New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones didn't light up the stat sheet against the Los Angeles Chargers in Sunday's Week 8 game at SoFi Stadium, but he helped his team accomplish the most important objective.
The Patriots beat the Chargers 27-24 for their first signature victory of the season, one that improves their record to 4-4.
Jones started fast Sunday, displaying the high level of accuracy he's shown throughout his rookie season and picking up big chunks of yards in the first quarter.
The rest of the afternoon was often a struggle. After completing six of his first nine pass attempts, he connected on just two of his next 13.
Jones ultimately completed 18 of 35 pass attempts for 213 yards with zero touchdowns and zero interceptions. He had eight overthrows in the first half, which was one more than he tallied in the three previous games combined. His 51.4 completion percentage Sunday was the worst of any game he's played this season.
"I definitely didn't have my best day at all," Jones told reporters in his postgame press conference. "I think everyone around me had a great day, and that's what football is all about. I gotta find ways to improve, in that aspect of just being consistent and making the throws I know I can make. The offensive line did a great job keeping me clean. The wide receivers were getting open and the running backs were running hard and protecting. Same thing with the tight ends -- they were getting open.
"We'll have to watch the film, but I think the overall message is just keep playing and it's not always going to be perfect. For me, sometimes that's really hard because I want it to be better than that. I feel like it falls on my hands a lot because that's (the nature of the quarterback position), which is a good thing.
"But I can definitely play better, and I'll put that on me. Everyone around me did a great job -- special teams and defense played great. We played together and didn't quit. The effort was there."
When the Patriots needed Jones to engineer a long drive in the fourth quarter he delivered.
New England got the ball back up 24-17 with 9:40 remaining in regulation, and he helped lead a 14-play drive that went 54 yards and chewed up 6:56 of clock. The end result was a field goal from Nick Folk that put the Patriots ahead 27-17.
Jones, unlike his counterpart, Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert, didn't make any costly mistakes. Herbert's pick-6 in the fourth quarter was the pivotal play in the game.
So, while it's no secret Jones can play better, he did enough to help his team earn a crucial road win, and that's what matters most.