Patriots

‘Kind of a BS play’: Patriots react to Jerry Tillery’s late hit on Mac Jones

"I heard a whistle. I think 22 other guys heard a whistle."

Mac Jones late hit
Members of the New England Patriots confront Jerry Tillery of the Los Angeles Chargers after Tillery hit Mac Jones of the New England Patriots in the second quarter. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Patriots center David Andrews heard a whistle before Chargers defensive end Jerry Tillery leveled Mac Jones with a late hit in the first half of the Patriots’ 27-24 victory on Sunday.

He’s pretty sure Tillery heard it too.

“I think 22 other guys — 21 other guys — heard a whistle,” Andrews said. “So I didn’t take too kindly to that. I thought that was kind of a BS play, but it is what it is. Mac’s a tough kid, shows a lot of poise each and every week staying in there.”

As the Patriots snapped the ball, the officials began blowing the play dead repeatedly. Tillery kept curling around his defender and delivered a hard hit to Jones in the back.

After the play, Tillery was confronted by several members of the Patriots’ line, including Andrews.

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The CBS broadcast said Tillery was “finishing the play” as the whistle was blown.

Jones was diplomatic when asked about the play.

“I mean, it is what it is,” he said. “I think there’s some stuff here and there. I do appreciate the offensive line and my team for having my back, but I think it was one of those things — I’m not really sure what happened, but you just can’t let that affect the next play.

“With me, I didn’t feel intention or anything like that. I just kept playing and I think everybody on our team did. And we played hard, and we played for 60 minutes, and that’s all that matters.”

Andrews appreciated Jones’s toughness on the play.

“I mean, what more can you ask for?” he said. “Took care of the ball today, made some big throws, stood in there, took some hits against a very good front. So, glad he’s wearing No. 10 on our team.”

More from the Patriots postgame

– Andrews discussed what it meant to get a win after several frustrating losses.

“I think it just makes you believe in the process,” he said. “We put in a lot of work. That’s why it’s hard to get up here and talk to y’all after a loss: Because you worked so hard during the week, you put a lot into it. I put a lot into it. I know everyone puts a lot into it. You come up a little bit short, it’s a crappy feeling, but we can see ourselves getting better. I think we’re building confidence in each other, we’re building our teammates’s confidence in us. That’s not given, that’s earned.”

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Matt Judon sounded exhilarated postgame.

“Everything is out in front of us,” he said. “Everything is out in front of us. We just have to go out there and execute. I keep telling y’all, we know what type of team we have. We just need to go out there and prove it.”

– Judon was ecstatic for Adrian Phillips, who finished with two interceptions including a crucial one that put the Patriots ahead for good in the fourth quarter.

“AP!” Judon enthused. “I’m telling y’all, I’m so happy for that guy. He works his butt off. He works his butt off. Every opportunity he gets, he excels at whatever role we need. …I was just so happy for him to come back, playing his old team, and for him to do that and put us up like that, that was big for him.”

Phillips was asked if having a big game against his old team is a little sweeter.

“You know,” he said, and paused with a grin. “Yeah. I love it out here, every time we get to play them. Everybody kind of wants to stick it to their former team. This is a great organization that we played against today. Just to be able to go out there and play against them and ended up having the game that I had — it was sweet. I loved it.”

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Gunner Olszewski was concerned immediately after Phillips made the catch.

“He always looks like he’s about to get up and run the wrong way, so we were on the sideline pointing,” Olszewski said. “He took it back to the house. He played lights out today.”

– Olszewski had a big day on special teams — 26 yards on a kick return, and four punt returns with an average of 20 yards. He now has 300 yards in his last three trips to SoFi Stadium.

“Is that what it is?” he said. “It seems like we always play good as a unit when we’re here. …Maybe it’s the air in LA, I don’t know.”

Olszewski added that the Patriots are a confident bunch after consecutive wins.

“I’m sure Bill [Belichick] will find some things to bring our confidence level down a little bit before we go to Carolina, but we’re feeling good, and it’s just a tribute to us working hard,” he said. “We knew it was coming. These close games against a good team, we’re on the right end of that, and that’s the side we want to stay on.”

– Several players expressed appreciation for the fan support in Los Angeles.

“Crazy,” Phillips said. “Crazy catching the pick and you’re hearing screams like that, it was crazy. I like the fanbase out in Boston and in Foxborough, and I’m glad they are traveling with us and supporting us, because it’s been a frustrating season. I know they planned to see the season go a totally different way than it’s going right now, but to be able to hear that support and see those fans in the stands with all the jerseys on, it’s real love.”

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– True to form, Jones (18-for-35, 218 yards, no INTs or TDs) called himself out for a lackluster performance.

“I definitely didn’t have my best day at all,” he said. “I think everybody around me had a great day. I think that’s what football is all about. I have to find ways to improve in that aspect of just being consistent and making the throws I know I can make.”

“We finished strong, and that’s the moral of the story,” he added later. “Just finish strong. And it feels a lot better to be on the winning side and not play as well than it does to be on the losing side. That’s what you have to take from it. And we have to just keep moving forward and don’t be satisfied and just keep working, and next week we will be ready to go.”

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