The New England Patriots caught a big break early in their game against the New York Jets on Sunday, as they appeared to get away with a fumble on their opening drive.
Kendrick Bourne caught a short pass from Mac Jones on third down and was stripped by a defender as he was going to the ground. The Jets clearly recovered the fumble, but the officials ruled that the play was whistled dead when Bourne’s forward progress was stopped. You can see the sequence below:
The play should not have been blown dead, and it doesn’t sound like the whistle blew until after the ball had come out. It didn’t matter, as the ruling on the field was that Bourne’s forward progress was stopped, which is not reviewable.
Bourne’s catch resulted in a first down. The Patriots eventually punted, but the Jets were robbed of prime field position and threw an interception on the ensuing possession. The bad call was costly.
With all the talk about Cam Newton’s release and whether or not his vaccination status played a role in it, many people have lost sight of the fact that rookie Mac Jones has played well enough in his first offseason to win a starting quarterback job. New England Patriots players do not seem surprised.
Jones has drawn incredibly high praise from his veteran teammates since he was named the Patriots’ starter. Wide receiver Kendrick Bourne says Jones already “seems so relaxed” in situations like the 2-minute drill. Bourne seems to have no concern that Jones can handle the spotlight in his first season.
“Yeah, for anybody, you get named the starter, that’s a different kind of urgency,” Bourne said, via Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal. “You can’t mess up. The only way is down. For any starter, I think you feel that pressure, but he was built for it since (Alabama). I think he’s more ready than anybody really knows.”
Defensive players feel the same way. Cornerback J.C. Jackson said you would never know Jones is only 22 and entering his first NFL season.
“Mac Jones, he’s going to be that guy,” Jackson said. “I mean, he’s a rookie, but he plays like a vet. The way he reads defense. The way he steps up in the pocket, delivers the ball. He’s improved since the first time I’ve seen him.”
Belichick probably would have preferred for Newton to beat out Jones. That way, Jones could have sat on the bench for a while and learned before being thrust into action. The fact that Jones won the job says a lot about how impressive he must have been during training camp, and that is reflected in his teammates’ comments.
It would be natural for Jones to feel pressure, especially when he sees how crazy fans went buying his jersey. But, as Bourne mentioned, Jones certainly dealt with plenty of pressure at Alabama. That experience is one of the main reasons the Patriots drafted him.
Kendrick Bourne took responsibility for an interception thrown by Jimmy Garoppolo that led to a Minnesota Vikings touchdown on Sunday.
During the third quarter of Sunday’s game between the Vikings and San Francisco 49ers, Garoppolo threw a pass that was intended for Bourne. An apparent miscommunication between Garoppolo and Bourne led to an interception by Mike Hughes, who returned it for a Vikings score.
After the game, Bourne admitted to running the wrong route, which led to the interception.
The Niners lost the season-opener 24-16. It was the first defeat for Garoppolo as a starting quarterback in the NFL. Garoppolo threw three interceptions in the loss, but now we know a teammate is taking responsibility for one of them.