The simplest and most telling statistic for the 2023 Patriots goes something like this: when Mac Jones throws an interception, the Patriots are 0-8. When he doesn’t, they’re 2-0.
But after yesterday, Mac Jones’ latest interception might very well be his last.
At least for a while.
With a little less than 4:30 remaining in the game and the Patriots facing a 10-6 deficit against the Indianapolis Colts, Jones made what he himself termed “a terrible throw” that resulted in another interception yesterday in Frankfurt, Germany. The play ended what had been a productive New England drive and sent the spiraling Pats to their eighth defeat as they enter their Week 11 bye.
Given the way things have gone this season – for the Patriots in general and Jones in particular – the end was hardly surprising.
Jones has now throws 10 interceptions this season to lead the NFL, though that is only part of the story. For his career, Jones now has thrown 34 interceptions in 41 starts, an average of nearly one per game. In the 24 total regular season games in which he has thrown at least one interception, the Patriots are just 6-18. Yesterday marked their ninth straight defeat in such games going back to last season.
Jones also has 14 fumbles, one of which was returned by the Dallas Cowboys for a touchdown earlier this season.
Ugly? You bet. Asked why he removed Jones from yesterday’s game and whether Jones could be replaced as the team’s starter going forward – a change that seems inevitable – Patriots coach Belichick hardly sounded like someone intent on giving Jones another chance.
“Yeah, we’ll worry about next week next week. The game just finished a half hour ago,” he said. “I just thought it was time for a change.”
Yesterday’s defeat marked the second consecutive week in which Jones threw an interception to extinguish any remaining Patriots hopes, though all interceptions are hardly created equal. In the Week 9 game against Washington, the ball deflected off the hands of a receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, who accepted responsibility for the turnover.
Yesterday, however, was exclusively the fault of Jones. The interception was the latest in the line of hideous throws by the Patriots quarterback, some of which have been more memorable than others. To wit: