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Did Mac Jones Make a Dirty Play in Twisting Brian Burns' Ankle?

Kyle Koster
Grant Halverson/GettyImages
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The Carolina Panthers are not too happy that a questionable play from New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones happened and went unaddressed by officials during yesterday's 24-6 loss.

After Brian Burns came crashing in to sack Jones in the first quarter, the rookie signal-caller latched onto Burns' foot in an attempt to prevent a fumble recovery and continued to hang on for dear life as the defensive player twisted around. Burns left the game with an injury after the play, returned, but then ultimately departed with same balky ankle in the fourth quarter.

Carolina's Haason Reddick didn't much care for it.

"Definitely thought it was a dirty play," Reddick said, via ESPN. "I actually saw and witnessed the play while it was happening. At first it felt like he was trying trip or kick Burns. And the next thing you know I saw him tugging on Burns' ankle. I thought it was completely dirty. Hopefully, it's something the league addresses."

"I understand everybody is out there competing,'' he continued. "I understand everybody wants to win. I don't think there is no room for that inside of the game. Everybody needs to be respectful, right? Nobody wants to see anybody get hurt.

"For no penalty, nothing to be thrown, it's egregious, I think it's unfair. I really do hope the league addresses it.''

Jones was not quizzed about the incident after the game. Panthers coach Matt Rhule, who praised Jones earlier in the week, was less forceful:

A foul should have been called,'' he said. "I don't want to call out any of their players or anything like that. I'm always gonna protect our guys, and it looked like it was an injury that happened after the play.''

It's tough to watch the clips and not emerge thinking this was at least slightly dirty. The best defense would be if Jones thought Burns had scooped up the loose football already and was trying to tackle him. But it certainly seems like that's not the case and this was done strictly to prevent a fumble recovery. At the very least, there should have been a penalty, though officials have an awful lot to watch on such a chaotic play.

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