There have been plenty of ankle-breakers in the NFL, but Mac Jones may have tried to take it a bit literally.
The rookie quarterback has been making Boston back pages for his positive play this year, but in the Patriots’ Week 8 showdown with the Panthers, he made headlines for all the wrong reasons when he got caught in a bit of a situation with Panthers pass-rusher Brian Burns.
Enacting his best Kurt Angle impression, Jones seemed to grab Burns by the ankle and twist him to the turf, after a strip-sack by the Panthers pass rusher. The ball was recovered by Carolina but the win would go to the Patriots, 24-6.
While not technically illegal, Jones’ maneuver certainly drew the ire of Burns and others around the league.
Let’s go to the tape:
Mac Jones-Brian Burns video
There are several angles of the now-infamous Week 9 entanglement between the quarterback and the defensive end, each more telling than the first.
The first, was the televised angle between Jones and Burns, which most people missed in real time. With Burns strip-sacking Jones, the defensive end tried to scramble to pick up the loose ball, and instead was held up (and then taken down) by Jones:
Burns would later exit the game with an ankle sprain, presumably caused by the twisting, but would return in Week 10 vs. the Cardinals.
Another, closer angle of the play, revealed some more detail, with Jones turning to gator roll Burns’ ankle.
Here’s another look at the Brian Burns forced fumble (remember that?). It’s tough to judge intent but it looks like Mac Jones rolls over while holding on to Burns’ ankle. Bottom left of the screen. Video via @SeanWSOC9 pic.twitter.com/BQj6t7IJR8
— Phil Orban (@philorbanWSOC9) November 7, 2021
And yet another, clearer, more zoomed in and slo-mo angle of tackling attempt shows Jones sweeping one of Burns’ legs and hitting a picture-perfect drop toe hold a la Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat to ground Burns:
The incident didn’t result in any penalties, fines or suspensions for Jones. Rather, it did result in ticking off Burns a lot, who was upset that Jones hadn’t checked in to make sure he was OK following the incident. He also offered something of a warning for Jones:
#Panthers pass-rusher Brian Burns says it would be nice if Mac Jones apologized for grabbing his ankle on Sunday, but he doesn’t expect it to happen. “I would just like to play them again. I wish all my fellow D-end brothers happy hunting.” pic.twitter.com/V3iQc8YBJY
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) November 10, 2021
“It would be nice to have an apology, Mac,” Burns said with a laugh. “It’s not gonna happen. However the NFL handles it, is on them. I just would like play them again. I wish all my fellow D-end brothers happy hunting.”
Bill Belichick would explain Jones as being disoriented by the hit and believed that Burns had the ball, leading to the (unorthodox) tackle. In turn, Jones would refuse to comment on Burns’ apology, instead pulling the classic “We’re onto Cincinnati” attitude.