FOXBORO, Mass. — One Mac Jones moment is sure to be spotlighted in this week’s New England Patriots “lowlight” reel.
And we’re not talking about his overthrown would-be touchdown to Hunter Henry or his near-interception in the red zone.
Facing third-and-10 from the Tennessee Titans’ 17-yard line Sunday, Jones tried to scramble for a first-down marker. He skidded down short of the marker but popped up and pointed both hands toward the defense, believing the hit he’d just absorbed from cornerback Buster Skrine had drawn a penalty.
It had not. The Patriots settled for a Nick Folk field goal, one of five the veteran booted in New England’s 36-13 victory at Gillette Stadium.
When he was asked about that mini-celebration during his postgame news conference, Jones chuckled at himself.
“I didn’t think I got the first down,” the rookie quarterback said. “I thought they were going to call (a penalty). I slid, like, head-first or whatever, so it doesn’t count. But it is what it is. I didn’t know there wasn’t a flag thrown. That was just a rookie error there.”
Had Jones slid more deliberately and taken the same hit, Skrine likely would have been flagged. The NFL’s additional protections for quarterbacks only apply when a running QB clearly gives himself up.
The Patriots struggled in the red zone Sunday (two touchdowns in five trips) but still hung 36 points on a talented Titans defense. Jones completed 23 of 32 passes for a career-high 310 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions in the win, posting a passer rating of 123.2.