The Manning brothers enjoy watching good quarterback play. Unfortunately for them, Mac Jones only attempted three passes in the Patriots’ old-school beatdown of the Bills Monday night.
As the night wore on, Peyton and Eli became increasingly agitated with the Patriots’ 1950s-esque game plan. Towards the end of the ManningCast, Joe Buck even asked Peyton if he had money on the Bills, because he was pulling for them in such animated fashion.
With wind gusts approaching 50 miles per hour, it wasn’t shocking the Patriots opted to play conservatively when the wind was going against them. But they completely took the ball out of Jones’ hands. As Peyton Manning said, the Alabama standout was putting on a clinic on how to execute hand-offs.
It took only three drives for Peyton and Eli to become fed up with the Patriots’ approach. “Mac Jones’ arm is going to be so fresh in the 2nd quarter,” he said after Brandon Bolden converted the two-point conversion following Damian Harris’ touchdown run. “He’s going to be live, rested. I wonder if he’s warming up on the sidelines.”
Of course, the Patriots did not throw the ball in the second quarter, with Jones only attempting one pass (a 12-yard completion to Jonnu Smith). When they showed a replay of the completion in the second half, Peyton mockingly wondered why Josh McDaniels even bothered calling for a pass.
“Why did they throw it then?,” Manning said. “Was it really worth it to throw that one pass? Seriously. It could be 0-for-0.”
At the time, Peyton and El were talking about the possibility of Mac Jones throwing the fewest number of passes in the Super Bowl era (former Bills quarterback Joe Ferguson still holds the record with two, which he set in 1974). Peyton pointed out that Belichick is probably aware of that record, and thus, might have wanted Jones to break it. On Monday night, Belichick proved he can win games without even trotting a quarterback onto the field. It was a strong rebuttal to the years’ worth of talk about how Tom Brady was the reason for the Patriots’ dynasty.
“I think Belichick is aware of that record,” Peyton said. “He wants Mac Jones to hold it. I’d be surprised if Mac Jones throws the ball at all.”
Surprisingly, Jones actually attempted two passes later in the fourth, much to Peyton’s bewilderment. “I mean, Eli, I don’t get it,” he said. “I’m going to second guess Josh McDaniels. Why throw now? They actually need to run the clock.”
One thing is clear: Peyton and Eli would not have enjoyed being under center for the Patriots Monday.
“Is he having fun?,” Eli asked. “Is he enjoying this, you think? Is he enjoying playing this game?”
While Peyton didn’t answer the question directly, his reaction to a shot of Josh McDaniels going over plays with Jones on the sideline didn’t leave much room to interpretation.
“What’s McDaniels talking to him about? Nothing,” he said. “Nice hand-off here. You see this play? Nice job on the quarterback sneak.”
In hindsight, it’s a probably a good thing the Patriots denied Peyton’s request to speak with Jones. He wasn’t part of the game, anyway, so all of that material would’ve been left on the cutting room floor.
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