BOSTON (CBS) — Patriots cornerback Cyrus Jones’ early-season struggles continued Sunday afternoon against the Cleveland Browns. The rookie second-round pick out of Alabama struggled in coverage and eventually lost his cool, getting himself ejected from the game in the third quarter after throwing a punch toward Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins.
Referee Bill Vinovich explained in no uncertain terms when asked about what led to Jones’ immediate ejection from the game after taking an unnecessary roughness penalty:
“It was deemed that he threw a punch … Punch and connect, you are ejected.”
The CBS broadcast appeared to miss the incident, but tweets from reporters in attendance confirmed that Jones definitely threw a punch Hawkins’ way.
Jones allowed one of the Browns’ two touchdowns on the day as Hawkins burned him on a double-move to the back corner of the end zone.
The game was just the latest in a string of subpar performances by the rookie to start the season. He has struggled on kick returns with fumbles and poor decision-making. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick backed Jones amid heavy criticism just last Friday, but there’s no defending the cornerback’s actions in the third quarter on Sunday.
The Patriots’ cornerback situation beyond Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan will be one to watch in the coming weeks, as fellow rookie Jonathan Jones started filling in for Cyrus Jones after the touchdown. Justin Coleman was inactive for the game.