Mac Jones made a necessary wardrobe adjustment before tossing a fourth-quarter touchdown pass in Sunday’s New England Patriots loss.
With the Patriots driving against the New Orleans Saints, Jones dashed through the middle of the defense for a 12-yard run — the longest of his young NFL career. As he slid down near the Saints’ 20-yard line, the brace protecting the quarterback’s left knee came apart.
Not wanting to burn a timeout while he adjusted his gear, Jones stood up, reached down, unstrapped his brace and flipped it to backup QB Brian Hoyer, who ferried it to the sideline while Jones relayed the next play call in the huddle.
“It just deconstructed on the slide,” Jones explained Monday on WEEI’s “Merloni & Fauria.” “I just took it off because it was broken. … There’s a lot of straps on there, so it’s hard to put it on, but it’s also hard to get it off. And it was broken, so it just took a little bit of extra time. At that point in the game, we had a lot of momentum, so you just try to get it off and move on to the next play.”
Moments later, Jones took a three-step drop and lofted a pass over the head of onrushing defensive end Cameron Jordan. It settled in the hands of wide receiver Kendrick Bourne, who outjumped rookie cornerback Paulson Adebo and tiptoed his way into the end zone for a 22-yard touchdown.
The score cut the Patriots’ deficit to eight with more than nine minutes remaining, but the Saints responded with a nearly seven-minute-long touchdown drive that put the game out of reach. New Orleans won 28-13 to drop the Patriots to 1-2 on the season.
Bourne, who finished with a game- and career-high 96 receiving yards on six catches, lauded Jones’ poise after the game.
“I think Mac played with poise even through adversity,” the wideout said. “He still was relaxed and didn’t look rattled in the huddle, and when he took off his brace, it just showed how tough he is. You can tell he is just here to make plays, and the brace can’t stop him. He has the ‘nobody can stop me but me’ mentality, and that’s what you want to see out of your quarterback. But it just didn’t go our way today, and that’s just kind of the game.”
Jones played without a brace on the final Patriots possession, which ended with his third interception of the game. The rookie signal-caller completed 30 of 51 passes for 270 yards and a touchdown in a losing effort.
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