After tossing what could have been a back-breaking pick-six late in Sunday’s loss to the Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones received a quick pep talk from Bill Belichick.
Jones revealed what Belichick told him during an appearance Monday on WEEI’s “Merloni & Fauria.”
“Just keep playing,” Jones said. “Head up. It’s just part of the game. Of course you don’t want to throw a pick-six, but you’ve got to bounce back.”
Jones immediately atoned for his miscue. On the very next snap, he targeted the same receiver (Kendrick Bourne) against the same defensive back (Trevon Diggs, Jones’ former Alabama teammate). The result: a 75-yard touchdown pass.
“Of course I was pissed at first, but I kind of just cleaned my brain, hit the reset button,” Jones said. “That’s what I always do. I work really hard at that, and everyone on the team had my back.”
The touchdown and ensuing two-point conversion put the Patriots ahead by three with just over two minutes remaining, but the Cowboys rallied to win 35-29 in overtime.
The Diggs interception was one of several pivotal late-game plays that broke in Dallas’ favor. Had that pass been completed, the Patriots, who led 21-20 at the time, might have been able to run out the clock with one additional first down.
Jones said he didn’t set his feet properly on the throw, which sailed high and hit off Bourne’s fingertips.
“I definitely could have made a better throw, but it was the exact look we wanted,” Jones said on WEEI. “I don’t know. I just need to calm my feet down, step into my throw and deliver a good through and allow the guys to run with the ball. Some of my shorter throws were just a little off, and I’ll definitely make that a point of emphasis this week.
“My drops, I think, have been better on the deep stuff, but I need to improve on the short, quick-game stuff. So that’s something I can work on and focus on. Trust my training and just step into the throw and make it.”
Jones completed 15 of 21 passes for 229 yards and two touchdowns with one interception in the loss.