Cam Newton got the start, but all the talk was about Mac Jones and his debut performance. Rhamondre Stevenson had a huge day for New England, with 127 yards and 2 TDs. Plus the Washington Football Team still sucks at kicking field goals.
Mac Jones Looks Good in Limited Time
There has been a lot of anticipation surrounding the debut of Mac Jones, and I would say he delivered as best he could in his first appearance with the team. He did exactly what was asked of him. He completed multiple quick-hitting short passes and moved the offense down the field. He did struggle with accuracy on a few deeper attempts, but played well overall. Below is a compilation featuring all of his completions:
EVERY @MacJones_10 completion from the @AlabamaFTBL rookie’s @Patriots preseason debut! pic.twitter.com/sbMsJCe1Tv— NFL (@NFL) August 13, 2021
Stevenson Scores 2 TDs for Patriots
Rhamondre Stevenson find the end-zone twice in week one of the preseason, totaling 127 yards on 10 carries. Most of his yards came when he broke off a 91-yard touchdown run down the right side of the field. We all know how quickly running backs can emerge and vanish in New England, so who knows how much of Stevenson we will see this season, but if he keeps breaking off runs like that it will be difficult for the team not to prioritize him in the weekly game-plan.
RHAMONDRE STEVENSON COAST TO COST— PFF College (@PFF_College) August 13, 2021
Heinicke Leads Scoring Drive to Close Half
Taylor Heinicke burst onto the scene late last season, and was the recipient of a lot of attention following his efforts in the playoffs last season. Many began to wonder if he is the future answer at QB for the franchise, though he currently still seems to sit behind veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick on the depth chart. During his time in this game, Heinicke looked good and moved to ball. He was able to put together a nice drive to close out the first half, one that resulted in a touchdown that gave Washington the lead at the time. When faced with 3rd and 10 on that drive, he was able to complete the following pass to keep the drive alive:
This throw ain’t easy!— NFL (@NFL) August 13, 2021
Taylor Heinicke gets it to Jaret Patterson to save the drive. @WashingtonNFL
📺: #WASvsNE on @nflnetwork (or check your local listings)
📱: https://t.co/QXoNWCGPHr pic.twitter.com/G1dKB17wQX
Kicking Issues Continue in Washington
Washington kicker Dustin Hopkins missed both of his field goal attempts during this game. Consistent kicking is a struggle the Washington Football Team has faced for many years, and it does not appear to be getting better any time soon. This level of inconsistency makes it difficult to compete at the highest level.
I wonder how many start Cam Newton gets before being replaced by Mac Jones. I’m no oddsmaker, but I’d set the over/under at 4.5 games. Jones looked comfortable, and seemed a bit smoother in running the offense compared to Newton during his brief appearance. Bill can keep preaching “Cam is the starter” all he wants, but the reality is Mac Jones will be inserted at the first sign of struggle.
Washington seems equally uncertain at the quarterback position. Veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick got the start in this game, but is clearly at the end of his career. Taylor Heinicke was quickly thought to be the answer, but how could that be true if he can’t beat out Fitzpatrick for the starting spot?
WILD THOUGHT: What if at some point early in the season the Patriots decide to make the switch to Jones, and then trade Cam Newton to Washington? Seems wild and unlikely, but Ron Rivera is familiar with Cam and had a lot of success with him. Perhaps Cam could be the stop-gap solution in Washington while they try to determine their options for a longterm solution at the position.
IMG CREDIT: Tom – stock.adobe.com