalo on Sept 17, 2000. Jones caught 15 passes for 137 yards with one receiving touchdown during his college career. He scored on a 47-yard touchdown pass vs. Navy on September 25, 2021. Jones joins Mike Vrabel and John Tanner as the only defensive players to catch touchdowns.
Rhamondre Stevenson, on Thursday night led the Patriots with 6 receptions for 24 yards. It is the third straight game that he has had at least six receptions. Stevenson has a team leading 56 receptions in 2022 and is on pace for 79, which would be the second-most by a New England running back in a season to the 87 receptions by James White in 2018.
Following the game Thursday night there was a very somber atmosphere in the locker room and the frustration level was very high, so high in fact, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was visibly frustrated and tight with responses to questions at the podium. Belichick did say when he got to the podium “Not really too much to say here. Just obviously couldn’t do enough tonight. Got to give Buffalo credit. They’re a good football team. We just couldn’t do enough. Had some opportunities but just nothing in particular, just in general, just not quite good enough in any area, red area, offensively, making plays in the kicking game. Yeah, that’s about the end of it.”
When asked why he thought the offense was still struggling so much at this point in the season, Belichick said “Well, I’ll just say tonight, like I said, we just didn’t do enough. Had some opportunities and weren’t able to take advantage of them.” When asked if he would consider the struggles on offense more of a play calling issue or an execution issue, Belichick said “Yeah, well, we just need to do a better job overall.
Matthew Judon, following Thursday night’s game, at the podium was asked what the Patriots have to do to get better moving forward at 6-6 and he said “It’s not over yet. Right? We’re 6-6. We have more games to play. That’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to go out there and we’re going to play. We have to put this one behind us. We see this team again. We have to play this team again. We have two more division games. As hard as this is we have some tough games ahead of us. We have a little west coast trip coming up. We have to focus. We have to come back. We have to be ready.”
And with Buffalo behind them, at least for right now, the New England Patriots will have back-to-back games out West starting with a Monday Night Football game at Arizona this coming Monday followed by a game at Las Vegas on December 18.
The New England Patriots will face the Arizona Cardinals for the first time since a 20-17 win at Gillette Stadium on November 29, 2020 and travel to Arizona for the first time since opening the 2016 season at Arizona on Sunday Night Football, a 23-21 Patriots win on September 11.
After a 1-6 series start against Arizona, New England won the next five games before splitting the 2012 and 2016 meetings. The Patriots lead the all-time series with an 8-7 margin, including a 5-4 record in road games and a 1-0 record at what is now known as State Farm Stadium.
The Patriots have faced the Cardinals five times during Bill Belichick’s tenure as Patriots head coach and are 4-1 in those games.
Bill Belichick was at the podium Tuesday and was when asked about what he said WEEI, about it being late in the year to make any kind of dramatic changes offensively and he said, “Look, we’re not going to go to the wishbone offense here. We’re not going to run the veer. Defensively, we’re not going to change into a – run some other team’s defense or whatever. Yeah, major changes, yeah absolutely, we wouldn’t be able to practice it.”
When asked, would making a change at play caller qualify? Belichick answered “Yeah. Again, the system that we have in place, I feel good about. Which includes the offensive staff, it includes me, it includes whatever the whole process is. Yeah, on defense, on offense, on special teams.”
Belichick was back at the podium on Wednesday and let’s follow up on that question asked Tuesday by Phil Perry regarding a possible change in play caller. Belichick said he feels good about the system the Patriots have in place including the offensive staff. Well, specifically to the offense, what makes him feel good about it? He says, “Look, I’m not saying that we can’t improve in every area because we can. We’ll continue to try to do that. So that’s across the board; players, plays, coaches, decisions, etc. We’re always trying to improve all the time. We’ll continue to do that. So that’s where we are. That’s where we have been. That’s probably where we always will be. Just always trying to do a little bit better and try to find the best ways to be successful.”
My top five playmakers on defense this week for the Patriots are Davon Godchaux, Carl Davis Jr., Devin McCourty, Adrian Phillips and Jonathan Jones.
On offense, my top five playmakers will be Rhamondre Stevenson, Jakobi Meyers, DeVante Parker, Damien Harris and Nelson Agholor.
This week’s game will be broadcast by ESPN and can be seen on your local CBS station. Joe Buck will handle play-by-play duties with Troy Aikman as the color analyst. Lisa Salters will provide analysis from the sidelines. The game will be produced by Phil Dean and directed by Jimmy Platt.
For live game day updates follow @patriotsonntne on Twitter.