- Joined ESPN in 2011
- New Jersey native and author of two published novels
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The Patriots returned home Sunday on a three-game winning streak following big wins the previous two weeks in Los Angeles and Carolina. They are 4-0 on the road this season, and players say part of the reason is that the road stadiums in which they’ve played have been pretty packed with Patriots fans.
“It’s been great,” tight end Hunter Henry told me a few days ago. “Pats Nation has really traveled well.”
But until Sunday, the 2021 version of the Patriots hadn’t given the home fans much to cheer about. The Patriots were 1-4 at home heading into the game against Cleveland, and after the opening drive of the game they trailed the Browns 7-0.
Then they scored 45 points in a row.
Don’t look now, but the Patriots are the hottest NFL team this side of the Grand Ole Opry. They’ve won four games in a row and five out of six since their 1-3 start. Their rookie quarterback looks better every week. Their defense is suffocating teams. They’re having an absolutely wonderful time with each other, and there was no better evidence of that than the way the entire bench celebrated the first touchdown catch of Jakobi Meyers’ career late in Sunday’s blowout. For goodness’ sake, Bill Belichick couldn’t wipe the smile off his face.
“We have a bunch of new guys that are together for the first time,” Henry told me when I asked about the reason for the turnaround. “A young quarterback. I think we were all learning and had to go through some growing pains we didn’t want to go through, but we did it together.”
Right now, they look to be better for it. A half-game behind Buffalo in the AFC East with both head-to-head matchups still to play, the Patriots look downright dangerous as an AFC contender. And a big part of the reason is the rookie who was the fifth quarterback taken in April’s draft and leads off our Week 10 overreactions.
Mac Jones has the Offensive Rookie of the Year award locked up
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