FOXBORO, MASS. – Ramondre Stevens blamed his expensive late-game play on Saturday for him.
Mack Jones had the same explanation for his subsequent penalty.
After Stevenson lost the ball inside Cincinnati’s 10-yard line with a minute left in a four-point play, Jones continued to try to recover it after the whistle blew. This resulted in a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness on the New England Patriots quarterback.
“I think obviously, there’s a little bit of a pile, and then the ball was thrown into another pile,” Jones said after the Patriots’ 22-18 loss at Gillette Stadium. “I went there and tried to grab the ball to save the game.
“So at the end of the day, you have to take your chances and try to get the ball, you have to fight for the ball because it’s a live ball until somebody catches it in the air. You have to go to get it and that’s what I was trying to do.”
An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty might have been a more appropriate call, but even so, Jones’ overindulgence hurt the Patriots. If not for the flag, the Bengals would have started their next drive at their own 8-yard line. Instead, they took over at their own 22, and even though the Patriots defense forced a three-and-out, New England had to start one last desperation drive at its own 24.
Jones and company picked up one first down before turning the ball over on downs, completing their ill-fated second half comeback. The Patriots scored 18 unanswered points after trailing 22-0 at halftime, but couldn’t make it the difference.