New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones didn’t play too much in his return after missing three weeks as he was pulled following three rough drives against the Chicago Bears.
Jones led the Patriots to two three-and-outs to start the game, which prompted the Gillette Stadium crowd to chant for his backup, rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe. They would get their wish to see him in the game, but the Bears didn’t mind. They would upset the Pats, 33-14, in the end.
But Zappe didn’t come in before Jones threw an interception to Bears rookie safety Jaquan Brisker, who made a nice one-handed snag on a pass intended for tight end Jonnu Smith.
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Upon further review, fans took to social media to show a video of Jones’ interception that appeared to hit the ESPN SkyCam. Could Jones have actually been throwing the ball out of bounds, and instead the wire on the SkyCam changed its trajectory and led to the interception?
ESPN squashed that theory on Wednesday in response to the video going around that their camera equipment interfered with gameplay.
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“This pass from Mac Jones did not hit ESPN’s SkyCam wiring. This video creates a false impression, but in reality the SkyCam wire was more than 15 feet above the ball and our SkyCam system followed all NFL protocols,” ESPN said in an official statement.
No matter the case, Jones wants to wash away his performance in this game. It was his first appearance since he suffered a high ankle sprain against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 3, and fans were quick to dismiss him for his rookie counterpart.
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Zappe had done well in his first two career starts in the last two contests, coming away with a win in both and keeping the Patriots afloat. However, against the Bears, Zappe couldn’t find the success he would have hoped.
He threw two interceptions himself after getting the Patriots right back into the game in the first half with back-to-back touchdown drives. Zappe would finish the game 14-for-22 for 185 yards with a touchdown pass to wide receiver Jakobi Meyers, the Patriots’ first points of the night.
Because of this move to pull Jones so early, there was speculation that Zappe would be the starter moving forward.
However, ESPN reports that Jones took 90% of the first-team reps during practice on Wednesday as the Patriots are grooming him to start against the New York Jets on Sunday.