While all the attention in the world has been focused on Tampa Bay Buccaneers Quarterback Tom Brady, a top-tier defense who had their eyes on another goal Sunday night: New England Patriots Rookie Mac Jones.
In an ongoing theme, Jones was hit 12 times against Tampa Bay – the highest level of the new season. Appear in WEEI’s song Merloni & Fauria On Monday, the New England quarterback admitted that a hit is something that will happen in football matches.
“I think it’s just part of the game,” Jones explained. “Like backyard soccer, you’re going to get hit. That’s kind of the fun part of it. You just roll with the punches and you get up.”
In the year, Jones suffered a total of 32 in three losses for the Patriots, while only hurting twice in the only win over New York Jets. While the offensive line – which didn’t properly tackle Trent Brown for all but seven shots – carried much of the blame, Jones says it’s part of the problem.
“A lot of things – I always say this, and I don’t just say it to say it, but I can do a better job whether it’s about moving or taking the ball or just sticking to the throw, whatever the throw might be,” Jones told WEEI. “Just learn from those punches. The offensive line played really well – actually really good. Of course you get hit sometimes when the team is pressing more, and you just have to roll with the punches.”
Despite the constant pressure all night at Gillette Stadium, Jones played perhaps his best professional game on the biggest stage of his young career, beating the legend on the other side of the field in terms of traditional stats and advanced metrics. He put the Patriots in a position to win the match, but his third wide pass to Jacoby Myers wide open was hit in the line of scrimmage in New England’s final drive.
“In the last minute of the game, we were a game or two away,” Jones said. “We’ve said that over and over and that’s about it. If a player doesn’t raise his hand, or whatever happens, and the ball isn’t tilted, that’s just a different game altogether. That’s bad, but it’s part of football. You won’t always go your way, but you have to. Keep going and trying to get some wins on the board.”
After a botched pass to Myers, Patriots coach Bill Belichick opted for a 56-yard field goal in fourth and third — kicking Nick Falk from the left in a straight line.
Jones had no issues with the decision to call for a field goal with 59 seconds remaining.
“[Coach Belichick] He makes the right decisions most of the time. “We will stick to his decision no matter what,” he said. “If we were going to do it, we would be fine. We decided to kick him and that is what it is.”
The Patriots will be looking to keep their Mac clean and return to the winning column next week against Houston Texas.
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