BOSTON -- Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner was extremely upset with Patriots quarterback Mac Jones after a QB sneak during Sunday's Pats-Jets tilt at MetLife Stadium. Now we know why.
After New England escaped with a 15-10 win in New Jersey, Gardner accused Jones of a low blow after his QB sneak, hitting the Jets corner in a rather sensitive spot. Jones attempted to move the chains on a third-and-1 at the New York 45 with a sneak up the middle, but was stuffed by the New York defense on the play.
Jones kept pushing and pushing, even after the whistle had blown, so Jets defenders kept pushing back as well. Jones got into it with a handful of Jets during and after the play, including Gardner, who really wanted to go after the Pats' quarterback. Jones was eventually slammed to the ground by C.J. Mosley, and the game continued.
In the Jets locker room after the game, Gardner said that Jones hit him "in my private parts," which prompted his reaction.
"That's probably the first time that's ever happened to me," Gardner said. "He got tackled. He reached out to me to get me to help him up. I just moved his hand out of the way. He got up and then came up to me like 'Good job.' While he was saying that, he hit me in my private parts. I didn't react like I really wanted to. I definitely wasn't expecting that. First time for everything I guess."
Gardner added that he had to "ice up" after the game, before delivering an early contender for the 2023 Quote of the Season.
"He's trying to prevent me from having kids in the future," said Gardner.
Jones, who threw for 201 yards and a touchdown on Sunday, sidestepped questions about his altercation with Gardner after the New England win.
"Um, no," Jones said when asked if he hit Gardner below the belt after his sneak. "Just trying to get the first down. Third-and-1 and then we came back on fourth-and-1 and then tried to fake it. So, definitely a physical play. A lot of guys are in there. It's kind of the famous quarterback sneak that everybody does. All the guys on both teams are in there, so it can get pretty physical and that's something I have to learn from, getting my pads a little lower so I can get it and not get held up."
This is not the first time that an opposing player has accused Jones of a potentially dirty play. It's not even the second time, with Jones developing quite the reputation with some of his antics.
During his rookie season, Carolina's Brian Burns was miffed at Jones after the quarterback twisted his ankle following a Panthers fumble recovery. Burns offered up a "happy hunting" to his fellow defensive linemen on the QB a few days later. Then last season, Bears safety Jaquan Brisker accused Jones of kicking him as the quarterback slid after a quarterback scramble.
There were no flags thrown after Sunday's scrum between the Patriots and the Jets. But now that Gardner has shared his version of the events, the NFL may take another look at the situation.
And it will be really interesting when Jones and Gardner meet again, as the Pats host the Jets on the final weekend of the season.
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