It’s been a less-than-stellar start to the season for the Patriots. While the schedule has done them no favors, they themselves have been unable to refrain from shooting themselves in the foot, either. They have been in both games to this point, but have been unable to finish. Here’s a few reasons why the Patriots have fallen to 0-2.
The most obvious reason for the Patriots’ 0-2 start would be their -2 turnover ratio. The Patriots have turned the ball over twice in both of their first two games. Those four turnovers were either immediately responsible for points for the other team or for taking points off the board for the Patriots.
Against the Eagles, the Patriots’ turnovers immediately resulted in 9 points for the opposition. Against the Dolphins, the Patriots’ turnovers both occurred in fringe red zone situations, taking away at least two field goal opportunities if not more. When you have lost two games by a total of 12 points, the 15 points you lost due to turnovers is all the difference in the world.
Three of the Patriots’ turnovers have occurred in the first quarter, contributing to slow starts. This team isn’t built to play from behind but has done no favors to themselves with the timing of their turnovers.
Offensive line play
The Pats had concerns all offseason about the offensive line. However, they decided to fill out the position with back-end roster types and mid-round rookies. Injuries to the group have made a questionable position even more of a liability. The lack of continuity throughout training camp has continued through the season’s first two weeks.
Only two offensive linemen have played in both games to this point. One, center David Andrews, has been his normal steady self. The other; right tackle Calvin Anderson, has fans hoping the team will sign La’el Collins.
The Pats wanted to focus on playing a smart and efficient offense that relies on play-action to get their chunk plays. When the offensive line is generating next-to-no push up front and not giving the quarterback time to look downfield, those chunk plays are going to be hard to come by.
The new contact rules for the offseason have made for less-than-stellar offensive line play in the first few weeks of the season. Let’s hope that some good health and continuity up front leads to improved overall offensive efficiency.
Lack of complementary football
There was a time where you could outplay the Patriots in every aspect of the game, but they would make the plays down the stretch when it counted. So far, one phase of the game has held up their end of the bargain, only to be let down by the other.
The defense has gotten key late takeaways in both games, only to watch the offense fail to find the endzone. Against the Eagles, a late fumble would’ve meant almost certain victory for yesterday’s Patriots teams. The blocked field goal against the Dolphins would’ve surely been points for the Patriots a few years ago.
The team will continue to find it’s identity, but vastly improving their complementary football will send this team from “contender?” to scary. The question is, can the Patriots get there after an 0-2 start?
Is Mac a closer?
Mac Jones has one game-winning drive on his resume in his three years as the Patriots starter. It came in 2021 against the Houston Texans, in a game that shouldn’t have been close to begin with. So far this year, Jones has had an opportunity to make a statement with fourth-quarter drives to take the lead or tie a game late. Football is a game of inches and the throw to Kayshon Boutte and the lateral to Cole Strange both were a hair within being first downs to sustain those drives.
However, the proof seems to be in the pudding with Jones. He hasn’t been able to finish a game late. It would be nice to see the offense not even get to a point where they are facing fourth downs on a gotta-have-it drive.
The team is trying to get an assessment on Jones this year for his future with the team. Starting to be a closer would go a long way toward making them feel much more confident in him going forward.