ARLINGTON, Texas — Bill Belichick said he did not bench Mac Jones for poor performance in Sunday’s blowout loss to the Dallas Cowboys. He also said Jones will remain the Patriots’ starting quarterback moving forward.

Jones was replaced by backup Bailey Zappe late in the third quarter of New England’s disastrous 38-3 defeat at AT&T Stadium. The Patriots trailed 31-3 at the time, with two of Dallas’ three touchdowns to that point coming on a lost fumble by Jones and a pick-six.

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Belichick faced a series of questions about Jones’ removal during his postgame news conference. The head coach repeatedly stated that Jones came out because the game was out of reach. He will start behind center next Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, per Belichick.

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Here is a transcript of Belichick’s responses:

What led to the decision to take Mac out?
“I didn’t think there was any point in leaving him on the game.”

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Will he be starting next week against the Saints?
“Yeah, I just said there was no point in leaving him in the game.”

In that sense, did you consider taking players like Matthew Judon out at that point?
“Gotta put somebody out there.”

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Was he benched for bad performance?
“No, I said there was no point in leaving him out there, so I took him out.”

So the plan is to continue to start Mac going forward?
“Yeah. I didn’t think there was any point in leaving him out there, so I took him out.”

Jones said he let the Patriots down with his performance, which was one of the worst of his NFL career. The third-year pro went 12-for-21 for 150 yards and no touchdowns with two interceptions at a 39.9 passer rating. Zappe played three series and went 4-for-9 for 57 yards.

Multiple teammates backed Jones after the game, with fellow team captain Deatrich Wise saying he believes in the QB “100%.”

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The Patriots now sit at 1-3 on the season and could be without two of their best defensive players for the foreseeable future. Rookie cornerback Christian Gonzalez suffered a shoulder injury early in the game and did not return. Judon reportedly is expected to miss time after tearing his biceps in the game.

Wise called Judon’s injury “devastating.” The four-time Pro Bowler has 32 sacks in 38 games since joining the Patriots in 2021.

The 35-point loss was the most lopsided of Belichick’s coaching tenure.

Featured image via Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports Images