Heartbreaking is the only way to describe the New England Patriots’ 19-17 loss to Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
It was an emotional night that followed a week full of storylines regarding Brady and Bill Belichick. The atmosphere was filled with mixed emotions and an insane level of energy. A rain-filled Gillette Stadium led to the perfect conditions for an epic Sunday night game that will be remembered.
It all came down to Nick Folk’s 56-yard field goal that bounced off the goal post with less than a minute remaining. Folk had a streak of 36 consecutive makes and he was a few inches away from erupting the crowd and extending the streak to 37.
The battle between Mac Jones and Tom Brady was the primary storyline throughout the game. For the most part, Jones outplayed the future Hall of Famer. The rookie threw for 275 yards, two touchdowns and an interception — with a 78 completion percentage. He also happened to tie Brady’s longest streak of consecutive completions with 18.
Mac Jones 18 consecutive completions is the most by a rookie over the last 30 years
— The 33rd Team (@The33rdTeamFB) October 4, 2021
What’s more impressive about Jones’ performance was the absence of a rushing attack by the Patriots. New England finished the game with negative-one rushing yards — which is unheard of in Belichick’s time as head coach.
Brady finished the night throwing for 269 yards and his most impressive moment was on the final drive where he set up the game-sealing field goal. Outside of the final drive, Brady struggled to connect with his receivers consistently and the Patriots’ defense bothered him the entire night.
Speaking of the defense — Mathew Judon, J.C. Jackson, Jonathan Jones, Christian Barmore and Kyle Dugger were just some of the players who stepped up in major ways. Judon was the Patriots’ best defensive player — as he’s been the thus far in the season.
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) October 4, 2021
Jakobi Meyers and Kendrick Bourne continue to separate themselves as the best offensive weapons for the Patriots. Meyers finished the game with eight catches for 70 yards and Bourne totaled five receptions for 58 yards. Meyers also had a two passes for 45 yards — one of which was a beautiful dime to Nelson Agholor.
— PatsPropaganda (@PatsPropaganda) October 4, 2021
Jakobi Meyers: 4-for-4, 88 Yards, 2 TD in his career as a passer. https://t.co/LL8K5rh9ZN
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) October 4, 2021
The Patriots will return Stephon Gilmore in Week 7 and they’ll find much more cohesion as they continue to click together. There was still plenty of optimism in this loss and the Patriots should have a much easier time with the Houston Texans next week.