Patriots-Ravens takeaways: Jones throws three INTs, leaves injured in ugly loss originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The New England Patriots had every chance to win Sunday's Week 3 game against the Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium, but they just couldn't protect the football.
The Ravens are hard enough to beat without turning the ball over. But the Patriots committed four (!) turnovers in a five possession span in the second half, which resulted in 10 Baltimore points in a 37-26 win for the Ravens.
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Patriots quarterback Mac Jones' struggles to begin the season continued. He completed 22 of 32 attempts for 321 yards with zero touchdowns and three interceptions. He also ran for a touchdown. Jones was hobbling off the field injured after his final throw, which was an interception late in the fourth quarter.
The Patriots opened the second half with a touchdown to go ahead 20-14. It was all downhill from there as Baltimore outscored New England 23-6 the rest of the way.
1. Turnovers prove costly for Patriots
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Patriots quarterback Mac Jones threw two interceptions in the second half, and both were poor throws/decisions.
The first came late in the third quarter after the Ravens had taken a 28-20 lead. Jones was looking for Parker but the throw wasn't anywhere close to the veteran wideout and Ravens linebacker Josh Bynes picked it off.
The Ravens turned this turnover into three points as Justin Tucker hit on a 56-yard field goal on the ensuing Baltimore possession.
The second interception was even worse.
Jones again was trying to hit Parker but his throw sailed too high and into the hands of Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey in the end zone. Instead of kicking a short field goal and trimming the Ravens' lead to two, the Patriots got nothing.
That wasn't the last turnover for the Patriots, though.
Their third of the day happened on a long reception by Nelson Agholor, but before being tackled, Ravens safety Kyle Hamilton jarred the ball loose and Baltimore recovered it.
A promising drive that could have ended with the go-ahead touchdown again stalled with a costly mistake.
Jones threw his third interception on the Patriots' next drive and hobbled off the field with an apparent injury.
The Patriots committed three turnovers in Week 1 and four more Sunday. They've totaled eight turnovers in three games. It's extremely hard to beat quality teams when the turnover margin is so lopsided. Ball security is one area where the Patriots must show massive improvement to turn around their season.
2. Welcome, DeVante Parker!
Parker was brought in over the offseason via trade to give the Patriots offense a reliable target on the outside and someone who can win 50-50 balls down field. After a lackluster start in the first two games -- one reception for nine yards on four targets -- he broke out in a major way versus the Ravens.
The Patriots' first offensive play was a strike from Mac Jones to Parker for a 31-yard gain.
Parker helped the Patriots march into Ravens territory on their first drive of the second half with a 36-yard reception between two defenders.
Jones hit Parker again, connecting on a 25-yard pass down to the 2-yard line. The Patriots ultimately finished the drive with a Damien Harris rushing touchdown to take a 20-14 lead.
Parker finished with five receptions for 156 yards. Each of his five receptions went for 20-plus yards. With Jakobi Meyers sidelined with a knee injury, the Patriots needed one of their veteran wideouts to step up and make clutch plays. Parker filled that role in a major way. The challenge for Parker going forward is being this type of big-play wideout on a more consistent basis.
3. Lamar Jackson is just too good
Good luck defending Lamar Jackson.
The Ravens quarterback is the best dual-threat player at the position in the history of pro football.
The criticism of Jackson early in his career was that his ability as a pocket passer wasn't elite. Those concerns have been put to rest. He completed 18 of 29 pass attempts for 219 yards with four touchdowns and one interception, in addition to 107 rushing yards (9.7 per carry) and one more touchdown.
Jackson secured the victory with his rushing touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
The 2019 league MVP has thrown for 749 yards with nine touchdowns and two interceptions through three games. He's also rushed for 246 yards and two touchdowns.
He should be the frontrunner for MVP entering Week 4. He's literally carrying the Ravens on his back.
4. Ravens tight ends dominate
Ravens tight end Mark Andrews vaulted into the top tier of pass-catching tight ends last season, and he made his presence felt early in Sunday's game.
He caught four passes for 39 yards on the Ravens' second drive, including a one-handed reception on a third-down play that kept the possession alive.
Andrews finished the drive with a short touchdown catch from Jackson.
The shovel pass was a nice play-call by Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman.
Andrews struck again late in the second quarter, hauling in a tough catch despite plenty of contact from Patriots safety Devin McCourty.
Andrews, who finished with eight receptions for 89 yards and two scores, wasn't the only Ravens tight end who made a strong impact. Josh Oliver caught two passes for eight yards, including a go-ahead touchdown grab in the third quarter.
The Patriots had done a pretty good job defending tight ends in the first two games of the season, allowing just five catches for 25 yards and a touchdown to Mike Gesicki (Dolphins) and Pat Freiermuth (Steelers). Andrews' performance, plus Oliver's touchdown catch, will give New England's defensive coaches plenty of film to showcase for teaching purposes this week.
5. Deatrich Wise is a pass-rushing menace
The Ravens, and left tackle Daniel Faalele in particular, had an awful time trying to block Patriots defensive end Deatrich Wise.
Wise tallied three sacks, becoming the first Patriots player to accomplish that feat since Chandler Jones did it on Sept. 20, 2015 against the Bills.
Those three sacks give Wise four through three games, surpassing his total of three last season when he played 16 games.
Wise has played more than 80 percent of the Patriots' defensive snaps through three games. He's never played more than 56 percent of those snaps in his five previous seasons. Wise is rewarding the coaches' faith in him and making the most of his increased playing time.