American Football

Mac Jones, Jakobi Meyers adjust on the fly for Patriots’ game-winning touchdown


NFL: Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Related: Patriots vs. Dolphins: New England prevails over Miami 23-21 to keep playoff hopes alive

After a Kyle Dugger pick-six gave New England a 16-14 lead over the Miami Dolphins in the third quarter, the Patriots needed just one score to comfortably put the game out of reach. Despite the offense being stuck in neutral for much of the third quarter, they delivered when needed.

Facing a 3rd-and-goal from the 1-yard line, Mac Jones lofted a pass to his left where Jakobi Meyers went up and snagged it for a touchdown.

“I shifted out and nobody came out to guard me,” Meyers said postgame. “I looked at Mac and he looked at me and we were just on the same page. It ended up working out.”

The play was a last second change on the fly from the quarterback and receiver after Miami did not respond to Meyers shifting out from a tight split. Meyers explained it was a moment receivers pray for to be that open.

“I think we shifted and stuff. Puts a lot of stress on the defense. Been working on that play for quite some time here,” Jones said postgame. “Finally got to do it in the game. Just a heads-up play. Sometimes with the shifts and motions, that’s what happens on defense. Hard to communicate, all that. But definitely made a great catch.

“Those are sometimes the hardest because you see a guy running out, looking at you, you don’t want to put it on a line so they can intercept it. Definitely made a great play. It was a good situational play.”

Despite it being a play New England has been working on, Meyers is often not the recipient.

“They ran a goal line defense, we shifted out. We had a couple of options on the play. Jakobi was obviously one of the options,” Bill Belichick said. “Mac took that when there were some other options on the play. I would say in practice it probably hasn’t gone to him too many times.

“But Mac saw the matchup, similar to the two-point play that we hit… a couple weeks ago, against Oakland. Different but kind of similar to that. It’s a one-on-one play. If he likes the matchup, he can go out there, then that just trumps the other part of the play.”

While Jones and Meyers were on the same page, it caught others off guard.

“Great recognition by Mac on that touchdown. He’s back there clapping and next thing I know – that was not what I thought was about to happen,” David Andrews said. “Great job by him and Jakobi being on the same page and recognizing what they saw.”

It wasn’t the only big play of the drive from the duo, either. Several plays earlier facing a third-and-five, Jones delivered a perfect ball to Meyers – who leaked out of the backfield – for a 25-yard conversion.

“It’s something that we definitely worked on – something that we tried before,” Meyers said of the play. “You just never know when you get the right look and they called it at the perfect time. We study real hard on what we think they’ll do, but you never really know what guys will do when it’s time. But, we got the right coverage, we got the right look and Mac threw a dime, honestly. That was a great ball, put it in the perfect place so it just worked out.”

“I think it was a really good play call,” Jones later added. “Just kind of give them a little bit of a different presentation, run one of our core plays. It was cool to be able to do that. He had a great route. Obviously had plenty of time to throw it and go through my read. That was a big conversion. We had a few big conversions.”

Led by Jones, the two plays were key parts of New England’s 11-play, 89-yard touchdown drive to extend their lead to 23-14 on the day. It was their longest drive of the day in terms of plays, yards, and time of possession, and came when they needed it the most.

“He did a great job, honestly,” Meyers said of Jones’ performance on the drive. “He put us in the right position to make plays, gave us real catchable balls. He did good. I’m proud of him, the way he led us down there.”

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