Self-sabotage seals the Patriots’ fate once again in week three

Sep 25, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots receiver DeVante Parker (1) catches the ball during the second half against the Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 25, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots receiver DeVante Parker (1) catches the ball during the second half against the Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports /

Coming into week three with a win under their belt, the Patriots were hoping to keep the ball rolling in their first home game of the season against the Ravens.

There is always a lot of hype when these two teams face off, with their historic past against each other over the last 20 years. This game was no different, with even newly enshrined Patriots Hall of Famer Vince Wilfork emphasizing their rivalry with Baltimore and taking time to speak with the team before their matchup on Sunday.

Although much of the game looked encouraging, particularly for the offense, New England could not escape self-inflicted wounds once again. Turnovers and avoidable mistakes made it difficult to recover from in another very winnable game.

And to make matters worse, Mac Jones would end the game hopping on one leg, heading straight to the locker room, and reportedly dealing with a severe ankle injury.

There are several issues the team needs to get under control if they intend to remain competitive and win more games. But what all those issues are exactly is not so easy to identify.

Who performed the best for the Patriots?

DeVante Parker

After a rough start in his first two games as a Patriot, DeVante Parker finally had a highlight-worthy game on Sunday.

The Ravens’ secondary was exploited in their week two game against Miami, allowing Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle to total 361 yards and four touchdowns between the two of them. With this in mind and the injuries to their star cornerbacks, Jones was able to throw Parker’s way the most of any game so far this season. And boy, did Parker put on a show.

In just the first half, Parker made two catches for 71 yards. Jones was able to take advantage of the Ravens only using single coverage on Parker, which allowed the receiver to display his insane catch radius while making some remarkable catches.

At the end of the game, after the Patriots hadn’t had a receiver tally 100+ yards in a game in two years until last week, Parker would total 5/10 catches for 156 yards. All five of his catches went for 20+ yards, displaying the characteristics of why Belichick made the trade for him.

Deatrich Wise Jr.

What a day this defense had. Newly crowned captain Deatrich Wise Jr., started the game with intense aggression that inevitably led the rest of his teammates to follow.

Going against an opponent with a quarterback like Lamar Jackson, the defense needs to come out prepared while expecting the unexpected. The defense played with that eagerness throughout the first half, and even though that effort fell off, later on, Wise put on a clinic with his performance.

In just the first half, Wise would total three sacks on Jackson, making him the first Patriots player since Chandler Jones in 2015 to accomplish that in a single game. Finishing with just three sacks in 2021, his performance puts him on pace to have a career-best year and earn a significant role in the defense going forward.

Wise continued being a problem for the Ravens offense as he was also credited with three quarterback hits and four tackles for a loss. With the defense continuing to bail out the team from the offense’s mistakes, Wise’s production becomes even more valuable every game.

Jonathan Jones

In his return to Gillette Stadium for the first time since last season, Jonathan Jones stepped up to the plate by creating multiple plays for himself and his teammates.

The first impactful moment of the day for Jones came in the second quarter when he came up with a diving interception intended for Rashod Bateman. He would run the ball 15 yards down the field and set the Patriots up at Baltimore’s 32-yard line. The drive ended in the team’s first touchdown, putting them up 10-7 not long before halftime.

Jones would continue making plays well into the 4th quarter. Jackson threw a deep pass intended for Bateman, once again, and Jones would force the ball out of his hands. Jabrill Peppers would recover the fumble and return it for 12 yards.

The following drive wouldn’t end in the same way as Jones’ last turnover play, but his effort to make big plays was noteworthy and helped put the offense in a good position to succeed.

Honorable mentions

Rhamondre Stevenson – With the run game established early, Stevenson was able to take the lead back role and dominate the ground game on Sunday. He would total 12 carries for 73 yards and a touchdown, playing bully ball with the Ravens defense and breaking tackles left and right.

Kendrick Bourne – The resurrection of Bourne is still in the works as we saw a few more throws go his way in this game. Other than his 4/5 catches for 58 yards, he would make one of the most impactful plays of the day right before halftime. Jones would hit him for a 10-yard completion and with the catch, Bourne made sure to step out of bounds to leave one second on the clock. His awareness left time for the Patriots to send Nick Folk to the field to get more points on the board before halftime.

Middle-of-the-road performance

Mac Jones

What started out looking like one of his best showings of the season ended with nearly a handful of turnovers and handing the opponent an easy win.

The first half started much better than some anticipated, with the run game being established early and Mac Jones making some impressive throws for big yardage. He would score his first rushing touchdown of his career, scrambling for three yards to put the Patriots up 10-7 in the second quarter.

New England would enter halftime scoring a field goal, putting them just one point shy of the Ravens. Jones’ performance stood out from the previous two games, completing 10/13 passes for 142 yards and running in a touchdown himself.

The team would come out with great energy to start the third quarter, scoring a touchdown in seven plays with a Damien Harris two-yard carry into the endzone. The rest of the game, however, would not turn out as successful.

After Baltimore scored to lead the game 28-20, the self-sabotage from the Patriots began to rear its ugly head once again. Their next play would result in an interception on a pass intended for Parker and the next drive ended in Stevenson scoring with a one-yard touchdown. They would go for a two-point conversion, as they were down 31-26, which was a great decision made by the coaches. And although the play appeared successful, it would be called back and seemingly take the air out of the offense for the remainder of the game.

The next three drives all ended in turnovers; interception (intended for Parker, again), a fumble by Nelson Agholor, and another interception. The mistakes we’ve seen from Jones this season were front and center in this game and his untimely interceptions essentially threw the game away.

Who performed the worst for the Patriots?

Isaiah Wynn

It wouldn’t be a Patriots game this season if Isaiah Wynn didn’t get flagged on a successful offensive drive.

Wynn would first be penalized on the team’s opening drive for an illegal formation, bringing a play that would’ve made it third-down and one, to second and 12. Jones would be sacked for -7 yards a play later and the drive would end in a punt.

The offensive tackle’s second penalty happened on the Patriots’ next drive when Wynn was called for offensive holding. Although the play that was taken back resulted in negative yards anyway, a drive that could have resulted in a touchdown wound up being forced to be a field goal.

On the season, Wynn has totaled four penalties himself and for an offense that is yet to create an identity and be consistent, piling up flags is no way to be helpful. His mistakes have shut down promising drives that included big chunk plays which significantly boosted the offense. Wynn will need to get this under control or Belichick may need to switch him out.

Myles Bryant

Without a solid punt returner on the team thus far, Belichick decided to test out Myles Bryant again this week despite his muff last week. Unfortunately, he would follow that performance up with another muffed punt on the Ravens’ first punt of the game.

Baltimore would only punt two more times in the game, one ending out of bounds and Bryant returning the other for 13 yards. With so much uncertainty about who to use as a returner, and turnovers continuing to be a glaring issue, it doesn’t appear that Bryant is the most formidable choice going forward.

When on the field with the defense, he was beaten on a difficult throw from Jackson to Devin Duvernay for a four-yard touchdown in the third quarter. This was right on par with the struggling red zone defense of the day and helped put the Ravens back on top for a 28-20 score.


It feels like a broken record over the last few seasons, but once again this team cannot protect the football if their game depended on it (and in nearly all cases, it does.)

What became a point of emphasis last season needs to be brought into this year as well. Jones ends week three with five interceptions on the year and the team has a total of three lost fumbles. When they lose the turnover battle, they lose the game. It’s as easy as that.

The interceptions can be blamed on Jones’ questionable decision-making this season and trying to force the football to Parker in very tight windows. But the fumbles are almost more worrisome with a handful of players lacking proper ball security this year.

Who was covering Mark Andrews?

Because the team’s usual tight end matchup was out with injury, the Patriots’ defense had attempted to fill the void that Dugger’s absence ultimately left.

One of the Ravens’ biggest weapons outside of Lamar Jackson is Mark Andrews. A giant, athletic tight end that makes a lot of plays and does it with ease. No matter the opponent, he’s consistently a factor in the offense’s success and this game was another example of that.

It would be difficult for any player to make up for Dugger’s raw physicality and man-coverage skills, even veterans like Devin McCourty and Adrian Phillips who were sent to cover Andrews in this game. And although they didn’t completely botch their assignment, Andrews led all Ravens’ receivers with eight receptions for 89 yards and two touchdowns.

Hopefully, Dugger’s injury isn’t too serious and he will return to the team soon. But if that’s not the case, those filling in for him need to get a better handle on tight ends in particular and not allow them to be the reason the opponent wins.

Offense not clicking

The offense looked probably the most impressive it has through three games but it was obvious there is still something lacking.

The connection between Jones and Nelson Agholor was top-notch in the last game, and this week the chemistry was then shown with Parker. But Jones favoring a single receiver in each game is not an indication of a well-versed offense, regardless of the impressive numbers put up by the receivers.

With so much concern surrounding the play-calling, that may be a contributor to the offense feeling disjointed. But it appears it may be deeper than that.

The Patriots have a lot of talent on offense and it’s just not being utilized the way it should. The uneasiness is showing from Jones as well which has led to the big mistakes by the quarterback, impacting the projection of the game.

Whatever the issues may be and where they are stemming from certainly need to be addressed swiftly. Whether that’s getting more creative with play-calling, involving more players, or something not so obvious, it needs to change as the season progresses.

Questionable play-calling

Although it wasn’t the biggest concern on the day, some moments left you scratching your head when seeing the calls Matt Patricia was making situationally.

The first moment came in the second quarter when they chose to run the football on 3rd-and-9 at Baltimore’s 39-yard-line. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t be the craziest of calls. But Patricia would then have the offense try to convert on 4th down. If the intention was to be in four-down territory, why call a run play to set that up?

The 4th-down-play on that same drive would also be questionable, with Patricia drawing up a play for Kendrick Bourne. It was a play that had no chance from the start and was nearly intercepted at the goal line by Patrick Queen.

The last of the notable plays came in the 4th quarter on the Patriots’ two-point conversion attempt. It appeared they were going with Stevenson to run the ball in, but that quickly changed when he was swallowed by multiple Ravens defenders. Despite the effort to save and continue the play, the conversion would be called back.

These questionable plays may not have drastically impacted the result of the game, but knowing how much Belichick exhausts the importance of situational football, it was a bit concerning to see Patricia fail in these big situational moments.


Last week saw several players sustain injuries which resulted in a few of them missing this game. The Patriots announced their usual inactive players, but Jakobi Meyers and Kyle Dugger, both of whom missed practice all week, would be absent in this game.

Dugger’s absence was abundantly felt and so was Lawrence Guy when he went down with a shoulder injury in the first half.

The Patriots wouldn’t be able to escape the injury bug for the rest of the game, however. Jones would throw an interception at the end of the game and Calais Campbell would land awkwardly on the quarterback’s leg. Jones was visibly in pain and hopped off the field on one leg, being helped down the stairs to go straight into the locker room.

It was reported he suffered an ankle injury and x-rays came back negative. An MRI will be performed on Monday and provide a true diagnosis of the injury. It is believed Jones suffered a high-ankle sprain, which would keep him out for several weeks.