Sauce Gardner adds another layer to the "Mac Jones is a dirty player" narrative

New England Patriots v New York Jets
New England Patriots v New York Jets / Al Bello/GettyImages

In what should have been an easy game for the Patriots on Sunday, the Jets took them to task through the full 60 minutes of game time, nearly accomplishing a comeback to steal the win at home.

It would have been the ultimate disaster for New England to lose a third game in a row, especially in a game that saw their first points scored in the first quarter instead of falling behind. But within their win were several questionable calls and non-calls that primarily impacted them and not their opponents, one of which involved Sauce Gardner and Mac Jones.

It was the fourth quarter and the Patriots' offense was on the field for a 3rd and one play. Bill O'Brien called a quarterback sneak that went unsuccessful, and during that play, a scuffle broke out between the two teams.

As Jones attempted to get the first down, he was aggressively brought to the ground by C.J. Mosley well after the whistle was blown. The offensive line then came to his defense, getting feisty with the Jets' defenders. And then Gardner decided to shove Jones to the ground again, right in front of four referees.

No flags were called despite the extracurricular activities warranting it, and it wasn't clear what led to Gardner getting physical with the quarterback.

Of course, during his post-game press conference, the cornerback was asked about his hit on Jones, and he had a simple explanation for it.

Maybe he's telling the truth, even though the video doesn't seem to back it up, but it looks more like a rival player choosing to add to the narrative that Jones is a dirty player because it's low-hanging fruit at this point.

Jones was also asked about the situation when he spoke to the media, and he denied that he did anything that would've provoked Gardner's actions.

Whatever the truth is, we'll probably never know. Gardner could be upset because he didn't have the best game, and his team lost, prompting him to add more layers to the label haunting Jones since his rookie season.

On the flip side, hopefully, Jones didn't actually do anything that warranted to push because he certainly doesn't need any more enemies in the league.