New England Patriots

Peyton Manning Had Harsh Criticism for Patriots' Handling of Mac Jones

Jones was benched after throwing an interception in Monday's loss to the Bears

Peyton Manning had harsh criticism for Patriots' handling of Mac Jones originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Peyton Manning had plenty of sympathy for Mac Jones after the New England Patriots benched the second-year quarterback early in the second quarter of Monday night's Week 7 game against the Chicago Bears.

After punting on the first two drives of the game, the Patriots offense moved into Bears territory on its third possession and Jones threw an interception.

It was the last pass he'd throw all night.

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Jones was pulled from the game and replaced by rookie Bailey Zappe, who played the rest of the way as the Bears cruised to a 33-14 victory.

Manning, based on his comments during the "ManningCast" broadcast on ESPN2, didn't approve of how the Patriots handled Jones' exit from the game. 

“He had some turnovers early, (but) that’s a pretty quick hook. It was a pretty athletic play by their safety. ... He’s not happy about it, and I understand it,” Manning said after it became clear the Patriots were switching quarterbacks.

"That’s a hard way to play quarterback, right? If you’re hesitant to make a play, knowing you’re gonna come out, that's tough. My guess is he didn’t know the deal. They have confidence in Zappe, he’s made some good decisions, but I hate that for a quarterback to throw an interception -- we’ve all thrown them -- and you don’t usually come out right away in the second quarter after that."

Manning wasn't the only person puzzled or surprised by Jones' quick hook. 

Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers admitted he was surprised that Jones was pulled so early

"Not even as a football player, it's tough as a man to see somebody who worked so hard, get that kind of treatment, but at the end of the day, we're all trying to feed our families," Meyers told reporters at his locker after the game. "We have to make plays no matter who's throwing (the ball)."

Whether Jones starts Sunday against the New York Jets is anyone's guess. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has dodged or flat out refused to answer pretty much every quarterback question that's been sent his way over the last 24 hours. 

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