The Patriots’ offense wasn’t about to take any more punning from the defense after Monday’s ugly practice.
It showed up in the play on the field, with the offense starting to impose their will in the ground game and open up holes for the running backs for the first time in…a while.
Big holes were opening up for Rhamondre Stevenson and Damien Harris. Mac Jones looked back to his normal efficient self with fewer scrambles and moments of holding onto the football for four and five-second counts. Pass-catchers, especially tight end Hunter Henry and receivers Jakobi Meyers and Tre Nixon, were getting open and getting the ball more than four yards past the line of scrimmage.
The energy shift was clear after the whistle, too.
Following a completion from Mac Jones to Hunter Henry during team drills, David Andrews got into it with Christian Barmore and went to the ground with the Patriots’ star defender. The benches cleared and players including Mac Jones and Cole Strange had to be pulled away from the pile-up.
Both players were ejected from practice, with Barmore going to the locker room and Andrews roaming in the far end zone before running the team’s famous conditioning Hill as punishment.
Andrews, of course, drove a tense on-field meeting with the offense after Monday’s lackluster practice and ended his press conference early after extended questions about the team’s struggles.
Whatever he said just might have worked.