Patriots sit even at 6-6 with work to do before their next game with Cardinals


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Patriots look to make a late playoff push.

Vincent Callahan, Crier Staff

This year for the Patriots has been concerning to almost every New England Patriots fan. Hopes were high at the beginning of the year after coming off a playoff berth and a Pro Bowl appearance by rookie quarterback Mac Jones, but these hopes did not last long. 

This hope was soon stepped on during the offseason when Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels left to be the head coach for the Las Vegas Raiders. Instead of hiring someone with offensive playcalling experience, Bill Belichick, Head Coach and General Manager of NE, decided to hire Matt Patricia and Joe Judge to help call plays for the second-year quarterback. So with a new playbook and essentially a new offense the Patriots were already looking at a rocky season.

The Patriots opened up the season to the Miami Dolphins who hired a new Head Coach and traded for one of the best Wide Receivers in the league, Tyreek Hill. The game, however, did not go as well as many people thought. The final score was 20-7 declaring the Dolphins as the winner. Most people brushed this under the rug due to it being the first game of the year with a new offense, but it soon became very noticeable. 

The second game the Pats played was against the Steelers with a new quarterback under center after Ben Roethlisberger retired. This game saw a final score of 17-14 with the Pats winning. 

They then moved on to face Baltimore, and this is when the mayhem started. Mac Jones did not play well in this game, accumulating 3 interceptions to 0 touchdowns, but that is not why many remember this game. This is the game when Mac Jones injured his ankle which effectively sidelined him for 4 weeks. 

The Pats then moved on to the Packers at Green Bay with Brian Hoyer as the starter. In one of the first drives of the game, Hoyer was sidelined due to a concussion allowing rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe to play the majority of the game. In his first-ever game, he had to go against the Packers in Green Bay, which is a very dangerous environment for a rookie. But Zappe did not let that get to him as he passed for 99 yards and a touchdown in a three-point loss to the Packers. This brought the emergence of Zappe fever which started to pop up all over New England. 

The next two games were against the Lions, which saw the Patriots shutting them out 29-0, and the Browns, who the Patriots beat 38-15. Zappe fever was at its highest point and many wanted him to start for the rest of the season, but that hope came crashing down the next week when the Patriots played the Bears. 

Mac Jones started again, but after a couple of drives, he was greeted with boos and chants telling coach Belichick to put Zappe in, which he did. Many speculate if the plan all along was to see where Jones was standing with his ankle, which wasn’t fully healed, and then put Zappe in to finish the game. The Bears handily beat the Patriots 33-14. 

The Patriots played the Jets twice over the next 6 weeks, beating them each time by a combined score of 32-20 after two games. They also beat the Colts with a final score of 26-3. On Thanksgiving Day the Patriots offense looked more alive than ever, but due to a debatable call that didn’t count as a touchdown, they lost to the Vikings 33-26. 

Finally, on Thursday Night Football, the Patriots played the Bills at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots lost to the Bills 24-10. Mac Jones was visibly upset about the playcalling, and the fans attending booed the play-callers rather than the players themselves. The Patriots go to Arizona next week with a record of 6-6 to fight for a spot in the playoffs.