Three franchise-altering questions after Patriots’ disastrous loss to Raiders

The Sin Metropolis Miracle, the Lateral of Disgrace — no matter you wish to name it — might have modified the trajectory of two franchises. 

The New England Patriots are more likely to miss the playoffs, with only a 19% probability of incomes a wild-card spot, per And the Las Vegas Raiders might have a renewed sense of religion in coach Josh McDaniels, who lastly skilled a last-second victory after struggling some late collapses.

You’ll have heard that the Raiders defeated the Patriots 30-24 on Sunday in actually mind-boggling style. To recap, with three seconds remaining Las Vegas outdoors linebacker Chandler Jones intercepted a lateral from New England WR Jakobi Meyers that was supposed for QB Mac Jones. Chandler then proceeded to stiff-arm Mac on the best way to the end-zone for a walk-off landing. 

Raiders rating miraculous game-winning TD

Raiders score miraculous game-winning TD

With three seconds left and a tie rating, the Patriots ran the ball, principally conceding time beyond regulation. After a 23-yard acquire, RB Rhamondre Stevenson pitched the ball to Jakobi Meyers, who handed the ball again towards Mac Jones. Raiders LB Chandler Jones picked off the lateral and ran the ball to the home for a Las Vegas win. Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe react to the wild ending.

It was a New England meltdown that left Meyers in tears within the locker room. It was a sensation that left Chandler Jones saying he loves McDaniels in a postgame interview.

I already dissected the play. So let’s dissect the fallout of this play. As a result of its influence might be profound in sending these two groups into the offseason with reverse senses of path.

Did Josh McDaniels’ win over the Patriots save his job with the Raiders?

McDaniels has been on the opposite finish of fourth-quarter catastrophes this season.

Final week, the Raiders misplaced to the Los Angeles Rams by one level — and on the expense of a comeback by quarterback Baker Mayfield simply days after he signed with L.A. The Raiders misplaced to the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs by one level and to the Tennessee Titans by two. A lot of the Raiders’ wins have been a battle, too. Eleven of their 15 video games have completed with a one-score differential.

Absolutely, it felt good for McDaniels to notch the win. The Raiders are actually 4-1 of their previous 5 video games.

“Well, I’ve stood up here a lot this year after some crazy finishes,” McDaniels stated postgame. “I just told the guys in the locker room: We keep fighting and keep playing with great effort. We obviously have a lot of character in our locker room and continue to fight and press on even when it felt like it was hard. Lost a lead there late in the fourth quarter and guys came back and made the plays that they needed to make to win.

“I imply, it is soccer, the ball bounces loopy, loopy methods. It is not a predictable sport typically. And clearly the ending was in all probability essentially the most insane ending I feel I’ve ever been part of, however we’ll take it. We’ll take it, for certain.”

Patriots dedicated “dumbest play ever”

Patriots committed "dumbest play ever"

Colin Cowherd calls the Patriots’ lateral the “dumbest play” he is ever seen.

At 6-8, the Raiders aren’t doubtless going to make the postseason, particularly not with the Chargers profitable on Sunday. So McDaniels’ workforce did not save the season with the win. He might need saved his job, nonetheless. Las Vegas seems to be out of the blue formidable — no less than extra so than earlier this yr. And whereas proprietor Mark Davis has insisted he’ll follow McDaniels it doesn’t matter what this yr, there was some doubt when the Raiders began 2-7 in a season by which they have been anticipated to compete for the postseason.

McDaniels ought to maintain onto his job, barring an enormous shock. This win over New England — which concluded with the insane lateral — would possibly simply give McDaniels one other yr to show himself. Had he misplaced — and suffered a number of extra defeats down the stretch — he might need ended up the offensive coordinator for the Patriots once more.

The place do Patriots go in wake of an terrible offensive season?

Even after this humiliating end, New England’s season is progressing roughly as many anticipated. The Patriots are 7-7 heading into the roughest a part of their schedule, closing the common season in opposition to the Bengals, Dolphins and Payments. It is potential — perhaps even doubtless — that New England finally ends up 7-10. I did not essentially anticipate this workforce to make the postseason, significantly given how robust their schedule was. I anticipated an honest begin adopted by a collapse. 

It is not just like the Patriots have was a distinct workforce. They’ve merely performed considerably extra proficient opponents. And, maybe, New England not turning into a distinct workforce is a nasty factor. The Patriots offense wanted to evolve in the event that they have been going to make the postseason. And it hasn’t.

Their protection exceeded expectations. Their offense failed to fulfill them. And Sunday’s sport was a microcosm of a workforce that desperately wanted its protection or particular groups to attain factors to win. That is what the protection did in opposition to the Raiders, with security Kyle Dugger logging a pick-six. That rating made the Patriots protection the league chief in defensive touchdowns (6). New England additionally added a punt return landing, which served because the game-winner in opposition to the New York Jets in Week 11.

In order the Patriots consider their offense — and the way it wants to vary — they are going to take a look at two individuals, particularly. There’s quarterback Mac Jones, who accomplished simply 42% of his passes for 112 yards in opposition to the Raiders. And there is offensive playcaller Matt Patricia, whose playcalling and play-designing have been unimpressive. The Patriots offense has put up the eighth-fewest yards per sport and the ninth-fewest offensive factors per sport. 

It would not damage to evaluate the receiver group, too, the place the highest targets for 2023 venture to be DeVante Parker, Tyquan Thornton and Kendrick Bourne. Meyers, their high choice, and Nelson Agholor, their highest-paid choice, are pending free brokers. Meyers can be price retaining, however the Patriots nonetheless want a real No. 1 choice. They’ve wanted one for years.

So New England ought to in all probability add a receiver. And the workforce ought to in all probability half methods with both Patricia or Jones — whoever is on the root of the offensive points. And on condition that Jones confirmed great promise underneath McDaniels and Patricia has completed nothing however sink QB stats throughout his profession, the Patriots ought to in all probability substitute Patricia this offseason — or maybe transfer him again to the defensive aspect of the ball the place he has loved previous successes.

Is there any means that Mac Jones results in Vegas?

It makes extra sense, in my thoughts, to maneuver Patricia over to the protection and provides Jones yet another yr to show himself underneath a extra succesful coordinator. However this is why Invoice Belichick may not try this.

1. As a lot as Patricia has appeared like the issue, Belichick stays religious in his admiration for the previous Lions head coach. Belichick gave Patricia a job quickly after his failed stint in Detroit. And now, Belichick has given Patricia his first gig as an offensive playcaller. Belichick has defended Patricia all season lengthy.

2. It’s uncommon for Belichick to show tail on a failed experiment after one yr. Belichick is cussed, even when it is instantly clear he has made a mistake.

3. Belichick may not like what Patricia is doing, however he would possibly like what Jones is doing even much less. Not solely has Jones struggled on the sector, his habits — and flagrant insubordination — may not sit properly with Belichick. Jones has been noticed swearing and throwing up his arms at Patricia. Sure, Patricia is struggling, however Belichick may not like how Jones is dealing with himself.

So if Belichick takes Patricia’s aspect, then maybe the Patriots will look to commerce Jones for a third-round decide — or someplace about there. And so they can work with backup QB Bailey Zappe, who was strong in reduction of Jones throughout his ankle damage, or discover one other quarterback on this yr’s draft. 

You’d need to marvel if McDaniels would possibly come calling. Derek Carr has felt just like the Raiders’ fill-in answer for years — however by no means the long-term answer. And whereas McDaniels looks as if an apparent candidate to make a run at pending free-agent Tom Brady this offseason, it is not outdoors the realm of chance for the Raiders coach to additionally make a run at Jones, if he turns into accessible.

And if that sounds loopy, think about the on-field scene after Sunday’s sport. McDaniels and Jones embraced whereas Belichick waited, with McDaniels delivering a message into the QB’s ear. Absolutely, they have been phrases of encouragement. Absolutely, McDaniels appreciates Jones. 

And if Belichick would not? Properly, then maybe Jones results in a Raiders jersey subsequent yr — partially as a byproduct of this sport (and that loathsome lateral).

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Previous to becoming a member of FOX Sports activities because the AFC East reporter, Henry McKenna spent seven years protecting the Patriots for USA TODAY Sports activities Media Group and Boston Globe Media. Observe him on Twitter at @McKennAnalysis.

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