Ex-NFL head coach encouraged by Mac Jones' play late in Patriots-Colts


Rex Ryan has been critical of New England Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones during the 2021 NFL season, particularly early on when the offense didn't have a prolific passing attack and the team stumbled to a 2-4 record through six weeks.

At one point in October, Ryan even said the Patriots were going to miss the playoffs because they had a "peashooter" at quarterback in Jones.

Fast forward two months and the Patriots are 9-5 atop the AFC East division and a real threat to earn the conference's No. 1 seed. Jones has played a meaningful part in this turnaround as well.

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Despite an up-and-down performance in a 27-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday night, Ryan actually liked what he saw from the rookie QB, especially late in the game as New England tried to mount a comeback.

“I will say this about New England, about your Patriots: Look, I was laughing about the peashooter and all that type of stuff,” Ryan said Sunday on ESPN's "Sunday NFL Countdown".

“But he showed me that in the fourth quarter -- that’s one thing he had to answer. Could he bring a team back? He did bring his team back. So, to me, that’s got to be encouraging as well for the Patriots.”


Patriots Talk Podcast: Aftermath: Patriots & Mac Jones take an L, were they due or are they doomed? | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

Jones was one of the reasons why the Patriots faced a 20-0 deficit in the third quarter Saturday night. He threw two interceptions, including one in the red zone late in the first half when New England was poised to score.

He did, however, show impressive poise and resilience throughout the second half, especially in the fourth quarter when he threw two touchdown passes and the Patriots outscored the Colts 17-7.

Jones' late rally ultimately wasn't enough, but as Ryan points out, his ability to bounce back from a poor first-half performance and give the Patriots a chance to tie the score late was encouraging.