The New England Patriots dominated the Carolina Panthers on Sunday afternoon, but a play in the first half involving rookie quarterback Mac Jones left a sour taste in the mouth of at least one Panthers player.
After Panthers defensive end Brian Burns strip sacked Jones late in the first quarter, chaos broke out. As Burns tried to get up to chase after the football, the Patriots quarterback grabbed a hold of the defender’s ankle to slow him down. It appeared as though Jones then twisted his opponent’s ankle to bring him to the ground.
The Panthers recovered the fumble, but Burns was banged up on the play. While Carolina took over on offense, he went into the team’s medical tent on the sideline.
Jones wasn’t penalized for the questionable tackle, but at least one of Burns’ Panthers teammates was frustrated with the officiating of the incident. Linebacker Haason Reddick addressed the controversial play in his postgame press conference and expressed his hope that the league would review the tackle this week.
“I thought it was completely dirty. Hopefully it’s something the league addresses,” Reddick said, via Joseph Person of The Athletic.
Haason Reddick on Mac Jones’ ankle twist on Brian Burns: “I thought it was completely dirty. Hopefully it’s something the league addresses.”
— Joe Person (@josephperson) November 7, 2021
Here’s another look at the play, via the Panthers. As you can see, Jones grabs a hold of Burns’ ankle right before the camera pans away to follow the ball.
Burns takes down Mac Jones and Luvu recovers
📺: CBS pic.twitter.com/htMtFu50P2
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) November 7, 2021
Burns came back into the game but left again in the fourth quarter and did not return.
Interestingly, the CBS broadcast referenced some past bad blood between Jones in Burns. Back in high school, Jones apparently didn’t like how Burns danced and celebrated after a sack and has remembered that moment ever since.
That doesn’t mean that the Patriots rookie intentionally tried to hurt the Panthers defensive end. Ben Volin of the Boston Globe reported that Jones was not asked about the questionable play during his postgame press conference.
Time will tell if the league gets involved to punish the rookie quarterback for the tackle later this week.