Upon further review, I’ve decided that there are three main goats in this game:
1. Mac Jones. The three-play touchdown drive to go ahead 24-17 included a 39-yard pass to a wide open Jakobi Meyers (perhaps a blown coverage). Outside of that pass, his passing numbers were: 12-30, 73 yards, 40% completion rate, 2.43 YPA, 0 TD, 0 INT, 0 sacks, 47.9 passer rating.
Then after that touchdown the Patriots defense forced a three-and-out, and Mac got the ball back with 3:12 left. Rham got two runs for 5 yards, which forced the Raiders to use their last two timeouts. The false start didn’t help, either. Mac faced a 3rd and 10, which if converted would seal the game. He takes the ball and runs for no gain. The Pats run the clock down to 2:19 and then punted. This seemed to highlight Mac’s weaknesses more than anything. First they didn’t seem to have any confidence that Mac could complete a ten-yard pass when they needed one, so they called a bootleg. He had no foot speed, so he got tackled for no gain. All that play did was take a few more seconds off the clock. That play made me feel very bearish on Mac Jones’ development. “Mediocre” is probably his ceiling. I’ll give him another year to see if he can consistently complete a 10-yard pass.
2. Coaching. Everything from the play-calling, the early timeouts, and the false starts show me a disorganized and unprepared offense. Part of it could be attributed to injuries and underperformance of the OL, but it doesn’t seem to explain why they slow getting the play calls in. Maybe they should take a page out of Bill Walsh and script their first fifteen plays. At least they’ll enter the game with some semblance of a plan.
Also, whose bright idea was it to call a prevent defense when the opponent was facing a fourth and 10 on its own 19-yard line, no timeouts, and less than 2 minutes to play? Force an incompletion or get a sack, and the Pats can run the clock out.
3. Jakobi Meyers. Maybe it’s a bit unfair to pin it on him, because Rham inexplicably lateraled the ball to him, but then he decided to run the wrong way and then threw that hideous lateral to no one in particular. What was he thinking? There was no hope of scoring a touchdown on that play, so just step out of bounds and try to win in OT.