After the Patriots’ 20-7 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday in the season opener, Jones didn’t speak with the media. Instead, he went to have x-rays on an ailing back.
Initially, it was unclear when Jones was injured. However, on Thursday, a video from the NFL’s All-22 cameras captured the play when Jones got hurt, and the QB confirmed it. Taking a close look at the hit Jones took, the QB and his team are lucky he wasn’t more seriously injured.
Nate Tice of the Athletic posted the video that shows Jones knocked off his feet after absorbing a high-low combination hit just as he threw the ball from Javon Holland and Brandon Jones.
Jones could have had a knee, back, and head injury after this one, but the latest reports suggest Jones will play vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 2 as the Patriots try to avoid falling to 0-2.
Jones did miss Thursday’s practice with an illness, but it isn’t expected to affect his availability vs. the Steelers. If he doesn’t get better blitz recognition, this kind of hit could become commonplace, and he will be less likely to rebound without missing time.
Mac Jones’ Predicament is Likened to an Iconic Scene From Game of the Thrones
After watching the play above and some of the others from the loss to the Dolphins when Jones didn’t get adequate protection, USA Today’s Henry McKenna used a Game of Thrones scene to depict the helpless and dangerous situation it appears the second-year signal-caller is in currently.
Statistically, Jones was sacked twice and hit another three times. Some quarterbacks may have taken more bumps than Jones, but not all hits are created equal from a danger standpoint.
If the Patriots want Jones to finish the season upright, they have to prioritize protecting him, and that has to start in Week 2 vs. the Steelers.
Mac Jones and the Patriots’ Offensive Line Catch a Break in Week 2
While the Steelers have a few capable pass rushers in Cameron Heyward and Alex Highsmith, the Patriots and Jones should be happy they won’t have to face TJ Watt.
The Steelers’ star edge rusher suffered a pectoral injury in Pittsburgh’s Week 1 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Watt is one of the premier defensive players in the NFL, so his being out of the lineup will give the Patriots’ tackles and running backs a small break.
However, some of the hardest hits Jones took against the Dolphins didn’t come from their down-lineman, edge-rushing defensive ends, or outside linebackers. Jones was popped on two occasions by blitzing safeties.
Brandon Jones teamed up with Holland to nearly slice Jones in half in the play above, but the former was also the player who recorded the strip sack that resulted in Melvin Ingram scooping and scoring a TD against the Patriots.
With New England’s offense struggling mightily, that play and the fourth-down conversion at the end of the first half spelled the end for the Patriots in Week 1.