AFC East

Mac Jones Wins Offensive Rookie of the Month

Mac Jones
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

The NFL announced on Thursday that New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month for November.

Jones played an important part in the Patriots going undefeated last month. They exited November with a perfect 4-0 record, outscoring their opponents 130-26 along the way. Going into Week 9 of the 2021 NFL season, the Patriots had a record of 4-4 and were sitting at 2nd in the AFC East. Now about to enter Week 13, the Patriots boast an 8-4 record, placing them atop the AFC East and in 2nd place in the AFC at large.

Competing with the Best

Not only did Mac Jones outshine his rookie counterparts in November, he also played like one of the best quarterbacks in the entire NFL during this stretch. Over the course of 4 games, Jones completed 76 of 99 passes for 854 yards, 7 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. This passing yardage total was the 11th highest in the league for the month; however, Jones was the only quarterback in the top 18 passing yardage leaders for the month of November to attempt fewer than 100 passes.

StatisticMac Jones in NovemberRank Among Rookie QBsRank Among All QBs
Pass Attempts99220
Completions76113 (Tied)
Passing Yards854111
Passing Touchdowns713 (Tied)
Mac Jones’ November Stats Compared to Rookie QBs and All NFL QBs. Statistics courtesy of The Football Database and Pro Football Reference.

Winning Through Efficiency

In fact, Jones’ stats look all the more impressive when they are adjusted for volume. For the month of November, Mac Jones had the 3rd highest completion percentage, highest yards per attempt, highest touchdown percentage, and highest quarterback rating of all quarterbacks with at least 75 passing attempts.

StatisticMac Jones in NovemberRank Among Rookie QBsRank Among All QBs
Completion Percentage76.8%13
Yards per Attempt8.611
Touchdown Percentage7.1%11
Quarterback Rating117.111
Mac Jones’ Volume-Adjusted Stats in November Compared to Rookie QBs and All NFL QBs (Minimum of 75 Pass Attempts). Statistics courtesy of The Football Database and Pro Football Reference.

Big Step Forward

The play of Mac Jones during the month of November also gives reason to believe that he has yet to play his best football this season. Over the course of his first 8 games, Jones threw 9 touchdowns to 6 interceptions with a TD% of 3.19% and an INT% of 2.13%. In his last 4 games, Jones has thrown 7 touchdowns to only 2 interceptions, good enough for a vastly improved TD% of 7.07% and an INT% of 2.02%. Additionally, Jones completed 68.09% of his passes in his first 8 games and completed 76.77% of his passes in his last 4 games. He also set single game highs in completion percentage, passing yards, passing touchdowns, and quarterback rating.

StatisticFirst 8 GamesLast 4 Games
Touchdowns97
Interceptions62
Touchdown Percentage3.19%7.07%
Interception Percentage2.13%2.02%
Completion Percentage68.09%76.77%
Comparing Mac Jones’ stats in his first 8 starts versus his 4 most recent starts. Statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference.

Rookie of the Year?

Mac Jones
AP Photo/Tony Dejak

Jones now appears to be in the driver’s seat for Offensive Rookie of the Year. Per Vegas Insider, he has -225 odds to win the award, while the next closest player, Ja’Marr Chase, has +180 odds at winning. Najee Harris rounds out the top 3 with +2800 odds.

Crucial Stretch

The New England Patriots also appear to be in the driver’s seat with regard to their playoff chances. As noted earlier, they now sit atop the AFC East, 1 win ahead of the 7-4 Buffalo Bills.

This week, Mac Jones and the Pats travel to Buffalo on Monday Night Football for a game with immense playoff implications, as whoever wins will hold 1st place in the division. The game gains even more importance when considering that the Bills remain undefeated within their division while the Patriots have lost 1 divisional game thus far. If the Pats and the Bills end up splitting their head-to-head series this season (the Pats play the Bills in 2 of their next 3 games), divisional record will be the next tiebreaker. A loss for the Pats will mean that they may not be able to regain a lead in the division even if they beat Buffalo in Week 16.

History versus… History?

For what it’s worth, history does appear to be on the side of Mac Jones and the Patriots, at least as far as their playoff chances are concerned. By going 4-0 in the month of November, Jones joined Ben Roethlisberger (2004), Kyle Orton (2005), and Dak Prescott (2016) as the only other rookie QBs to accomplish this feat in the Super Bowl era. All three previous members of this group went on to win their division, and, to top it all off, both Roethlisberger and Prescott went on to win Offensive Rookie of the Year as well.

That being said, Jones and the Pats would have to buck pretty significant historical trends to make a Super Bowl run this year. Not only has a rookie quarterback never won the big game, but a rookie QB hasn’t ever even made it to a Super Bowl. Mac Jones will surely do everything in his power to make history when the playoffs roll around by being the first rookie QB to earn this honor.

Foot on the Gas…

In a season that seems to have more parity than most in recent memory, the Patriots could make a legitimate splash in the playoffs, especially if Mac Jones continues to improve at his current rate. They will be a team to keep a close eye on as the 2021 NFL season enters the home stretch.

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  1. Pingback: Bears Give Early Lead And Win to Cardinals - Championship Sports Media

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