For the rookie quarterback, this was an opportunity to show himself even more on a broader national stage and cement his status as one of the better first-year signal callers in recent NFL history.
That’s until we got wind of (literally) the weather forecast in Buffalo for the game. Gust of winds hit north of 55 miles-per-hour while lake-effect snow could be seen around. For a young man who had not even seen snow as recently as 2015, these were not ideal situations.
It showed with Mac Jones’ stat line for the game. Through three quarters, he had attempted all of one pass for 12 yards. At that very same point, the Patriots were nearing 40 rush attempts. That’s not a typo. Bill Belichick and Co. went full Army-Navy with that rivalry game set to take place in the matter of days.
Jones did end up attempting two passes in the fourth quarter, completing just one of them. He finished the evening 2-of-3 passing for 19 yards. None of it really mattered in these conditions with the Patriots coming out on top 14-10 to earn their seventh consecutive win.
Mac Jones, New England Patriots make history
With just one pass attempt in the first half, the Patriots put the ball in the air the fewest amount of times in the first two quarters of an NFL game since all the way back in 1978.
Jones’ three passes represent the fewest in the long and heralded history of the New England Patriots, too. Steve Grogan previously held the record during the famed 1982 snowplow game.
From an NFL perspective, just 12 teams have finished a game with 10 or less pass attempts since 2000. The lowest during that span was the Houston Texans with six back in 2002. New England is also the first team since 1974 to play an entire game with three pass attempts or fewer. And they won the game.
As Mac Jones was busy completing two passes (one to Jonnu Smith and the other to Brandon Bolden), New England’s rushing attack dominated. The team ran the ball a total of 46 times for 222 yards. Damien Harris had 111 yards on his own, including a 64-yard touchdown to open the scoring.
Yeah, these Patriots are for real.