A play by Patriots quarterback Mac Jones in the first half of Sunday’s game was not well received by Panthers linebacker Haason Reddick.
Panthers defensive end Brian Burns had just stripped sacked Jones and was running to go get the ball when Jones grabbed him by the ankle to keep him from pursuing the loose ball. He eventually twisted Burns’ ankle to take him down and Burns went to the sideline medical tent while the Panthers offense took over after recovering the ball.
Jones wasn’t penalized on the play, but Reddick thinks the league needs to look at the play.
“I thought it was completely dirty. Hopefully it’s something the league addresses,” Reddick said, via Joseph Person of TheAthletic.com.
“I definitely thought it was a dirty play,” Reddick told reporters after the game. “I actually saw and witnessed the play while it was happening as I was running. Seen them over there, first it looked like he was trying to trip or kick Burns. Then next thing you know, I saw him tugging on Burns’ ankle. I thought it was completely dirty. Hopefully, it’s something that the league addresses. …
“I think it was surprising to not see that a penalty was called. It seems like they’re always protecting the offensive players. Where’s the protection for the defensive players as well? I felt like that was a call that shouldn’t be missed. I’m going to speak out on it. Whatever the consequences, however the referees feel, that’s how they feel, but it looked completely intentionally from where I was standing, and I was pretty close, and I don’t think that’s a call that should have been missed. …
“I understand everybody’s out there competing. I understand that. I understand everybody wants to win, but I don’t think it’s no room for things like that inside of the game. At the end of the game, we’re all playing a game, and I think everybody needs to be respectful. Nobody wants to see anybody get hurt. I know I don’t, so for something like that to happen and, once again, for no penalty, nothing to be thrown, I just think it’s egregious. I think it’s egregious. I think it’s unfair, and, like I said, I really do hope that the league addresses it.”
Panthers coach Matt Rhule agreed that Jones should have been penalized on the play.
“I thought that maybe a foul should have been called,” Rhule said. “I don’t want to call out any other players or anything like that, I just – I’m always going to protect our guys, and it looked like it was an injury that happened after the play, so I was just kind of defending Brian.”
A day after the Patriots’ latest win, Bill Belichick called into WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” for his weekly interview and discussed the incident.
“I think he thought Burns had the ball,” Belichick said.
“I think he thought Burns had the ball,” Belichick repeated.
Asked later during a virtual call with the media if he was surprised at the Panthers’ reaction, Belichick said: “I don’t know. I’m just telling you what I saw on the play.”
Jones completed 12-of-18 passes for 139 yards with one touchdown and one interception against Carolina. The Patriots improved to 5-4 with the victory.
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