Patriots QB Mac Jones won't be suspended, but replay angles of his 'dirty' play look bad

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Mac Jones was trying to hurt an opponent. That's the only takeaway one can have after watching replays of him twisting Brian Burns' ankle on Sunday in the New England Patriots' 24-6 victory against the Carolina Panthers. 

And any player who intentionally tries to hurt an opponent, especially with something not in the flow of a game, should be punished harshly by the NFL. Except he won't be, according to a report. 

Tom Pelissero of NFL Media said the NFL will review Jones' ankle twist, but he "faces a possible fine, but nothing more than that." That might not be enough. 

The play looks as dirty as anything Ndamukong Suh ever did to get suspended by the NFL. Jones, on the ground after he was sacked and fumbled, reached out and grabbed the ankle of Burns, the Panthers' pass rusher following the play. Then Jones turned the ankle in a malicious way. 

As Phil Orban of WSOC TV points out, the NFL Films angle makes it hard to make any case to defend Jones. This is not a football play. 

You can see it on WSOC's angle too: 

If you want one more angle, he's a little wider shot from WCNC. 

Burns was hurt on the play. Panthers edge defender Haason Reddick called it "completely dirty," and he's right. 

Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Monday to the "Greg Hill Morning Show" (via ESPN's Mike Reiss) that "I think he thought Burns had the ball." It's a dubious excuse, as Panthers coach Matt Rhule seemed to believe. 

Jones offered his own explanation: 

The NFL goes out of its way to protect quarterbacks. There was a roughing-the-passer penalty Sunday night on Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, when he pushed Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill at the end of a play, that reminded us how the NFL will call ridiculous penalties to make sure nobody touches the quarterback. 

This time, a quarterback who lost a fumble on a sack grabbed an ankle and ended up twisting it at the end. That's worse that just pushing a quarterback during a play. Letting a quarterback get away with that with a slap on the wrist would be hypocritical. 

Carolina Panthers defensive end Brian Burns had his ankle twisted by Patriots QB Mac Jones on Sunday. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Carolina Panthers defensive end Brian Burns had his ankle twisted by Patriots QB Mac Jones on Sunday. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
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