Patriots: Panthers pass rusher calls out Mac Jones for dirty play

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - NOVEMBER 07: Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - NOVEMBER 07: Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

The New England Patriots coasted to a victory against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday thanks to another Sam Darnold implosion.

While rookie stud Mac Jones didn’t have his best day at the office due to a lost fumble and an interception, he was able to put together enough sustainable drives to help the Patriots move to 5-4.

Not only are Panthers fans irritated with Darnold’s performance in the loss, but they are lashing out at Jones for what they perceive to be a very dirty play.

When Jones was sacked and fumbled, he grabbed the ankle of Carolina defensive end Brian Burns and appeared to twist it slightly. Burns would leave the game with an injury.

While referee Clete Blakeman called it a “subjective foul” and coach Matt Rhule took a somewhat diplomatic route by insisting that a personal foul should’ve been called, Haason Reddick was more willing to go at Jones personally for what he saw as unacceptable conduct.

Reddick thought that Jones twisting Burns’ ankle was “completely dirty.” Reddick wants the NFL to get involved in some capacity, perhaps in the form of a retroactive fine. The Panthers are struggling, and they need every warm body they can get on defense.

Did Patriots QB Mac Jones twist Brian Burns’ ankle?

If the league can prove with a reasonable degree of certainty that Jones was intending to deliberately injure Jones with this move, he might need to get hit with a fine. However, most Patriots speaking on the matter, including head coach Bill Belichick, think that this play can be chalked up to Jones just playing football.

Belichick thinks that Jones believed Burns recovered the ball, which would explain why he was trying to bring him down. This is going to be a very difficult explanation to disprove, and that might leave some Panthers players very irritated if Jones is not reprimanded by the league.

Burns later returned to the game despite his injury, but that injury could’ve been much worse, especially for a defensive lineman constantly pushing off that ankle. We know for a fact Jones grabbed and twisted Burns’ ankle. The only question relates to if it was deliberate.

While Jones did just come up from getting sacked and may not have had any idea who had the ball, the fact that he held onto that ankle nearly five yards away from the ball may make the whole thing look purposeful. Time will tell if the league looks into this and aims to fine Jones or if it fizzles out entirely.