Mac Jones got a chance to meet his idol, unfortunately just moments after that role model defeated the New England Patriots rookie quarterback on Sunday night on primetime TV. Tom Brady and Jones spoke briefly at midfield after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won, 19-17, at Gillette Stadium.
Jones kept a picture of Brady’s infamous combine photo in his phone for years to remind himself that not every NFL quarterback can run a 4.4-second 40-yard dash. Underdogs can win starting NFL jobs — and Super Bowls. While it must have been surreal for Jones to meet Brady, the current Patriots quarterback downplayed his meeting with the former Patriots quarterback.
“After the game, got a chance to congratulate him on the win and he’s a great quarterback and yeah, he played well tonight and that’s pretty much all there was to it,” Jones said during a postgame press conference. “He just told me to keep my head up and keep working.”
Jones had arguably his best game as a pro, completing 31 of his 40 passes (77.5%) for 275 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He went entirely unsupported by the run game (eight carries for -1 yards) and took 12 hits, but did well dissecting the Buccaneers defense, which played without its top three cornerbacks.
In the final moments, Brady had magic. Jones didn’t. Brady got his team a go-ahead field goal, and when Jones had a chance to respond, he left Nick Folk with a 56-yard attempt, which the kicker missed.
Brady had nothing to say about Jones before the game, with the Bucs quarterback saying he didn’t have any time to watch the rookie. After the game, Brady was pressed for his first impression of Jones.
“He did a great job,” Brady said. “I think that offense does a great job. Josh really dialed up some good plays, too. They kind of hit everything. I saw them coming in couple reverse passes and throwback. They did a good job.”