Instant analysis: Mac Jones throws for nearly 400 yards in Patriots’ road loss

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones was missing two starters on the offensive line with one of the league’s worst receiving corps, and he still managed to outgun Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins on the road in a primetime Thanksgiving game on Thursday.

Unfortunately for the Patriots, their second-year quarterback throwing 28-of-39 for 382 yards and two touchdowns wasn’t enough to offset an ugly night of poor officiating and bad situational football against a really good Vikings team.

A few days after beating the New York Jets with a game-winning punt returned for a touchdown, the Patriots got a taste of their own medicine by the Vikings with a kick-off touchdown returned by running back Kene Nwangwu. However, on a second viewing, it was obvious that Kyle Dugger was the victim of a hold that should have been called and negated the touchdown return.

There was also the egregious overturned Hunter Henry touchdown reception. It’s getting harder and harder to figure out what a catch is these days because Henry’s reception definitely looked like a touchdown.

Make it make sense, please?

But as easy as it would be to huff, puff and just blame the refs for everything, the Patriots had some huge blunders of their own doing as well, including rookie running back Pierre Strong Jr. drawing a running into the kicker penalty that kept a late touchdown drive going for the Vikings.

The offensive line struggles were still prevalent, even though it wasn’t a complete disaster with both David Andrews and Isaiah Wynn out. Receivers still struggled to get open in the red zone, and there were a couple of bad clock management blunders on Jones and tight end Hunter Henry.

This road loss stings even more for the Patriots because they had every chance to upset the Vikings in the game. The offense was finally rolling, and Cousins committed the only turnover.

But it wasn’t enough in the end for a Patriots team that now has to go back to the drawing board and prepare for an even tougher matchup against the Buffalo Bills next Thursday night.

However, there’s also some optimism with the way Jones has looked under center in recent weeks.

Not only has the former first-round draft pick quelled the Bailey Zappe chants, but he might have proven himself as the future franchise face for a steadily improving Patriots team.

Story originally appeared on Patriots Wire