December 5, 2023

Patriots

“I’m making an attempt to make it a 75-25 ball, not a 50-50.”

Demario Douglas gained 70 complete yards on his 5 touches Sunday afternoon. Maddie Meyer/Getty Photographs

Even earlier than Mac Jones and the Patriots took the sphere earlier than a determined last drive within the fourth quarter, Demario Douglas believed.

Not simply in his quarterback and offense’s means to orchestrate a game-winning drive and stave off what was a crushing collapse within the closing minutes of play.

But additionally in his personal means to go away his mark on a sputtering offense in determined want of playmakers.

Granted, that confidence was brewing lengthy earlier than the 22-year-old receiver strapped on his shoulder pads forward of Sunday’s showdown in opposition to the Buffalo Payments.

“I listened to a music earlier than the sport, it was loopy,” Douglas famous postgame. “Rod Wave — ‘Shock The World.’ And he mentioned, ‘Look how we shocked the world / Look how he overcame.’”

The pregame playlist proved to be prophetic, given each New England’s surprising 29-25 comeback win over the once-presumed prime canine within the division — in addition to Douglas’ personal breakout efficiency because the staff’s sought-after spark plug.

“It’s a blessing,” Douglas mentioned after New England’s victory over Buffalo. “It’s a blessing to return again and play for the staff. I felt like this sport, all of us play for one another. There was no ‘I’. All of us performed for one another till the top, play for 60 minutes.”

Jones and his fourth-quarter heroics on New England’s final drive will deservedly draw a lot of the headlines from Sunday’s victory.

However after weeks of offensive ineptitude, New England’s fourth-quarter rally was simply the cherry on prime of a much-needed rebound efficiency from that unit.

With a reworked offensive line protecting Jones upright and Invoice O’Brien dialing up extra RPOs (run-pass choices) and pre-snap motions, New England’s offense managed to accrue 364 complete yards of offense.

After not reaching the purple zone in 29 straight possessions earlier this month, six of New England’s 9 drives in opposition to Buffalo made it throughout the Payments’ 20-yard line.

Go safety looms massive within the wake of New England’s go offensive output in latest reminiscence. Nevertheless it also needs to not come as a lot of a shock that New England reeled off a number of chunk-yardage performs with Douglas incomes an uptick in reps.

With JuJu Smith-Schuster dominated out for the second straight sport as a consequence of a concussion, Douglas — again after lacking Week 6 as a consequence of a concussion — served as one in every of Jones’ most dependable targets and delivered.

By means of the air, he reeled in 4 of his six targets for 54 yards. His lone speeding play of the afternoon went for 20 yards — the longest achieve on the bottom for the Patriots all season lengthy. He additionally drew two penalties, one in every of which put New England in a first-and-goal state of affairs within the last minute of play.

“I play with confidence,” Douglas mentioned. “ I don’t need that first particular person to sort out me. … The ball is coming my method? I have to make that play. I’m making an attempt to make it a 75-25 ball, not a 50-50.”

Even on particular groups, Douglas made his presence felt with a 25-yard pickup off a punt return. New England began at Buffalo’s 43-yard line because of Douglas’ efforts within the second quarter, ultimately resulting in a discipline objective from Chad Ryland.

New England’s offense might not be as impotent because the dysfunctional unit we noticed battle to even achieve first downs earlier this 12 months in opposition to the Jets, Saints, and Raiders.

However the Patriots are nonetheless severely missing with regards to high-end expertise and velocity, particularly amongst its crop of receiving choices for Jones. New England’s motions helped open issues up in opposition to Buffalo, however Douglas is among the fewer performs on this roster able to creating separation and lengthening performs because of his personal talent set.

“Massive spark,” Kendrick Bourne mentioned of Douglas’ sport. “Beginning the sport [well] on sure bubbles and YAC-ing [yards after catching] the ball, working the ball nicely.

“Simply pleased with that man. The way in which he got here again from damage and was simply locked in, it was good to see. … [Bill O’Brien] places us in place to make the play and we are able to make it higher by actually being locked into the small print of it. You see lots of these YACs and Mac being on the identical web page, you’ll see loads [more] of these YAC performs.”

Sunday’s victory over the Payments could not sign {that a} second-half surge sits on the horizon for a Patriots staff nonetheless within the midst of a 2-5 begin.

However a win continues to be a win, and Sunday’s exhibiting supplied up hope that New England’s offense has lots extra to offer within the weeks forward.

If New England desires to stack performances like this, Douglas must maintain getting the decision in vital junctures of a sport.

“I’m simply pleased to be on the sphere,” Douglas mentioned. “I missed final week and coming again this week? It’s a blessing. And getting the dub? God is sweet.”