Based on a slow-motion replay, it appears the interception that got Jones benched should’ve been blown dead.
Patriots quarterback Mac Jones had a game to forget on Monday night, completing 3-of-6 passes for 13 yards and an interception in his return from injury. He was pulled in favor of Bailey Zappe after the pick, but a video replay of the play seems to show it shouldn’t have counted at all.
On second-and-10 from the Chicago 36-yard line, Jones threw a pass intended for Jonnu Smith that was intercepted by Jaquan Brisker. However, watching a very slow-motion replay of the throw, it certainly appears the ball hit the sky cam wire, changing its path ever so slightly.
The change in trajectory isn’t very perceptible on regular speed, and Smith was well covered so the ball may have very well still been intercepted. However, by rule, if the ball hit the wire, it should have been blown dead and the down replayed.
“If a loose ball in play strikes a video board, guide wire, sky cam, or any other object, the ball will be dead immediately, and the down will be replayed at the previous spot,” the NFL rulebook states, per MassLive.
On Wednesday afternoon, ESPN released a statement saying that despite the appearance of the pass in the video, the ball was nowhere near hitting the sky cam.
“This pass from Mac Jones did not hit ESPN’s SkyCam wiring,” the statement from ESPN PR reads. “This video creates a false impression, but in reality the SkyCam wire was more than 15 feet above the ball and our SkyCam system followed all NFL protocols.”
Even if the ball did hit the sky cam, the moment likely wouldn’t have changed the outcome of the 33–14 Bears win, and it doesn’t necessarily alter the state of what certainly looks like a quarterback controversy in New England. However, if Jones gets that do-over, perhaps he has a better showing and Zappe doesn’t make his entrance after just three drives.
With the loss, the Patriots enter Sunday’s game against the Jets at 3–4 with a whole host of questions about its quarterback situation, questions Bill Belichick doesn’t seem to have any interest in answering.
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For more New England Patriots coverage, go to Patriots Country.