What was Mac Jones thinking on the play one Carolina Panthers defender deemed "completely dirty" Sunday?
Bill Belichick attempted to cover for his quarterback Monday morning.
Belichick was asked about Jones grabbing the right ankle of Brian Burns and twisting it after the Panthers defensive end forced a fumble by sacking Jones late in the first quarter.
"I think (Jones) thought Burns had the ball," Belichick said on WEEI's "The Greg Hill Show" after a long pause.
Here's the play in question; you can see Jones holding onto Burns' ankle on the right side of the screen, several yards away from where the ball landed.
Belichick's explanation seems generous toward Jones, but it's possible the rookie quarterback was disoriented after Burns' big hit and thought the defensive end recovered the fumble.
The Panthers obviously would disagree: Linebacker Haason Reddick suggested the NFL should look into Jones' "dirty" play, which caused Burns to leave the game with an ankle injury. (He later returned).
Jones wasn't asked about the incident Sunday after New England's 24-6 victory, but we wouldn't be surprised if he uses Belichick's explanation the next time he addresses the media.