The NFL has imposed two fines on Mac Jones for the New England Patriots quarterback’s actions during a 22-18 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 24.
One of the fines already had been widely reported, with the NFL punishing the former Alabama All-American for a low block on Cincinnati cornerback Eli Apple while they ran after Bengals linebacker Germaine Pratt, who was returning with a fumble recovery (that was ruled an incomplete pass, nullifying a touchdown).
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That fine was originally reported as $11,139, the standard monetary penalty for a first-time offender for a low block on the NFL/NFL Players Association’s schedule of infractions and fines. But that fine now is being reported as $13,367.
The NFL also fined Jones $10,609 for an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty late in the game, masslive.com reported. The low block on Apple did not draw a penalty flag.
After trailing by 22 points, New England scored 18 unanswered points and had a first down at the Cincinnati 5-yard line when Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson lost a fumble with 59 seconds to play. Jones got a penalty after trying to get the football from B.J. Hill, the Cincinnati defensive lineman who recovered the fumble.
“I think, obviously, there’s a little bit of a pile there,” Jones said after the game, “and then the ball squirted out actually into another pile. I went over there and tried to grab the ball to save the game, so at the end of the day, you’ve got to take your chance and try to get the ball, got to compete for the ball because it’s a live ball until somebody holds it up in the air. You got to go get it, and that’s what I tried to do.”
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Jones also offered an explanation for his hit on Apple.
“I went down in front of him to kind of get in the way to stop him from slowing down (Patriots wide receiver) Tyquan (Thornton), who obviously could make the tackle there,” Jones said during his weekly appearance on WEEI-FM’s “Merloni, Fauria and MegO Show.” “Just kind of went down in front of him, trying to stop a fast guy from getting to another fast guy, so just a split-second decision. There’s a lot that goes into it. You’re out there trying to compete, and it’s a physical game, so you’re trying to help the team win.”
Apple wasn’t buying it.
“He had a (expletive) explanation,” Apple said. “He knew what he was doing. He had his eye on my knee, and he was trying to dive at it. You can tell. I’ve never had that happen before with a QB. I’ve never even seen it before.”
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Earlier this month, the NFL fined Jones $10,609 for hitting Buffalo Bills defensive end A.J. Epenesa with the football.
During the Patriots’ 24-10 loss on Dec. 1, Epenesa sacked Jones on a second-and-8 snap from the Buffalo 8-yard line with 2:13 left to play. When Jones got up, he backhanded the football at Epenesa. The flipped football bounced off the defensive end, Epenesa gave no reaction and the officials did not assess a penalty.
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Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.
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