The Patriots squeaked out a win today against the New York Jets 15-10, and the bulk of the credit for the win does not belong to Mac Jones, but rather to the weather. The team has been struggling to start the season, and while some have blamed their quarterback, I placed the blame early on offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien.
Who the Patriots have playing quarterback does limit what they are able to do offensively, and O'Brien didn't seem to think so, throwing the ball 96 times through the first two weeks. It wasn't just the number of pass plays, but the choice to run an offense out of empty sets and four wide receiver sets, and completely abandon the run game. That may work when Patrick Mahomes is your quarterback, but it can't work in New England.
Thankfully the skies opened up against the Jets, and for the sake of ball protection, O'Brien was forced to run the ball 40 times, while letting his quarterback throw it just 29 times. Historically, this has been the way the team has won games since the 2021 draft. Since drafting Jones out of Alabama, the Patriots have come out on top when they limited the quarterback play, and rode the coattails of their running backs.
The Patriots have thrown the ball 30 times or more in a game 28 times over their last 37 games, and in those games, they finished with a record of 12-16. Over that same duration, they have run the ball 30 times or more in a game 13 times, resulting in a 10-3 record. In games where the Patriots have run the ball more than they threw it (regardless of total attempts) they went 9-2.
Today they had to run, and run they did, and as usual, it led to the team winning the game. It probably won't rain every game for the rest of the season, unfortunately, but hopefully, Bill O'Brien will learn from this game. Don't count on Mac Jones to carry the team, count on Ezekiel Elliott and Rhamondre Stevenson. If you let the run dictate the game, and only pass every now and then, the team will win games. If you don't believe me, believe the numbers, because allegedly, they never lie.