New England Patriots begin playoffs with a disappointing rookie QB Mac Jones

MIAMI GARDENS (Fla.) — The New England Patriots wanted their best football going into the playoffs. This was not the case.

On Sunday, the Patriots lost 33-24 against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. This was their regular-season final. They are on a poor note and rookie quarterback Mac Jones has caused some concern due to his recent play.

The Patriots will be No. 1 if the Los Angeles Chargers defeat the Las Vegas Raiders Sunday night. The Patriots will be the No. 5 seed and host the Cincinnati Bengals during the wild-card round. The Patriots will visit the Buffalo Bills as the sixth seed if the Raiders win.

Bottom line: The Patriots’ season will soon end in the playoffs if they continue to play as they did in Miami.

They started slow which has been a problem throughout the season. The Dolphins scored their first touchdown by scoring on the opening drive. They were minus-2 at the turnover differential, which is rarely a winning formula. Jones also threw a pick-six, and they lost a ball.

They also made costly mental errors, like hitting quarterback TuaTagovailoa too late and illegally lining up after forcing a punt. This gave the Dolphins another set of downs.

Although a few questionable calls did not go their way, they contributed 10 points to the Dolphins’ victory. However, this was not a performance worthy for a win. Although their late attempt at a comeback was energetic and reflective of a team that can be tough to beat, the initial hole they dug was too big to overcome.

Jones was 20-of-30 for 261 yard, with one touchdown pass and one interception. He was 9 of 9 for 118 yards with a touchdown in fourth quarter.

Bill Belichick frequently talks about emptying the tank every week and then refilling it. Despite a lackluster finish, the Patriots will try to do that in playoffs.

Silver lining:It was possible that Rhamondre Stephenson, a rookie running back, would be unable to play in the second quarter due to a head injury. Stevenson made a remarkable comeback in the third quarter. Stevenson, who is hardworking and should be available for the postseason, should not suffer any setbacks. Left tackle Isaiah Wynn (ankle) and practice-squad-elevated safety Sean Davis (shoulder) didn’t return after suffering their injuries.

Statue of not:Jones has multiple turnovers and the Patriots are currently 1-4. Jones had three passes at the line, a record for this season. This season, Jones had nine passes at the line. Five of them were against the Dolphins.

Harris’ TD total:Running back Damien Harris ran for his 15th touchdown late in the fourth quarter. This placed him in second place on the Patriots single-season records list. LeGarrette Blount holds the franchise record with 18 rushing touchdowns in 2016.