Mac Jones highlights one specific area where Patriots improved in Week 7 originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
If you made a list of the biggest issues plaguing the New England Patriots entering their Week 7 game against the Buffalo Bills, lackluster play from the offensive line probably would have been at the top.
Poor pass protection and subpar run blocking from the offensive line have really hurt this offense. These problems, and others, contributed to the Patriots being the second-lowest scoring team in the NFL through the first six weeks at 12 points per game.
Fortunately for the Patriots, the offensive line showed much-needed improvement in a stunning 29-25 upset win over the Bills at Gillette Stadium.
Patriots quarterback Mac Jones was sacked only once and hit just four times. The Bills’ front seven was unable to consistently put pressure on Jones, and as a result he completed 25 of his 30 pass attempts for 272 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions. Jones’ 83.3 completion percentage was his highest in a single game this season.
Jones was very complimentary of the offensive line following the win.
“The offensive line gave me the time I needed today,” Jones said in his postgame press conference. “When I have time I can go and read the offense how we’re supposed to, and I really appreciate those guys.”
Jones later added: “The offensive line’s play today was what really stood out to me. They made everything work — run game, passing game. I had a couple plays where I dropped my eyes, and that’s not on them, it’s on me.”
What was different for the offensive line this week compared to previous games?
Michael Onwenu, who has played guard most of his pro career, started at right tackle and played really well. It might make sense to have Onwenu as the full-time starting right tackle the rest of the season. Starting left guard Cole Strange returned from injury and played well. Trent Brown was very good in pass protection at left tackle.
In addition to protecting Jones, the offensive line also excelled in the run game. New England’s rushing attack tallied 96 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries (four yards per attempt).
The Patriots showed Sunday that they can run a competent offense that doesn’t make a ton of mistakes when the offensive line plays well. The next step for this group is giving this kind of performance on a consistent basis.
Now that the offensive line is mostly healthy, it’s possible that this Week 7 win could be a turning point for the group and lead to steady improvement going forward.