Patriots Talk: Did Mac Jones' performance vs. Vikings silence haters? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The New England Patriots weren't able to leave Minnesota with a win on Thanksgiving, but starting quarterback Mac Jones played his best game of the 2022 NFL season.
Jones completed 28 of 39 pass attempts (71.8 percent) for a career-high 382 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions as the Patriots lost 33-26 at U.S. Bank Stadium.
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The second-year quarterback has completed over 70 percent of his passes with three touchdowns and zero interceptions in his last three games. After a rough start to the season that included an ankle injury that forced him to miss three games, Jones seems to finally be building some positive momentum.
Should Jones' performance Thursday night allay some of the concerns over his abilities from earlier in the season?
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"I think (it) should, to a degree, especially after this game," Phil Perry said on the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast. "This had to have been his best game of the season. We saw accurate Mac Jones. We saw push the ball down the field Mac Jones. The touchdown to Nelson Agholor was a great throw. I thought he had another one down the middle to Agholor that sort of got them on the doorstep. He had a pass to DeVante Parker along the sideline -- a great throw and great catch. I actually thought his fourth-down throw late in the game to Agholor wasn't bad, and if Agholor actually continued running and hadn't stopped his route, that might have been completed.
"He did everything we saw him do last year when he was at his best. So if he can keep that up, yes, those concerns should be long-term allayed. It wasn't perfect. The clock management at the end of the first half, he had an issue with one of those plays where he just slides and has to burn a timeout instead of throwing the ball away."
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The Patriots dropped from the No. 6 seed and second wild card spot to eighth place in the AFC and outside the playoff picture as a result of their loss to the Vikings. Despite the tough defeat, Jones and the offense taking a few steps forward is a hugely positive result in the short and long term.
"But real improvement, and big picture, again, it's a little bit of a silver lining because it's a difficult loss," Perry said. "You don't want to lose that one, you might be on the outside looking in when it comes to playoff contention, but if your quarterback is back on track, and this is who he is and who he can be consistently, is that not more important?"
Jones and the Patriots offense face one of their most challenging tests of the season next week when they host the first-place Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium. The Bills have one of the league's best defenses and played pretty well against Jones in 2021.
Perry and Tom E. Curran also discussed the Patriots defending elite wide receivers and much more in the Patriots Talk Podcast, which you can watch in full below or subscribe to wherever you get your podcasts.