NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots

New England Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson runs for a touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Mac Jones danced.

He bounced around the field pregame, slapping hands and rifling passes. He alternated traditional hand-offs with customized handshakes. Everywhere he walked during warmups Sunday, Jones emanated joy.

Somehow, a rookie bearing the weight of a two-game losing streak, his own personal skid and tight playoff push looked like as a feather. What did this kid see coming?

Scoring touchdowns on their first five drives, the Patriots obliterated Jacksonville 50-10 in a get-right game. New England (10-6) clinched its 12th playoff berth in 13 seasons following Miami’s loss to Tennessee. Meanwhile, Patriots coach Bill Belichick notched his 20th career 10-win season to tie legendary coach Don Shula for the most in NFL history.

Jones eased concerns about his recent struggles with a stellar performance built on safe throws and play-action punishment.

He finished 22 of 30 for 227 yards and three touchdowns. Patriots practice-squad wideout Kristian Wilkerson also starred, with the first two touchdowns of his NFL career. He effectively replaced N’Keal Harry, a healthy scratch, on the game-day roster after being elevated Saturday.

Meanwhile, Jones’ rookie counterpart, Trevor Lawrence, threw a pick party and invited half the Patriots’ secondary. J.C. Jackson, Kyle Dugger and Myles Bryant all grabbed interceptions, while helping limit the Jaguars to 253 total yards and a field goal before garbage time.

Playing together for the first time in a month, running backs Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson combined for 141 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Harris sat the second half due to apparent concern over a hamstring injury. That was the Patriots’ only concern after halftime.

Fed up with stubbing their toe in the first quarter, the Patriots offense rolled to an opening-drive touchdown for the first time since late November. Jakobi Meyers (eight catches, 73 yards) converted both third downs with short catches, before Harris covered the last nine yards on a couple of bruising carries. The Jaguars answered on their next series with a 29-yard field goal.

But that was all for them until intermission.

After Harris scored his second touchdown for a 14-3 lead, the Patriots snipped Jacksonville’s next two series with interceptions. Bryant grabbed the first after a Lawrence pass slipped through Ryquell Armstead’s hands, then Jackson dove and scooped the second near midfield. Jackson’s pick gave him 25 all-time and tied an NFL record for most through the first four seasons of a player’s career.

Jones immediately cashed both picks in for points, firing a 6-yard touchdown pass to Wilkerson with less than five minutes left in second quarter. After Lawrence’s second interception, Jones hit Meyers with a perfect 4-yard parabola dropped into the back left corner of the end zone with 52 seconds remaining in the quarter.

Wilkerson broke the second half wide open with a 20-yard touchdown, before Stevenson ran for two more.

Pats backup quarterback Brian Hoyer took over with more than 10 minutes left.

Some bests and worsts from Sunday:


Offensive line: Jones wasn’t sacked once, the Pats rushed for 181 yards and crushed Jacksonville in short-yardage situations.

Wilkerson: A dream-like performance for Wilkerson, who should be elevated to the 53-man roster soon.

QB Mac Jones: This was the rookie quarterback New England has come to know.


Field goal unit: Nick Folk missed an extra point and had another fail to get off the ground in the second quarter.