The New England Patriots dropped their home opener to the Baltimore Ravens 37-26 on Sunday. Throughout the game, here’s who stood out, and who didn’t, for the Patriots.
Winner: WR DeVante Parker. After a slow start to his Patriots tenure, Parker showed out in a big way for New England against Baltimore. The offseason trade acquisition finished with five catches for 156 yards, as all five of his receptions went for 20-plus yards. For the first time this season, Parker was on the same page with quarterback Mac Jones.
That was evident on a perfectly executed back shoulder reception, which Next Gen Stats gave a completion probability of only 7.4 percent:
DeVante Parker’s 25-yd reception from Mac Jones had a completion probability of 7.4%, the most improbable completion over the last two seasons.
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) September 25, 2022
Loser: OT Isaiah Wynn. For the second straight game, Wynn had some issues on the mental side of the game. On the Patriots’ first drive, the right tackle was tabbed for an illegal formation, putting New England in a 2nd-and-12 situation. They punted two plays later. Wynn backed the offense up on the very next drive after a promising start with a holding penalty. Facing 2nd-and-16, the Patriots were forced to settle for a field goal.
New England’s offense can’t consistently fight back from being behind the sticks, and Wynn has put them in holes for two straight weeks now.
Winner: CB Jonathan Jones. Jones continued his strong play this season along the boundary, this time doing solid work on speedster Rashad Bateman. Despite covering Bateman on one rep, Jones was able to keep his eyes in the backfield and peel off his man to come up and haul in a first-half interception. He then forced a fumble on Bateman later in the contest.
Loser: LB Mack Wilson Sr. After the initial viewing, it appeared to be a rough game for the Patriots linebacker. He had particular issues on Baltimore’s first scoring drive, stumbling in pursuit of Lamar Jackson which led to a first down. On Mark Andrews first touchdown, it was Wilson who missed the tackle.
Winner: DL Dietrich Wise Jr. The team captain continued his strong start to the year by recording three first-half sacks on Lamar Jackson. When he wasn’t chasing down Jackson, Wise Jr. appeared to have a few solid plays in the run game as well. Most impressively, he continued to play at a high level while being on the field for nearly 75 percent of the defensive snaps — a continuous theme for this season.
Loser: Mental game. We discussed the mental game in terms of penalties above, but Sunday’s game was yet another occurrence of the Patriots continuing to shoot themselves in the foot. Quarterback Mac Jones had some more questionable decisions and horrendous interceptions, one appearing to be a miscommunication with DeVante Parker in the end zone. Nelson Agholor also lost a fumble in the middle of a big gain in the fourth quarter.
There were also some interesting play-calls in key situations, such as the fourth-down rub concept that stood zero chance and the failed two-point conversation to Rhamondre Stevenson. The Patriots don’t have the talent to overcome these mental mistakes.
Honorable Mentions: The Patriots run defense had a forgettable day allowing 191 yards on 23 non-knee-down carries. Baltimore has struggled on the ground entering the year, but found success in the second half with its use of Lamar Jackson.
Myles Bryant gave up a touchdown to Devin Duvernay, who made an impressive snag going up and over the corner, but also got away with a potential special teams mistake. For the second straight week, Bryant muffed a punt but was able to recover and avoid harm. Like last week, New England trotted him right back out there afterward.
It was a strong game for Rhamondre Stevenson, who significantly out-snapped Damien Harris for the second straight week. Stevenson rushed for 6.1 yards per clip and found the end zone, while also adding four receptions.
Nick Faulk’s 35-yard field goal in the second quarter marked his 57th consecutive kick under 50 yards. That set a new NFL record.