All the good outweighs the bad for Mac Jones in week one

Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots
Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

Since the Patriots' schedule was released earlier this year, their week one matchup with the Eagles was quickly marked as an automatic loss. New England was coming off one of their weakest seasons in recent memory, while Philadelphia ended their year with a Super Bowl appearance.

They couldn't have been on further opposite ends of the spectrum in the world of football. So, it made sense that most believed the Patriots had no chance of winning the game on Sunday.

But that's not what ended up happening.

The downpouring of rain was very fitting for the first half

Things looked bleak before the game even started, as the injury report revealed two starting offensive linemen, Mike Onwenu and Cole Strange, would not be playing. DeVante Parker would also be sidelined, completing one of the worst-case scenarios for a Patriots offense plagued by an inconsistent line and questionable receiving corps.

Because of the concerns surrounding the offense, it was another game that felt like the defense would need to keep the game close, and that's precisely what they did. But along with them was Mac Jones, with the unexpected performance that reminded everyone of the quarterback's rookie season.

Although the offense coughed up two turnovers on back-to-back drives, which gave up 14 points, there was a noticeable shift about halfway through the second quarter.

Jones went on a tear down the field, completing 7/9 passes on the drive for 68 yards and a touchdown to Hunter Henry. The defense then held the Eagles to -9 yards on their next series, forcing a 3-and-out at the perfect time.

The Patriots got to take over at their own 37-yard line with about two and a half minutes remaining before halftime. And what did Jones do? He repeated the same performance of the previous drive, taking the offense down the field in six plays for 63 yards.

It was a nearly perfectly executed effort that ended in a 19-yard touchdown pass to Kendrick Bourne, bringing them within two points of the Eagles heading into the half.

From a disaster of a start to the game to a victorious end to the first half, Jones headed into halftime 17/24 for 142 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception.

It wasn't a perfect first 30 minutes of football, but Jones was noticeably more confident and poised than we saw throughout last season, very reminiscent of his first season in New England.

The third quarter was a disappointing start after the momentum shift heading into halftime

With the momentum on their side to start the third quarter, the Patriots offense could not take advantage. The defense came out swinging again, limiting Jalen Hurts to just 5.2 yards per reception, and were impressive in slowing down their pair of 1,000-yard receivers. But the offense couldn't match the performance they showcased to end the second quarter for quite some time.

It took until just five minutes were remaining in the game for the Patriots to score again.

Jones marched down the field again, leading the offense to another touchdown in six plays for 75 yards in just under two minutes. It was another drive led by the quarterback's passing game, going 4/5 for 70 yards and another score by Bourne.

The final two drives to end the game wouldn't go the same way, as the Patriots failed in their attempt to get one final touchdown to win. But even with that sour ending, Jones' performance deserves to be praised far more than it deserves to be criticized.

Everything about Mac Jones looked better throughout this game

To some, finding any positives in this game may be deemed attempting to turn a loss into a moral victory. However, with how the 2022 season transpired and all that Jones specifically went through, his progression throughout the offseason should be noted.

There's a reason he accomplished one of the best rookie seasons by a quarterback in the NFL in 2021. There's a reason to believe that quarterback is still in there waiting to be unleashed. And fortunately, with the much-needed mentoring and coaching from Bill O'Brien, we saw glimpses of exactly that.

Not all was good, of course, especially to start the game. Jones did throw a high pass that wound up becoming a pick-six, and some other throws throughout the game weren't too great, either. But his awareness in the pocket far exceeded what we saw last year, and the poise he was credited to have so much two seasons ago was apparent.

It was exactly what most were hoping to see with the quarterback this season, and we got it in the first game of the year. If he can build upon what we saw in this game, limiting the mistakes, most importantly, this offense looks like it can hang with some of the toughest competition in the league.

The third-year quarterback's performance even caught the eye of Eagles coach Nick Sirianni, who had only complimentary words to express about him after the game.

"Mac Jones, I thought, did a really nice job, and Bill O'Brien... I've seen him call plays for a long time being in that division, and I just think he's an outstanding play caller and he did a good job of getting the ball out of Mac's hands, and Mac did a good job of seeing it."

Even without two starting linemen and one of their top receivers, the offense allowed just two sacks on Jones, the first of which didn't occur until under three minutes left in the game. And we saw Bourne and Henry's resurgence along with Demario Douglas's arrival.

There's a lot to be excited about with this team. So nitpicking about little things that Jones did wrong in the first game of the season is just a tad silly.

So take the loss for what it is, a loss, but don't forget to look at the positives that came from the game as well. It's not always easy, and the Patriots are firm believers in no moral victories. But, given their circumstances this season, you must embrace the positives and remain hopeful.