New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones told reporters Sunday that he turned down his first touchdown ball after the Patriots lost their season opener to the Miami Dolphins.
A video posted by the Patriots’ official Twitter account shows Jones giving the ball back to wide receiver Nelson Agholor after his first touchdown pass. When Agholor gave him the ball, he handed it over to backup quarterback Brian Hoyer and jogged back to the sidelines. (RELATED: The Rams Beating The Bears Gets Big TV Ratings)
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) September 12, 2021
It is a common NFL tradition for rookies to keep the ball they scored their first touchdown with, but Jones told reporters after the game why he refused.
“Because it doesn’t really matter. It was one touchdown, We’ve got to score more,” Jones said after the game. “It’s not like the game was over right there. We’ve got to do better in the red zone and get more touchdowns, and we will.”
Jones impressed during his first career start. He completed 29 of his 39 passes for 281 yards and a touchdown. He was the first rookie QB to complete more than 70% of his passes in his debut on more than 30 attempts. However, the Patriots came up short, losing to the Dolphins 17-16.
Jones’ response was a commendable display of leadership. Scoring his first NFL TD was an amazing milestone, but Jones knows there is so much work yet to be done. He’s not concerned with one touchdown. More than anything, he wants to lead his team to victory, week in and week out. If that doesn’t capture the essence of the “Patriot Way,” I don’t know what does.