FOXBOROUGH — Chandler Jones said a fan predicted the big play he and fellow first-round pick Dont’a Hightower made Sunday against the Titans, when Jones strip-sacked Jake Locker and Hightower scooped up the loose ball and took it 6 yards for the Patriots’ second touchdown of the game.
“It’s funny that that happened,” Jones said Monday. “Every time someone mentions me on Twitter, I read it. One of the fans mentioned, ‘I’m playing Madden [the video game] and you got a strip-sack and Hightower picked it up for a touchdown.’ And that was right before the game.
“For it to happen in real life . . . I thought it was a dream come true that that guy predicted it.”
The sack was one of five tackles Jones had on the day; Hightower also had five tackles.
Coach Bill Belichick was asked how the players have been picking up the mental aspects of the game.
“Dont’a has a lot of responsibility at his position, relative to formations and adjustments, pass coverage, run responsibilities and all that,” Belichick said. “He did a lot of those things at Alabama and played a couple different spots at Alabama in their defense, which has some similarities to what we do. I think he was very well-coached and schooled when he got here. He’s a smart guy. He’s picking things up pretty well.
“Chandler, less experienced but probably less variables at his position, although there are still plenty of them, but probably not to the degree that Dont’a has as a regular and nickel linebacker and all those kind of things. Both players have done a reasonably good job of that.
“They’ve both gotten a lot of reps on the field. That’s always a good way to learn, to experience it and go through it, make a mistake, correct it, go out there, do it again and get it right.
“Those two guys, they’ve done a good job.”
Jones and Hightower were not the only rookies to be part of a turnover against the Titans; second-round pick Tavon Wilson claimed his first interception with a diving catch in the end zone of a ball batted by Kyle Arrington.
“It just happened to be an interception; right place at the right time, I guess,” said Wilson. “I just kept running. If you run to the ball, great things will happen for you.”
Wilson cracked a smile when asked if he’s keeping the ball from his first NFL pick. “For sure,” he said.
Arrington shook his head about not being able to make the play himself, but he was happy one of his teammates came down with it.
“[Titans wide receiver Nate Washington] was trying to run a double move, I stayed on top, the ball hung up in the air a little bit, I’m trying to adjust, make a play on the ball and also battling with Nate to make a play, and . . . I should have caught it,” he said.
“But ‘rook’ was there to clean it up, so that’s what we call good team defense. At least somebody caught it — with a blue jersey.”
A good look
One of the big topics of Sunday, of course, was Tom Brady and his banged-up nose. Belichick said simply, “He’s all right,” but Wes Welker jumped at the opportunity when asked if Brady is still handsome despite the bandage on his nose.
Welker deadpanned, “Yeah. He’s probably the toughest metrosexual I’ve ever come across.”
Which, of course, drew laughs.
Brandon Lloyd said you always expect toughness from teammates, but Welker expanded on what it means to see Brady brush off a big knockdown and shin to the face, like he took when he was sacked by the Titans’ Kamerion Wimbley.
“Any time you see your leader out there and taking hits like that and you ask him if it’s broken and he doesn’t know, he doesn’t care. He loves football, he loves playing and he does a great job,” Welker said.
Jerod Mayo hosted his third Mayo Bowl event at Kings Dedham on Monday night to raise money for Pitching in for Kids and the Boston Medical Center. At least 20 current and former teammates were in attendance, including Patrick Chung, Devin McCourty, Vince Wilfork, Stephen Gostkowski (who brought his own bowling ball), and Dan Connolly, who left Sunday’s game with a head injury. Matt Light and Troy Brown lent their support, and Mayo said Brady was expected to attend.
Shalise Manza Young can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @shalisemyoung.