Mac Jones interceptions: How turnovers led to Patriots QB being benched for Bailey Zappe again

The Patriots decided after their bye week that Mac Jones was still their best option to start at quarterback in their Week 12 game against the Giants.

Their choice ended up being a regrettable one.
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Jones, who has started all 11 of New England’s games this season, once again struggled badly. He made some solid throws with good timing, but he never looked comfortable in the pocket. That led him to make some bad decisions against the Giants, and those resulted in turnovers.

Ultimately, Jones’ trouble with turnovers led the Patriots to turn to Bailey Zappe as the team’s quarterback for the second half. It marked the fourth time that Jones had been benched in favor of his backup during the 2023 NFL season.

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Just how bad was Mac Jones before his latest benching? Here’s what to know about the Patriots quarterback’s performance and interceptions against the Giants.

Mac Jones stats today

Jones completed 12 of 21 passes against the Giants for 89 yards and two interceptions before his benching against the Giants. He also was sacked once and was bailed out by a teammate after he fumbled on a scramble.

Jones posted a passer rating of just 27.8 during his outing. That was good for his worst mark of the season, beating his previous low-water mark of 30.5 in the team’s 34-0 loss to the Saints.

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Mac Jones interceptions

One of the reasons that Jones’ passer rating was so low was because he threw two ugly interceptions.

The first came when Jones made an ill-advised throw in the direction of Demario Douglas. The rookie wide-out was in triple coverage when Jones sailed a ball over his head.

That allowed Giants cornerback Deonte Banks to easily make the interception before going out of bounds.

But Jones’ worst interception was his second. It came as the Patriots were driving into Giants territory and making progress in their quest to break a scoreless tie.

Jones simply didn’t see linebacker Bobby Okereke lurking in the middle of the field. He undercut Douglas’ route and was able to get the pick and return it 55 yards.

Jones tried to atone for his mistake by tackling Okereke, but the damage was done. His pick prevented the Patriots from scoring and flipped the field, allowing the Giants to get on the board first with an Isaiah Hodgins touchdown.

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The interception issues are nothing new for Jones. Since being drafted in 2021, he has thrown 36 picks. That is good for the second-most in the NFL in that span behind only Buffalo’s Josh Allen, who has 41.

The picks also weren’t his only ball-security problems. As mentioned, Jones fumbled in his own territory and nearly set the Giants up for another score.

Given all of those issues, it’s hardly a surprise that Zappe got the nod to start the second half; and it’s worth wondering whether he will be the team’s starter moving forward.

But at this point, Patriots fans can collectively agree that Jones is not the answer as the team continues to look for Tom Brady’s replacement.

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