Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Boston Herald
Boston Herald
Andrew Callahan

Rhamondre Stevenson’s fumble kills Patriots’ comeback bid in 22-18 loss to Bengals

FOXBORO, Mass. — Three and a half weeks ago, Kendrick Bourne vented in front of his locker.

He sounded off on the Patriots offense, its production and direction. Its lack of urgency and aggression.

In doing so, Bourne captured the essence of the Pats’ conundrum under inexperienced offensive coaches with two sentences: “We’ve just gotta make the tougher plays, if that’s how it’s going to be. So it’s more about looking at yourself and (asking) ‘what can I do better?’ ”

On Saturday, Bourne answered his own question. What could he do better?

Everything. And yet, it still wasn’t good enough.

Trailing by 22 late in the third quarter, the Patriots nearly staged their largest comeback of the season and their greatest win in years only to fall, 22-18, to Cincinnati. Running back Rhamondre Stevenson lost a fumble at the Bengals’ 7-yard line with 1:05 remaining, less than a week after his initial lateral sparked a stunning loss on the final play at Las Vegas. The Pats (7-8) now must win out against Miami and Buffalo and receive outside help to make the postseason.

Patriots quarterback Mac Jones threw two touchdown passes, one to Bourne and the other in his direction, which Bourne tipped to Jakobi Meyers for a score on third-and-29 at 6:02 remaining. After Meyers’ touchdown, kicker Nick Folk missed the point-after try, which froze the team’s deficit at four and eliminated the possibility of a game-tying field goal. Three minutes later, Pats pass rusher Matt Judon forced a fumble near midfield from Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase.

Rookie cornerback Marcus Jones then recovered Chase’ fumble, a full quarter after he’d sparked the Patriots’ comeback with a 69-yard pick-six. Moments later, Jones caught Mac Jones’ final pass for a 15-yard gain that pulled the offense into the red zone. But after four straight Stevenson hand-offs starting at Cincinnati’s 15, the game belonged to the Bengals, who easily thwarted the Pats’ final-minute push with no timeouts.

Mac Jones finished 21-of-33 passing for 240 yards and two touchdowns. Bourne accounted for almost half of the Pats’ offensive production, with 100 receiving yards, 29 rushing and a score. Saturday marked the first 100-yard game of his career.

The Bengals (11-4) won their seventh straight and out-classed the Patriots in the first half. Quarterback Joe Burrow (40-of-52 passing, 375 yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs) led scoring drives on four of his first five possessions. Meanwhile, before kneeling out the first-half clock, the Patriots punted at the end of every drive and couldn’t cross midfield until their final snap of the third quarter.

Stevenson finished with 30 rushing yards on 13 carries, and Meyers snagged six catches for 83 yards. Besides Bourne, no other Patriot finished with more than 21 total yards.

Here were the best and worst Patriot performances from Sunday:


— WR Kendrick Bourne The first 100-yard performance of his career nearly delivered the best Patriots win of the post-Tom Brady era. Nearly.

— CB Marcus Jones The rookie scored off an interception, recovered a fumble and finished with a team-high 14 tackles.


— RB Rhamondre Stevenson His fumble cost the Patriots for a second straight week.

— Coaching offensively, the Pats opened with three-and-outs. Defensively, they allowed touchdowns on the Bengals’ first two drives. Oh, and the defense had multiple issues substituting, which cost them two timeouts.

— WR Tyquan Thornton The rookie played most offensive snaps and finished with a single catch for eight yards. He also dropped a deep ball early in the second half that would have all but guaranteed a score.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.