There are two things everyone knows about New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones: His middle name is McCorkle, and he is pushing the boundaries of bipedal locomotion. However, there is a third thing to know about Mac Jones: He longs to avenge a taunt by Brian Burns from his high school days. Keep that last bit in mind as you watch this lowlight from the first quarter of Sunday’s Patriots 24-6 win over the Panthers, where Jones gets strip-sacked by Burns, then grabs the defensive end’s ankle to bring him down as other players scramble for the loose ball.
Burns immediately grabbed his ankle in pain after hitting the deck:
Burns returned to the field after receiving treatment in the medical tent, but he hurt the same leg again in the fourth quarter and had to be helped off the field by his teammates. While it’s not clear whether Jones’s twist led to that injury, the video of the first-quarter play shows some indisputable ankle action, and Burns’s teammates were mad about that after the game.
“Definitely thought it was a dirty play,” linebacker Haason Reddick said. “I actually saw and witnessed the play while it was happening. At first it felt like he was trying to trip or kick Burns. And the next thing you know I saw him tugging on Burns’ ankle. I thought it was completely dirty. Hopefully, it’s something the league addresses.”
Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson called it “some B.S. on Mac Jones’s part”:
Today, Jones claimed to have been too confused by what was happening to have consciously torqued Burns’s leg. Jones had just been sacked, after all, and from what he told WEEI, he was not trying to get revenge for a half-decade old slight. He said he was disoriented and repeatedly used the phrase, “I didn’t really know what was going on.” Patriots coach Bill Belichick also defended his QB, believing that Jones probably was just trying to tackle Burns because he thought he had the ball.
The NFL will review the play for a possible fine, although the league has already said Jones won’t be suspended. The Patriots play against the Browns next Sunday, and Jones would be wise to not try something similar with defensive end Myles Garrett. Just ask Mason Rudolph how that went for him.