FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The New England Patriots' 10-6 loss to the Indianapolis Colts leaves quarterback Mac Jones potentially facing a lot of questions on a long flight back from Germany.
Will he even start the Patriots' next game? After all, nothing seems certain with the Patriots right now.
Jones was replaced by backup Bailey Zappe late in the fourth quarter.
With the team at 2-8 and with two weeks until its next game at the New York Giants on Nov. 26, it could be time for some changes.
“At the end of the day, I’ve got to play better. To make people believe, you’ve got to be better. I’m not sure. I don’t know,” said Jones when asked if he felt coach Bill Belichick still has faith in him as the starting quarterback.
Asked if he still has faith in Jones, Belichick said simply: “I have faith in all our players.”
Jones was sacked five times in the first half, leading the Patriots to switch to more of a rushing game in the third quarter, and he threw a costly red zone interception in the fourth quarter with a pass he called a “terrible throw.”
Trailing 10-6 late in the fourth quarter, Jones drove the Patriots inside the red zone, but was intercepted by Julian Blackmon on a pass intended for tight end Mike Gesicki at the 1-yard line.
Jones said “there were some things I was working through” on that throw and that he ended the game “a little bruised."
Second-year quarterback Zappe has played in two other games this season before Sunday, but only in blowouts such as the 38-3 loss to the Cowboys on Oct. 1 and a 34-0 loss to the Saints a week later.
Given a chance — though a tough one — Sunday to win a game for the Patriots, Zappe completed 3 of 7 attempts for 25 yards and finished by throwing an interception to Rodney Thomas on a fake-spike play to seal the game.
Colts quarterback Gardner Minshew said he had some sympathy for Zappe's situation in the last two minutes of the game.
“That’s a hard spot to go in on your own 15, no timeouts, two minutes left. That’s tough,” he said.
Back in Belichick's first season with the Patriots in 2000, the team slipped to 2-8 on Nov. 12, but improved to finish the season 5-11.
Now New England needs to find a way to emerge from its bye week an improved team.
“There's no division” between New England's offensive and defensive units, defensive lineman Deatrich Wise Jr. said after a game in which the defense allowed 10 points and still lost.
The bye week is a time for “recharging, resetting, kind of just getting away for a little bit,” he said, “and then towards the end of it just refreshing and getting back, ready to finish out these next games strong.”
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL
James Ellingworth, The Associated Press