‘I just threw it right to him’: Mac Jones frustrated with performance after loss to Colts

 "I thought the defense played pretty well, and I just shot them in the foot myself."  

Mac Jones
Mac Jones of the New England Patriots throws an incomplete pass during the fourth quarter against the Indianapolis Colts. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

As Patriots quarterback Mac Jones watched Colts linebacker Darius Leonard snag a pass intended for Hunter Henry on a crucial drive late in the second quarter, he clutched his helmet in frustration — visibly upset with himself for letting a prime opportunity to score slip away.

A little while later, when Jones spoke to the media following the Colts’ 27-17 victory over the Patriots, he clearly had not forgiven himself.

“I just threw it right to him,” Jones said. “It was a good play, but unacceptable. You can’t win until you stop from losing. I mean, I handed the ball to the guy. I did that twice, and that hurt us. I thought the defense played pretty well, and I just shot them in the foot myself by giving them the short field and giving them the ball. That’s just my fault, and I’ll learn from it.


“I’m not going to be gun shy or anything, just learn from it and move on.”

Jones said the Patriots’ energy was low in practice, although he declined to get into details.

“We just didn’t practice well and that just reflects how we played,” he said. “I didn’t practice good, and I know a lot of guys on our team felt the same way.”

Jones finished 26-for-45 — his second-worst completion rate of the season — with two touchdowns to go with his interceptions. A reporter asked him about one play in particular when the Patriots failed to convert a crucial fourth-and-one.

“There’s probably 20 examples of that where we can do a better job creating holes, and for me just throw it to the guy who is open and don’t force it down the field,” Jones said.

Matt Judon defended Jones from his harshest critics — perhaps mostly himself — in his postgame comments.

“Mac’s a really good player and a great quarterback, and he’s even a better leader,” Judon said. “I know he’s going to take all the coaching and he’s going to move forward.”

More from Patriots postgame

– Judon got into a heated conversation with Colts quarterback Carson Wentz early in the second half, but he shrugged off the interaction after the game.


“Carson is a good guy, very nice guy, so he got mad about something,” Judon said. “Who knows, and I guess that anger was directed toward me. But who knows.”

– Before they spoke to the media, both David Andrews and Bill Belichick offered their thoughts and condolences to Colts center Ryan Kelly. Kelly and his wife reportedly lost their unborn child, which was the reason for Kelly’s absence on Saturday.

– Matthew Slater was asked if Saturday’s performance was an aberration for a Patriots team that has played like a contender for the last two months.

“I certainly hope so,” he said. “I hope that’s not us. I don’t believe that’s us. I think we’ve shown we can be much better than we were tonight. But again, as you begin to have success, there’s a tendency sometimes to start to read your own press clippings. Not to say we did that, but I think human nature, you can kind of say, ‘Hey we’ve got this thing figured out.’ I think this is a good wake-up call for us. …

“Doesn’t matter what you guys write about us, it doesn’t matter what people think or say about us, it doesn’t matter what people think or say about individuals on our team. It’s about our team playing well when our best is needed and I certainly hope we respond the right way moving forward.”


– In addition to Judon’s showdown with Wentz, Kyle Dugger and Michael Pittman were ejected from the game after the two scrapped on the field midway through the third quarter.

Speaking to the media, Devin McCourty brushed off the extracurricular activity.

“They played better than us between the whistles, to me that’s all that ever matters in competition,” McCourty said. “Anything that happens after the whistle is what it is. It’s about who plays better from the start of the play to the end of the play.”

– Hunter Henry — who caught both of Jones’s touchdown passes — was asked about positives after the game.

“Losing the game is still losing the game,” he said. “I think stringing some stuff together and giving ourselves just a chance to fight was positive, but it still wasn’t enough. …

“We have to come out the gate better and play better from ahead. That was definitely on us offensively. Defense did a great job of keeping us around in the game.”

Judon, meanwhile, was ready to shoulder the blame along with the defense.

“Some of those wide receivers came away with big plays at the end of the game, and we just kind of started moving the ball, and we just couldn’t get that traction going early,” Judon said. “But the offense did a great job of just pulling us back and giving us a chance.”

– The Patriots’ rally was stymied by Jonathan Taylor, whose 67-yard touchdown run punctuated an impressive evening for the Colts.


“Just didn’t make a play,” McCourty said. “He cut back inside of us and it was kind of what we call ‘four minute’ — everybody down to stop the run. So when you got that guy breaks one tackle, there’s really no depth to the defense, kind of selling out on the run. He made a good cut. Me and [Dont’a Hightower] have to use each other better and make that play.”

McCourty offered perhaps the most overarching perspective after the loss.

“Our season is not over,” he said. “We have to get ready to go — a division game, a team we just beat a couple weeks ago that will be ready to go because they are in a must-win situation. We have to control what we can control now. We can’t do anything about this game now. It’s in the past.”


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