Was Sunday's upset win over the Buffalo Bills just what the doctor ordered for Mac Jones and the New England Patriots?
After a 1-5 start that included three consecutive horrific losses, New England defeated Buffalo on a game-winning touchdown drive led by its third-year signal-caller. It was Jones' most impressive performance of the season as he completed 25 of his 30 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns. Most importantly, he avoided turning the ball over.
After the victory, a number of Jones' teammates rushed to congratulate him. Tight end Mike Gesicki, who caught the game-winning TD pass, came to his oft-criticized QB's defense during his postgame press conference.
Stay in the game with the latest updates on your beloved Boston sports teams! Sign up here for our All Access Daily newsletter.
Was this win all Jones needed to fix the morale in the locker room? Did it erase the doubts about his teammates "buying in" on him going forward? Boston Sports Journal's Mike Giardi and our Phil Perry discussed on Monday's Early Edition.
"It can certainly help him with the locker room, which I think we've talked about quite a bit over the last weeks, months, even back to last year. Guys being out on him, guys not believing in him," Giardi said. "I don't know that one game changes that, but at least, hey, it happened. He did it. 'Big spot, division opponent. We kind of fell apart in the fourth quarter and he led us down the field and in such a little time.' ... Guys will see that and maybe that can help him.
"But for him personally, just played with more poise than we've seen. There was more efficiency. Yeah, there were a couple of moments where he turtled in the pocket when he didn't have to, and there were a couple of throws that were a little shaky, but based on how it had gone for the last month, how can you not like what you saw there?"
As Perry puts it, it's impossible not to gain some confidence in Jones after watching him shine in crunch time.
"I think if you're a teammate of his and you're going through this game and you're watching it back on the film, there will be moments that stand out," Perry said. "Yes, of course, you feel good in the immediate aftermath after that kind of win and maybe you have a little bit more belief, a little bit more buy-in, a little bit more confidence in the guy who plays the most important position on your team.
"But when you see him stand in and make a throw on third down on a game-winning drive and take a hit and make a really accurate throw over the middle of the field, when you see him stand in and he's getting an offensive lineman driven into his lap and he still can make a touch throw over the top to Pharaoh Brown down the field for an explosive play, those are the kinds of plays that I would think you would look at if you're one of his teammates and say, 'Man, this guy does have a little something.' And if your belief was waning at all, maybe you see the changes on the offensive line, you see the changes at receiver, you say, 'We might actually have something here.'
Perhaps it's a turning point for Jones and the Pats, but they still have to prove they can string together wins. They'll face another tough test next Sunday when they visit the Miami Dolphins, who beat them 24-17 in Week 2.
Kickoff for that matchup is set for 1 p.m. ET at Hard Rock Stadium.