By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — In a lot of ways, Mac Jones is the perfect quarterback for Bill Belichick. The quarterback’s answer to one question after Thursday night’s win over the Falcons provides the clearest picture of why.READ MORE: Bill Belichick Heaps Praise On Tom Brady When Asked About QB's Documentary Series
Jones was highly efficient if unspectacular on Thursday night, completing 22 of his 26 passes, spreading the ball to nine different pass catchers, throwing one touchdown and one pick, and winning his seventh game of the year. That victory opened the door for a weekend away from football for the Patriots. But with an open slate for Sunday for the first time of his professional life, Jones has one goal in mind for Sunday: Football, football, and more football.
“Um, yeah, I’ll just get home, watch the film, and then relax with my family,” Jones said. “And then just keep watching film.”
Jones laughed at himself after delivering that answer, but there’s little reason to doubt the honesty of the statement. He’s obviously dedicated himself to studying and learning and developing as well and as quickly as he possible can, winning the job over Cam Newton in the summer and continuing to improve throughout the season.
It’s paying dividends, too. In the last three games, he’s completed 79.1 percent of his passes. His yardage (544 yards) and touchdown total (5) obviously don’t jump off the page, but with the Patriots’ defense allowing just 13 total points over the past three weeks, the quarterback has been doing all that’s been needed of him. He’s also averaged 8.1 yards per attempt, while posting a passer rating of 112.9 over those three games, so he’s been productive when he does pass the football.
(Side note: with seven wins, Jones has two more wins than the four QBs drafted ahead of him … combined. “QB wins” are not a real stat, of course, but it’s notable nevertheless.)READ MORE: Sometimes You Have To Let The Bills Just Bills Themselves And Other Leftover Patriots Thoughts
Still, he’s far from a finished product, and his interception on Thursday night — as well as one misfire on third down — were blemishes that a self-critical player like Jones will surely spend plenty of time studying in the coming hours and days.
“Yeah, it’s first down, and you never want to throw an interception on first down in the high red zone,” Jones said of his pick. “So I’ll have to watch it and see what happened. But the guy [A.J. Terrell] made a good play, and the line gave me enough time. It was just a bad throw and a poor read.”
As tends to be the case in these postgame press conferences, Jones was quicker to talk about his bad plays than his good ones. While the national media may have pushed the Mac Jones Hype Train out of the station last week, Jones himself is almost never stoking that fire.
“You always just take what the defense gives. If they give you the completion, take it. If they don’t, throw it away or do whatever you have to do to not make a bad play. And I could do better at that, but always take what the defense gives,” Jones said.
With the Patriots’ success, the spotlight will shine a bit brighter in the coming weeks. New England hosts the AFC-leading Titans in Week 12, followed by another prime-time opportunity on a Monday night in Buffalo in Week 13.MORE NEWS: ESPN's Ryan Clark Compares Bill Belichick To ... God?
After that, the Patriots will really know where they stand in the AFC before they hit their Week 14 bye week — a break which Jones will almost certainly spend … watching film.