By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
FOXBORO (CBS) — Pretty much everybody went into Sunday’s Saints-Patriots game expecting some costly turnovers from Jameis Winston. Yet a few minutes before halftime, it was Winston’s counterpart committing the costly mistake.READ MORE: Patriots List 16 Players On Wednesday's Practice/Injury Report
On a third-and-10 at the New England 44-yard line, Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones tried to release a pass before getting hit by Kaden Ellis.
The pass — technically intended for Hunter Henry — would’ve had a very low percentage chance of being completed had it been released cleanly. But with the contact, it had zero chance of being caught by anyone not wearing a white jersey.
Saints cornerback P.J. Williams stepped up to pick up the wobbling pass, and he was off to the races, bursting across the field and heading for the left pylon. Williams ran out of gas, though, falling over and hitting the ground just as running back Brandon Bolden came diving in to make a tackle.
Williams actually fumbled, and Elliss ended up recovering it for a touchdown. But a replay review showed that Williams’ knee was down before he lost control of the football.READ MORE: Hurley's Picks: Tom Brady Amused By Aaron Rodgers' Ownership Stake In Bears
So instead of the defensive touchdown, the Saints got a first-and-goal at the 9-yard line.
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) September 26, 2021
The interception was the first of Mac Jones’ career, and it was a doozy. Jameis Winston pulled off a miraculous touchdown pass on third-and-goal, putting the Saints up 14-0.
After the pick, Jones was just 7-for-16 for 54 yards with no touchdowns and a 26.6 passer rating in the game.
He did complete all three of his passes on the ensuing drive for 51 yards, helping to set up a field goal to get the Patriots on the board before halftime.MORE NEWS: Patriots Working Out Cornerback Brian Poole
But on the first play of the second half, Jones threw a pass out in front of Jonnu Smith. The tight end bobbled the pass while falling over, flipping the ball up in the air and into the arms of Malcolm Jenkins. The veteran safety returned it for a walk-in pick-six, putting the Saints up 21-3.