Mac Jones made his return to the starting lineup for the New England Patriots on Monday night, as the Patriots hosted Justin Fields and the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football. With the quarterback coming off a high ankle sprain, it looked in the early going that the second-year passer wanted to show that he was fully back and healthy, as he carried the ball 3 times in the early going, for 24 yards, making him the Patriots’ leading rusher.
On one of those runs, however, Jones seemed to have a little extra for Bears rookie safety Jaquan Brisker. As Jones slid to the Gillette Stadium turf, with Brisker closing in on him, the quarterback looked more like a baserunner sliding into second base hard to break up a double play than a scrambling QB giving himself up:
Over on the Manningcast, former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning had some thoughts of his own:
Brisker would leave the game for a few plays to collect … let’s just say his thoughts. But the rookie safety had the last laugh shortly after returning to the game:
Not only did Brisker snare this one-handed interception of Jones, he might have sent the quarterback to the sideline for the time being. After the interception, Bill Belichick made the call for rookie backup Bailey Zappe to enter the game. Almost immediately, the Patriots offense came to life, with Zappe connecting with Jakobi Meyers for New England’s first touchdown of the game:
Then, after the Patriots intercepted Justin Fields on Chicago’s next possession, Zappe connected with DeVante Parker on this deep shot along the left sideline:
New England finished that drive with a touchdown run from Rhamondre Stevenson, staking the Patriots to a 14-7 lead.
But the story in the early going is Jones’ hard slide into Brisker, and the rookie defender’s pitch-perfect response. As ESPN’s Mina Kimes pointed out, perhaps this was one of the rules of sports playing out at Gillette Stadium: