By Nick Antonakas
The New England Patriots collapsed on the NFL’s international stage against the Indianapolis Colts by a score of 10-6, and the feeling in New England is dreary.
“This is our 30th year that I’ve had the privilege of owning this team, and I’ve never been 2-7,” Patriots owner Robert Kraft said on NFL Network before the game even started. In a career defining game for both head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Mac Jones, who are both on the hot seat, the Pats were unable to show up.
A questionable screen pass on the final play of the second quarter 60 yards out from the end zone, a failed 35-yard field goal attempt, and plethora of other missed opportunities later, the Patriots found themselves down 10-6 with just under nine minutes to play. New England drove downfield and once again found themselves in a familiar position: a chance to take the lead late in a game.
From there, disaster struck.
Jones threw a pass far off the mark of a wide-open Mike Gesicki, leading to Colts safety Julian Blackmon intercepting the ball.
That would be the last time Jones would step on the field on Sunday. For the rest of the game, he sat on the sideline holding back tears, illustrating the damage the organization had done to the former first-round draft pick. When the Pats found themselves with the ball back with less than two minutes to play, it was backup QB Bailey Zappe shifting into the lineup.
Zappe certainly didn’t step up like some thought he would, throwing multiple incompletions in the lead up to yet another disastrous play. Faced with a 4th-and-1, New England elected to run the ball with no timeouts left. While they got the first down, the clock was still running. Zappe signaled for a spike, but would fake clocking the ball and look down field. Instead of throwing to a Patriot, he threw in the direction of four Colts defenders, leading to a laughable interception.
“I thought it was time for a change,” Belichick said post game in response to questions asking why he pulled Jones from the game. “Not making any QB decisions at this time.”
While Belichick wasn’t vocal about his belief in Jones for the future, it seems like the young quarterback knows just as much as us. “I’m not sure,” Jones said when asked if he thought Belichick still believed in him, letting silence fill the room as reporters waited for more. “I don’t know.”
Luckily for New England, they have a bye next week to emotionally recover from their crumbling in Germany. They face off against the New York Giants on Nov. 26.