The Patriots rookies propelled the team to a win over the Arizona Cardinals last night on Monday Night football. Offensively it was Pierre Strong Jr, Kevin Harris, and Tyquan Thornton chipping in while Marcus Jones was an effective on both sides of the ball last night.
Rookie Running Backs Carry Offense
With Damien Harris inactive last night, Rhamondre Stevenson was left to shoulder the load in the run game again. After Stevenson injured his ankle in the first quarter, the New England Patriots depth at running back was questioned on prime time. Rookies Pierre Strong Jr and Kevin Harris were called upon to step up on the road.
With five career carries combined between the two of them coming into Monday night, the run game surely would have seemed to be nonexistent after Stevenson’s injury. Fortunately for the Patriots that was not the case.
Kevin Harris would come in on the following series and have three rushes for 32 yards and cap the drive off with a fourteen yard touchdown run, the first of his career. Harris on all three of those runs showed off his physicality by running through contact and fighting for each yard. Harris would have five more rushes in this game but would end up with negative 6 yards on those runs.
Pierre Strong Jr entered the game, making an immediate impact on his first touch. With 2:31 into the second half, Strong would run for 44 yards which would set up the field goal four plays later that would tie the game but Strong was not done there.
Strong would score his first career touchdown on a three yard run on first and goal after a strike from Mac Jones to Hunter Henry for 39 yards. Strong would help the Patriots seal the game at the two minute warning running for twenty all but securing the victory for the Patriots.
Offense Still Stuck in Mud, What Needs to Happen Moving Forward
Mac Jones was able to throw a few balls down the field for big plays but he still only averaged 4.5 yards per attempt last night. Understanding that their game plan was to get the ball out quick as Arizona blitzed on over 40% of the snaps last night. Still though this Patriots offense looks ill equipped to continue this if they are going to be a playoff team.
Now with a banged up Jakobi Meyers, Rhamondre Stevenson, and DeVante Parker the Patriots offense I think needs to figure out a way to tread water for the rest of the year. The seam passes have been working though for the Patriots as Jones has been able to find henry seven time over the past three games.
As the Patriots hold the final playoff spot, they would be matched up against Kansas City, which the outcome would be like the one in Buffalo last year or even quite possibly worse. So, the Patriots issues cannot be fixed this season.
The coaching, offensive line, and skill positions are going to need to improve as I do not believe the Patriots are going to pull the plug on Mac Jones just yet. In regards to the rest of the season I think pushing the ball downfield can only help because at this point you are fighting for your lives if their goal is to make the playoffs.
Defense Shines Again, Created Back to Back Turnovers
The defense created two turnovers that led to a fourteen-point swing late in the third quarter. Safety Kyle Duggar knocked the ball loose from DeAndre Hopkins, which led to a Raekwon McMillan fumble return for a touchdown. Hopkins, who was carrying the ball like a loaf of bread, took responsibility for his lack of ball security.
DeAndre Hopkins’ fumble leads to a touchdown for the Patriots defense.
It’s New England’s fourth defensive touchdown this season (2nd most behind Arizona).
🎥 @NFL pic.twitter.com/YktplvIhD2
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) December 13, 2022
“I think watching the replay, the guy, it’s a game of inches but his thumb hit it,” Hopkins said about Dugger. “But it’s on me, just trying to make a play and wasn’t getting a lot of completions, so once I got the ball, I was trying to do something with it. That’s my fault.”
Marcus Jones got his first career interception off of Colt McCoy. Linebacker Josh Uche was able to hit McCoy right as he released the ball to alter the path, which would be thrown right to Jones. Uche had three sacks last night moving him up to 9th in the league with ten total sacks.
Linebacker Matthew Judon recorded 1.5 sacks to retake the NFL lead with 14.5. The Patriots would have six total sacks on the night bringing their team total up to 45 on the year which is third most in the NFL.
Just Get Marcus Jones on the Field
Marcus Jones is clearly a difference maker on the football field and is showing what his potential can be. Jones led the Patriots with seven solo tackles last night and recording his first interception, as mentioned before.
Picked off by Marcus Jones 🙌
Who’s got @Patriots defense in @NFLFantasy?
📺: #NEvsAZ on ESPN
📱: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/UKeBTYKCRY pic.twitter.com/FfVp5WO3Ds
— NFL (@NFL) December 13, 2022
Patriots rookie Marcus Jones a true triple-threat player: 8 snaps on offense, 67 on defense, and 11 on special teams.
🏈WR: 1 catch, 12 yards
🏈 DB: 7 tackles, 1 INT, 2 passes defended
🏈 ST: 1 PR for 7 yards, 2 KR for 47 yards
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) December 13, 2022
Jones ability to be a game changer in all three phases of the game is such an invaluable asset to have. As we saw three weeks ago his punt returning ability stole a game away from the Jets. His speed was then put on display again against Buffalo as he would score on his first career reception. Last night he was covering DeAndre Hopkins who is the best receiver in the league. Jones is a football player through and through and he is the best asset the Patriots have.
Injuries were the story of the first half last night as Kyler Murray and Jack Jones were also injured along with Stevenson and Parker. Jack Jones went down early with a knee injury and remained on the sideline or exercise bike for the rest of the game.
The real story from last night was Kyler Murray going down with a right knee injury three plays into the game. Murray went down after making a cut on his right leg. Murray was visibly upset being carted off and for a good reason. The Cardinals believe the injury to be a torn ACL with Murray set to have an MRI today to confirm.
Kyler Murray just suffered a scary non-contact injury 😢😔 pic.twitter.com/DovorPrt9J
— Brian Y (@byysports) December 13, 2022
Patriots Rhamondre Stevenson and DeVante Parker are both questionable for next week against the Raiders.
For More Great Football Content
Follow us on Twitter at @GridironHeroics for more great content. We appreciate you taking time to read our articles. To interact more with our community and keep up to date on the latest in Football news, JOIN OUR FREE FACEBOOK GROUP by CLICKING HERE