As we all saw, Bill O’Brien tore into Mac Jones on Sunday in Germany. A closer inspection of the preceding play helps explain why.
As Greg Bedard – aka The Big Boy – noted during his weekly visit on Felger & Mazz, O’Brien’s harangue at Jones took place after the Patriots failed to convert a third-and-3 from the Indianapolis 17-yard line just before the midpoint of the third quarter in Sunday’s loss against the Colts. Patriots kicker Chad Ryland missed a 35-yard field goal on the ensuing snap that left the Patriots with a 10-6 deficit, hardly a small detail given New England ultimately lost the game, 10-6. (The score was 10-6 when Ryland lined up for the kick.) Had Ryland made the kick, the Pats obviously would have needed only a field goal later in the quarter, when both Jones and his replacement, Bailey Zappe, threw interceptions that sent the Pats plummeting to a 2-8 record.
Nonetheless, O’Brien was caught berating Jones after the sequence – even though the missed field goal was potentially a far more costly play. The reason? After reviewing the game on film, Bedard reported that Jones had multiple options on the play, but held onto the ball too long. Instead of a first down – or more – Jones awkwardly under-handed a pass in the direction of Rhamondre Stevenson that nearly went for a drive-killing interception.
As such, when both got to the sideline, O’Brien tore into Mac Jones in a manner that evoked memories of a similar O’Brien outburst against Tom Brady years ago during a game in Philadelphia. In that instance, Brady had chastised young, undrafted receiver Tiquan Underwood, behavior at which O’Brien took great offense.
Using Bedard’s assessment as a springboard, we went back and looked at Jones’ decision-making on that third-down play. Here’s what we found: