BOSTON -- Mac Jones was an absolute mess for the Patriots on Sunday in Dallas. His three-turnover game led to a 38-3 beatdown by the Cowboys, and a spot on the bench for Jones in the second half.
After throwing two interceptions -- including a pick-six -- and coughing up a fumble that led to a Dallas score, Jones was benched in favor of Bailey Zappe in the third quarter of Sunday's loss. There were no real redeeming qualities to Jones' game against the Cowboys, as the quarterback cost his team any chance to stay in the game. His decision-making led to painful errors that led to instant points for the Cowboys.
"For me, just not good enough. Wasn't my day,". "Can't turn the ball over like that when you're trying to beat good teams. I'm definitely disappointed in myself and feel I can play a lot better. I have to to beat good teams."
Jones wasn't the only one to blame on offense, but his gaffes were the most glaring. New England's downfall on offense started late in the first quarter for the Patriots when Mike Onwenu was flagged for a false start, turning a third-and-10 into a third-and-15. Jones hit JuJu Smith-Schuster with a nice pass on the next play, but it was a yard short of the line and set up a fourth-and-1 for New England.
Down 10-3, Bill Belichick got aggressive and kept his offense on the field. Jones attempted to move the chains with a QB keeper, but his push up the middle came up well short of the line, giving the Cowboys the ball at the Dallas 41.
That didn't hurt the Patriots, as the defense forced a quick three-and-out. But Demario Douglas ran backwards after fielding Bryan Anger's punt, and was dropped at the New England 10-yard line.
It wasn't an ideal setup for Jones and company, and it got worse when Onwenu was whistled for another false start on first down, setting up a first-and-15 at the New England 5-yard line. After Rhamondre Stevenson picked up three yards on a first-down run, disaster struck for the Patriots.
Jones dropped back for a pass on second down but felt heavy pressure from the Dallas pass rush. He ran to his left, but was quickly stripped from behind by Dante Fowler. Dallas linebacker Leighton Vander Esch scooped up the loose ball and sauntered into the end zone for an easy 10-yard touchdown.
That play was embarrassing enough for the Patriots, but then the Cowboys rubbed it in a little more on the ensuing extra point. Dallas pulled off a perfect fake extra-point, and Anger hit a wide open Chauncey Golston for two points, giving Dallas an 18-3 lead in the second quarter.
In the span of just a few minutes, the Patriots made three massive mistakes on offense and two others on special teams. It put them in a big hole in Big D, and it got even worse just before halftime.
Jones added an interception to his fumble with just over a minute to play in the half. He was pick-sixed by Dallas' Daron Bland on a cross-field pass to Kendrick Bourne. Bland's 54-yard interception touchdown gave Dallas a 28-3 lead.
Jones was picked by Bland again to end New England's first possession of the second half, and then the Patriots went three-and-out on their second try of the second half. The possession ended when Jones overthrew DeVante Parker on a third-and-6.
That was enough for Bill Belichick, who benched Jones for Zappe the next time New England got the ball.
Jones is now up to four interceptions on the season to five touchdown passes. The Patriots look to him to lead the offense, but four weeks into the season, the New England offense appears to be going nowhere.
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