Patriots

‘He forgets really well’: What Mac Jones, Kendrick Bourne said about wild sequence following pick-6 vs. Cowboys

"That’s going to happen a lot more hopefully in my career."

Mac Jones Cowboys
New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones throws during the first half of an NFL football game. AP Photo/Steven Senne

Mac Jones followed one of the most costly mistakes of his young career with one of his more impressive moments against the Cowboys on Sunday.

With the clock ticking toward the two-minute warning and the Patriots nursing a one-point lead, Jones tried to fire a pass to Kendrick Bourne. The pass was a little ahead of the receiver, and Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs snared it. Diggs motored into the end zone, and the Patriots’ hard-won lead evaporated.

On the Patriots’ next play from scrimmage, however, Jones fired to Bourne again — this time a deep ball that snaked between two defenders and led Bourne on a run to the end zone. The Patriots converted two points and took a 29-26 lead.

Ultimately, the Cowboys evened the score just before the end of regulation and scored a touchdown in OT to claim a 35-29 victory. But Jones’s bounce-back moment left an impression.

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“Mac, he forgets really well,” Bourne said after the game. “Like I said, even when the [interception] happened, in my mind, I didn’t point my finger straight at Mac. As it looked, it was a ball that was off my fingertips, but in my mind, I can make the play, I can do something better.

“I think we both felt like that, and that’s the result we got on the next series. That’s why, I think, the play played out like that: Because our mindsets were locked into, ‘Okay we have a chance.’ Rather than, ‘What just happened.'”

Jones followed his usual postgame routine, praising his teammates and deflecting any praise into platitudes about what he can improve.

“I wish I could have done things differently to where we weren’t even in that position,” he said. “I just have to watch the tape and learn from it. It’s not the first pick-six I’ll throw, and it’s not going to be the last. I just have to learn how to bounce back and play the next play.”

A reporter pressed Jones on whether he appreciated offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels calling a redemption play immediately after his mistake.

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“Yeah, I mean, next play mentality,” Jones said. “Whatever they call, I execute it and give everybody a chance to execute the play. That’s going to happen a lot more hopefully in my career, where you have a bad play and you come back and make a good one. So it’s not always going to be perfect. You have to dodge the ebbs and flows and just play the next play.”

Jones finished 15-for-21 with 229 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception.

More from postgame:

— Running back Damien Harris suffered a rib injury in Week 5, but his health improved enough to get back on the field vs. the Cowboys.

“I’m feeling fine physically,” Harris said. “Obviously we didn’t win the game, that’s what’s most important, so a little down bout that. But the good thing is I know we have a good team. We have great players, great coaches, great staff, everybody in this organization is great. So we just keep coming in every single day and working hard, we’ll be able to turn this thing around.”

Harris carried the ball 18 times for 101 yards. 

— Matt Judon praised fellow linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley for his goal-line play as the first half wound down. As Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott tried to leap into the end zone, Bentley reached over the pile and managed to punch the ball out of Prescott’s hands. The fumble helped the Patriots maintain a 14-10 advantage heading into the break.

“Defend every blade of grass,” Judon said, when asked for his mindset at the one-yard line. “Just because they have it on the goal line doesn’t mean they scored yet. We know around the goal line, players get a little loose with the ball, especially when they go over, they try to extend and just try to get it across, so we try to punch it out.

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“Bent made one heck of a play. … When you defend every blade of grass, it’s a game of inches. It’s a game of inches. I think Bent got it right before he crossed. It was wobbly, and it came out. We got the call. But that’s what you have to do. You have to defend every blade of grass.”

Bentley finished with a team-high 13 tackles.

— Judon, meanwhile, promised to keep bringing positive energy as the Patriots try to rectify their struggles.

“I want to be even-keeled, I want to be myself, I want to laugh, joke, come out here and have fun, but with that, we have to execute,” Judon said. “I’m going to still be me, but we have to make sure that we execute and we still can have fun, we still can laugh and joke, I can still be me and cheerful and joyful, which I will be.”

— Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory sacked Jones twice, including one monstrous hit Jones clearly did not see coming.

“Honestly, I felt their O-line couldn’t block me or block any of us as long as they didn’t chip us, at least on the ends, and they did a lot of that,” Gregory told reporters after the game.

Jones was asked if Gregory’s hit was the hardest he has ever taken.

“No, it wasn’t,” Jones said. “I just have to get up and jog off the field. That’s part of the game. I could have got the ball out quicker, and that’s on me. …

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“Of course it hurts, but you just have to get up and play the next play. It’s part of football, and that’s the fun part.”

Patriots center David Andrews, however, was disappointed the hit happened.

“We have to do better,” Andrews said. “We can’t allow that to happen. Great play by him, but we have to bet better.”

— Multiple Patriots players expressed particular disappointment in losing Sunday’s game, the team’s fourth loss in as many attempts at home.

“There’s nothing to say tonight,” safety Devin McCourty said. “That’s disappointing. We played hard out there, guys fought. To fall on the other side, to lose the game is just tough. I think everybody needs to just go get away tonight, and when we come back in here, have a mindset ready to go. There’s nothing we can do about it. But tonight is disappointing. A back and forth game, just we wanted to win that. We played well enough, we just didn’t make enough plays at the end to win it, and that’s disappointing.”

Bentley admitted the loss was “tough” on the mood in the locker room.

“Come back to work tomorrow and then Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and then Sunday will be here before you know it,” he said. “That’s all you can do regardless of what happened— win or lose. You have to come back here and work. That’s our approach, that’s been our approach, and that’s going to continue to be our approach. Just have to fill the tank back up and be ready to go.”

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