A forgettable preseason finale ended with the New England Patriots coming up short in their first trip to the Death Star against the Las Vegas Raiders. The force apparently wasn’t with the Patriots’ starters, who got beat like a drum when they were on the field in a 23-6 loss.
Quarterback Mac Jones never seemed comfortable in the pocket with black jerseys flying all around him on every play. The rushing attack got swallowed on the regular, and the defense was steadily handing out chunk yardage plays like free food samples at a mall.
It didn’t matter who was under center for the Raiders—Jarrett Stidham or Chase Garbers—because both were slinging the ball all over the Patriots defense. There were plays where receivers were running wide open down the field at times.
It was just one of those games that looked like the Patriots were in over their head.
There has been talk of patience and allowing the process to play out. But this was the last game of the preseason, and the season-opener against the Miami Dolphins is a little over two weeks away. When is it okay to hit the panic button?
Two interceptions, one fumble, four sacks and 4-of-13 on third-down conversions—is it time to hit it yet?
There was a promising drive in the second quarter by Jones and the offense that had a touchdown grab by DeVante Parker negated by an offensive pass interference call. Hopefully, the Patriots can take that drive as a confidence builder moving forward.
But things aren’t going to get any easier on the offense with the Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens and Green Bay Packers as their first four games. If things don’t improve quickly, particularly with the offensive line protection up front, Jones will be doing snow angels in the dirt.
The Patriots still have time to get it right, but the hourglass is nearly empty. Time is no longer a luxury.