FOXBOROUGH — Nobody had an answer to the biggest question after Sunday’s Patriots-Ravens game: What’s the latest on quarterback Mac Jones?
With less than two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Jones hopped off the field in obvious pain with a lower leg injury. The team did not have any information beyond the fact that Jones is being evaluated for a leg injury.
Coach Bill Belichick said after the game he had not yet seen Jones, so he did not have an update on his condition. He also did not share his perspective on what happened on the play.
The sequence certainly did not look good.
On what would be New England’s final offensive play of the game, Jones threw a pass intended for wide receiver Kendrick Bourne, only for it to be picked off by Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters, Jones’s third interception of the day. Defensive end Calais Campbell (6 feet 8 inches, 307 pounds) brought down Jones after the throw, landing hard on Jones’s lower left leg.
Jones immediately reached for his ankle, crawled to his feet, and hopped to the sideline. He kept his left leg off the ground and did not stop at the bench on his way to the locker room. As Jones made his way down the stairs with two Patriots staffers, he was visibly and audibly in pain.
The Ravens sealed their 37-26 victory with a series of kneeldowns, so backup Brian Hoyer did not need to check into the game. Rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe was among the team’s inactive players.
Jones did not speak to the media after the game. His teammates didn’t appear to have any information on the situation, instead extending their well-wishes.
“I’m not really here to address injuries and things like that,” said linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley. “I’m going to let our training staff and all of them do that. But hopefully we get him back next week.”
Added wide receiver Nelson Agholor, “I don’t know the severity of his injury, and I’m not going to speak on that. I just hope he’s OK and we’ll figure it out when they let us know.”
Should Jones miss time, his absence would be a significant loss for New England’s progressing offense. Despite crucial turnovers Sunday, there were a number of positive developments, including Jones and wide receiver DeVante Parker connecting for 156 yards on five receptions. Jones finished the day with a season-high 321 passing yards and a rushing touchdown.
If Jones is sidelined, players expressed confidence in Hoyer. The 36-year-old journeyman likely would get the start over Zappe against Green Bay in Week 4. After the Packers, New England’s next three opponents are Detroit, Cleveland, and Chicago.
“Bri’s been here a long time,” said center David Andrews. “I got a lot of respect for how he comes in and works every day and prepares like he is going to play.”
Added Bourne, “He knows what he’s doing. That’s what you want. He’s not a young guy. He’s vetted. He always has his input on things we’re doing and helping with what he sees and preparing like he’s the No. 1. That’s what you want to see out of your backup.”
The Patriots will return to practice Wednesday, when they also will release an injury report detailing each player’s level of participation.
Even if Jones is able to suit up, there’s no denying the beating he has taken through three weeks. He also underwent X-rays in Week 1 because of a back injury.
“It’s a tough game,” Agholor said. “How it looks to me is he played his heart out. He went out there and played very hard for all four quarters. He takes hits all the time, and he’s a tough dude.”
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