Patriots quarterback Mac Jones addressed his low hit on Bengals cornerback Eli Apple on Monday.
Jones threw his body at Apple’s legs while Apple was chasing after Patriots wide receiver Tyquan Thornton in an attempt to stop Thornton from reaching Bengals linebacker Germaine Pratt after Pratt recovered an apparent fumble. The play was ultimately called an incomplete pass.
Low blocks in such situations are against league rules and Apple called it a dirty play after the game, but Jones was not penalized. During an appearance on WEEI, Jones explained what went into his decision to dive at Apple’s legs.
“Obviously, I went down in front of him to kind of get in the way, to stop him from slowing down Tyquan, who obviously could make the tackle there,” Jones said, via NESN.com. “Just kind of went down in front of him and tried to stop a fast guy from getting to another fast guy. Just a split-second decision, and there’s a lot that goes into it. You’re out there trying to compete, and it’s a physical game, so just trying to help the team win. I have all the respect for Eli and the Bengals. They played a great game. There’s no hard feelings and definitely no intention to hurt anybody on that play, nor do I believe that when I’m playing quarterback that’s what [the defense is trying to do]. I get hit a lot, too. We’re all out there playing hard, and it’s just part of the game.”
The NFL is expected to consider fining Jones for his actions, but a suspension is not thought to be a possibility.