The Washington Post

Jones hurts back to cap tough day for Patriots

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Mac Jones moved quickly down the hall outside the New England locker room a few minutes after Sunday’s game ended, still wearing half his uniform, flanked by security personnel.

His destinatio­n: the X-ray room.

And just like that, a bad day might have gotten much worse for the Patriots.

Jones hurt his back in Sunday’s 20-7 season-opening loss to the Miami Dolphins, a game he played start to finish, completing 21 of 30 passes for 213 yards with a touchdown and an intercepti­on. He also was sacked twice, one of those getting scooped up for a Miami score.

Patriots Coach Bill Belichick was asked after the game whether Jones was hurt.

“I haven’t been in the training room,” he said, voice barely above a whisper.

Not long afterward, the Patriots announced Jones would not be available for his postgame news conference because of a back injury. No other details were offered. Belichick is scheduled to speak with reporters again Monday, when the subject will inevitably be raised.

It was a worrisome capper to a frustratin­g day for the Patriots. The seven points represente­d the second fewest they have managed in 23 openers under Belichick, and a 17-point deficit — it was 17-0 at the half — was the second largest in Belichick-era openers.

Above all else, there’s this: For the second consecutiv­e year, the Patriots are 0-1. Back-to-back instances of that hadn’t happened in New England since 2000 and 2001, Belichick’s first two seasons, though it should be noted the Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl in that 2001 season.

• BRONCOS: Inside linebacker Josey Jewell, who missed most of last season with a torn chest muscle, was ruled out for the season opener at Seattle on Monday night because of a strained calf.

First-year coach Nathaniel Hackett said newcomer Alex Singleton would “take most of ” the snaps in Jewell’s place and that Justin Strnad would also play.

Jewell got hurt in practice Thursday.

Jewell, 27, was a part-time starter with the Broncos his first two years in Denver. He had a breakout season in 2020 when he started all 16 games and had a careerbest 113 tackles.

• CHARGERS: Wide receiver Keenan Allen didn’t play after halftime because of a hamstring injury.

Allen got hurt in the second quarter against the Las Vegas Raiders. He had four catches on four targets from Justin Herbert for 66 yards before his injury, including a 42-yard gain.

The five-time Pro Bowl selection has been one of the NFL’S most productive receivers over the past half-decade. He had 106 catches for 1,138 yards and six touchdowns last season.

• LIONS: Defensive back Tracy Walker was ejected for swiping in a scrum with the Philadelph­ia Eagles after hitting Jalen Hurts near his head as he went to the turf.

Walker was sent off the field late in the third quarter when the Eagles were leading the Lions by 17 points on Sunday.

When Walker hit Hurts above the shoulders after he went down on a run into Detroit territory, Philadelph­ia players came to their quarterbac­k’s defense. Walker responded by swiping at tight end Dallas Goedert’s helmet, and that ended his game.

• TEXANS: Houston used its opener against Indianapol­is to honor and remember the victims of the Uvalde Elementary school shooting.

The Texans hosted the Uvalde high school football team and wore “Uvalde Strong” decals on their helmets after 19 children and two teachers were killed in a shooting there in May.

The team joined with grocery store chain H-E-B to pay for the team to travel the 280 miles from Uvalde and watch the game from a suite. It’s part of the team’s continuing support for the community after it donated $400,000 to the Robb Elementary School memorial fund soon after the shooting.

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