Yes, the final score was Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers 19 to Brady’s former team the Patriots 17.
Like many of the Week 4 games, it could have easily gone a different way.
The Patriots were in a position to win that game, and a lot of that was because of the poised play of quarterback Mac Jones.
Mac Jones' fourth NFL game ever was arguably the most-hyped regular-season game in league history. The Kid didn't shrink from the moment, and Patriots fans have to feel good about thathttps://t.co/nJN30z9p4s
— shalise manza young (@shalisemyoung) October 4, 2021
For all of the pre-draft talk about Jones and how good he could be in the NFL, he gave the Patriots and their fans a sneak peek on Sunday night.
He did not play like a rookie quarterback.
Jones was not intimidated.
He was not nervous.
Jones was very much living in the moment, playing good football, and going toe-to-toe with the GOAT who he will spend the rest of his Patriots career being compared to.
How did he do it?
Here is how.
Threw Nine Incomplete Passes
Jones was 31 for 40 on the night.
Per usual, the Foxborough conditions were not football-friendly.
There was a steady downpour of rain that made the football slippery and throwing difficult.
Jones still threw it like a seasoned professional, not a rookie in this fourth game.
Only Threw One Interception
Of course, quarterbacks prefer to be completely clean and throw no picks.
As mentioned above, the conditions were harsh for the passing game.
He only threw one.
Threw Two Touchdown Passes
Jones more than made up for the one interception by throwing two touchdown passes.
He threw for 275 total yards which was six more than Brady had on the day.
No bigger stage for rookie QB than Brady’s return to Foxboro & Mac Jones managed it like few could. Uncommon maturity. Played about as well as you could expect from someone making fourth NFL start. Some teams will regret passing on or failing to trade up for Mac.
— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) October 4, 2021
Belichick On Jones
Coach Belichick is not one to heap a lot of praise on anyone in a postgame press conference especially in a loss.
In his own way, he provided an endorsement of Jones.
Bill Belichick on Mac Jones:
“Mac fought hard and made a lot of plays for us.”
The Pats lost, but it was a good game for both teams 👏#foreverne
— SportzStew Ⓥ (@sportzstewcom) October 4, 2021
“We’re going to look at the film. Again I thought our team played competitively, and Mac is certainly a part of that. You know, we can all play better and all learn from, you know, some of the things we could have done better but Mac fought hard and made a lot of plays for us.”
As a footnote, Belichick and his former quarterback met privately in the visitors locker room for 20 minutes after the game.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s been in the Bucs locker room for over 20 minutes now. He went in there, and he and Tom Brady retreated to a quiet area.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) October 4, 2021
Brady did not reveal what was discussed.
Honestly, we do not need to know; the page has been turned from Brady to Jones in New England.
Jones handled the postgame press conference like a true pro also.
He talked about his interaction with Brady.
It is not hard to believe what Brady said to Jones.
Here is what Jones shared.
“Yeah, after the game, I got a chance to congratulate him on the win and he’s a great quarterback and yeah, he played well tonight and that’s pretty much all there was to it…(Brady) just told me to keep my head up and keep working.”
Jones should gain a lot of confidence from this performance that carries him forward to Week 5 and beyond.
The Patriots next travel to Houston to take on the Texans in a Week 5 matchup on Sunday, October 10.