BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots picked up a massively important and pretty convincing win over the L.A. Chargers on Sunday. It was exactly the kind of victory the team needed, and now has New England back to .500 on the season.

The win rests mostly on the shoulders of the New England defense, which held the Chargers in check and came up with the play of the game; a fourth-quarter pick-six by safety Adrian Phillips.

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Sometime in the near future, rookie quarterback Mac Jones hopes to have his fingerprints all over this kind of victory. But on Sunday, after a so-so day on the field, he knew that he was more of a passenger in the Week 8 victory.

“I definitely didn’t have my best day, at all,” Jones told reporters after New England’s 27-24 win. “Everyone around me had a great day, and that is what football is all about. I have to find ways to improve in being consistent and making the throws I know that I can make.”

Jones was quick to pass praise to just about everyone else on the roster, from the offensive line to New England’s running backs to the entire defense. But he continued to criticize himself after what he saw as a lackluster showing.

“It’s not always going to be perfect and for me, that’s hard. I want it to be better than that because I feel it falls on my hands a lot,” he said. “That’s what the quarterback is. I can play better and I’ll put that on me. We played together and didn’t quit. The effort was there and the guys around me played good. That is all there is to it.”

Jones got off to a fast start, but then fell into a slump in the second and third quarters. At one point, he had completed just two of 13 passes ahead of halftime, as the New England offense stalled on back-to-back trips into the red zone. He rushed a good chunk of his throws, which sailed well out of the reach of his intended targets or, in one case, hit them in the legs.

Jones finished his day 18-for-35, well below his career completion percentage of 70, for just 218 passing yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. The Chargers pass rush had a part in his struggles, but Jones said that he can be much better with his decision making going forward.

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“That’s on me,” he said of forcing quick throws. “I can improve on that and find ways when I know I need to get it out and know when I don’t. It starts with patience; knowing when to hold it and when to throw it.”

While he struggled for a large stretch of the game, Jones and the Patriots offense did their job when it mattered most. With the Patriots hanging on to a 24-17 lead after Adrian Phillips’ pick-six and a quick three-and-out by the Chargers offense, Jones and company had just one job: Kill the clock and, if possible, add to New England’s lead.

They did just that with a 14-play drive that ate seven minutes off the clock, a drive that ended with a 30-yard, game-sealing field goal by Nick Folk. While their trip to the end zone didn’t end with a touchdown, Jones hit Jakobi Meyers with a key completion on a third-and-1 pass down to the the L.A. 11-yard line. That let the Patriots eat another minute off the clock before adding three points to their lead and giving the ball back to Los Angeles.

It was far from perfect from Jones, but he didn’t make any major mistakes and the Patriots walked away with a tough road win. It puts them back in the playoff mix in the AFC, and it was the kind of close win that the Patriots would be on the other side of just a few weeks ago.

“It’s great. We’ve been on the other end — being close and not finishing, playing well early and not as well later on. Today was reverse,” said Jones. “We didn’t look at the scoreboard and focused on doing our job; holding onto the ball and staying in bounds. It was good.

“We finished strong and that’s the moral of the story. It feels better to be on the winning side and not playing well than to be on the losing side,” Jones added. “But don’t be satisfied, keep working and next week, we’ll be ready to go.”

Jones continues to make baby steps during his rookie season, and with those steps come plenty of stumbles along the way. That was the case in the second and third quarter on Sunday.

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But Jones was back on his feet by the fourth quarter, and as the rest of the team stood tall, he did the same. Now it’s up to Jones to make sure all that went wrong in Week 8 is much, much better by Week 9. Staff