All eyes were on Tom Brady when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback returned to Foxboro to take on the New England Patriots. But it's fair to say despite taking the loss, rookie QB Mac Jones outplayed the seven-time Super Bowl champion in Sunday's matchup.
Jones completed 31 of his 40 passes for 275 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. Brady didn't notch a TD, but going 22-of-43 with 269 yards was enough to propel the Bucs to a 19-17 victory.
Even with the Patriots falling to 1-3 on the season, Jones' encouraging performance is inspiring optimism. In fact, Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz and former Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman loved what they saw from the first-round draft pick on the big stage.
"That Mac Jones kid, wow, he impressed me," Ortiz told Edelman on his "Call Him Papi" podcast with Barstool Sports' Jared Carrabis.
"It was cool to see the lights weren't too big for him in that particular situation against Tom, because a lot of guys would put their tail in between their legs when that GOAT comes out there," Edelman told Ortiz. "And you know they got Public Service Announcement, the song by Jay-Z, blasting when Tom runs out there with his little fist pump. He's getting a standing O, the guy's been there for 20 years. That's his home.
"A lot of young guys would have been too scared for that moment, and to see how Mac Jones -- there was a few plays where I was really impressed with how he handled those circumstances with how everything wasn't perfect, but he's got a poise about him which was impressive."
Edelman has thought highly of Jones since the Alabama product was selected 15th overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. Following Jones' first NFL win in Week 2, the three-time Super Bowl champ called the 23-year-old a "stud" and said he "likes his demeanor."
Jones will look to take another step in the right direction when the Patriots visit the Houston Texans on Sunday. Kickoff for the Week 5 matchup is set for 1 p.m. ET.