Mac Jones benched after crucial interception in Patriots’ loss to Colts
FRANKFURT, Germany – New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones was pulled from Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts after throwing a fourth-quarter interception, leading to a 10-6 loss for the Patriots. Head coach Bill Belichick made the decision to replace Jones with backup Bailey Zappe with just 1:52 remaining in the game.
“I thought it was time for a change,” Belichick said in the post-game press conference.
This marks the third time this season that Jones has been benched, raising questions about his future as the team’s starting quarterback. However, the previous benchings occurred in games where the outcome was already decided.
On this occasion, the Patriots had a chance to drive for a potential game-winning score, starting at their own 14-yard line. Unfortunately, Zappe was intercepted, dashing any hopes of a comeback.
When asked about the quarterback position moving forward, Belichick responded, “We’ll worry about next week next week. The game just got over.”
The Patriots, who now hold a 2-8 record, will have a bye week before their next game.
Despite the disappointing performance, Jones remains optimistic about his abilities.
“I’ve played well in my career before, but not right now,” Jones admitted. “It’s peaks and valleys. I’m kind of in a valley right now. I just have to bounce back.”
The interception occurred when the Patriots were driving towards a potential go-ahead touchdown. Jones threw a pass that fell well short of his intended receiver, resulting in an interception by Colts safety Julian Blackmon with 4:24 remaining in the game.
“It was a terrible throw. I hit it in practice, just not a good throw. I knew where to go, just didn’t do it right,” Jones explained. “There were some things I was working through, but it doesn’t matter. No excuses.”
Jones revealed that he was informed on the sideline that he would not be returning to the game after the interception.
“It’s a difficult situation, but at the end of the day, I want the team to win. I’ll always be that person. We didn’t win, so it’s hard for everybody,” Jones expressed. He finished the game with 15 completions on 20 attempts for 170 yards, one interception, and five sacks.
Throughout the season, Jones has faced challenges due to an inconsistent offensive line and a lackluster receiving corps. He has thrown a total of 10 interceptions, making him the first quarterback to reach that mark this season. Despite these obstacles, Jones remains determined to improve.
Earlier in the game, Jones drew criticism from offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien on the sideline. During a drive in the third quarter, Jones attempted a risky underhand pass to running back Rhamondre Stevenson, which fell incomplete. O’Brien animatedly pointed at the tablet as he spoke to Jones, suggesting that there were open receivers he failed to see.
“I just try to go through my reads and hit the open guy. I have to do a better job at that,” Jones acknowledged. “It’s really hard out there in the NFL – it’s really good defense – but there were a lot of open guys I could have hit.”
When asked about Belichick’s belief in him, Jones responded, “To make people believe, you have to be better. I’m not sure. I don’t know.”
After the game, Jones visited the X-ray room, but assured reporters that it was only for a bruise and that he is in good health.