Mac Jones again finds himself confronted with accusations of dirty play. In the fourth quarter of the New England Patriots’ loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, the sophomore quarterback appeared to fumble the ball on a play that was ruled an incompletion.
That did not stop Cincinnati’s Germaine Pratt from returning the loose football for a potential scoring opportunity. The Patriots, including their quarterback, tried chasing him down. When it became clear Jones would not catch him, he instead threw a block on Bengals cornerback Eli Apple.
Not sure about this move from Mac Jones. pic.twitter.com/NlXdkknko8— Michael Hurley (@michaelFhurley) December 24, 2022
Apple later told NESN’s Sean T. McGuire after the game that he did notice Jones aiming for his legs to take him out.
“Of course I did. He tripped me,” he said. “I thought it was a dirty play. He’s done that before, I’ve seen it.”
Jones was previously accused of playing in an unsportsmanlike manner. Back during his 2021 rookie season, he was seen twisting Carolina linebacker Brian Burns’ ankle while attempting a tackle on a similar play. Earlier this year, there were questions about his sliding technique against the Chicago Bears.
As for this particular play, Jones was indeed flagged on it but not for any transgressions regarding his block on Apple: the quarterback was penalized for intentional grounding, flipping the ball away while trying to escape a sack.
New England ended up scoring a touchdown on that same drive, but eventually lost 22-18.