Competition in sports can be defined by its failures as much as its successes. Jones has done a lot of failing in his first season with the Patriots, and he might have run out of rope on Monday night.
Dear God, get out of the way young man! You're risking everything!
It was Jones' fifth fumble in nine games this season and there's an exceedingly high probability that the former Alabama star has seen his final opportunity as a return man in New England. If he's not careful, he could end up in the cornfields with poor Jonas Gray.
"On the ball that hit him, as a returning, being any punt returner, once we don't field the ball then we have to get out of the way and keep it from hitting us," Bill Belichick said Tuesday. "That's a fundamental thing, but with ball security we all have to do a better job of taking care of the ball. We turned it over three times and all of those players and all the other players, we have to do a better job of it. Have to coach it better, have to handle it better."
The Ravens quickly converted Jones' gaffe into a touchdown, then recovered a Matthew Slater fumble on the ensuing kickoff and scored again. Throw in Tom Brady's ugly red-zone interception (his only misstep in a brilliant night, but still) and it was surreal to watch the Patriots struggle with ball security -- a basic fundamental of winning.
You could feel the confusion in the stands at Gillette Stadium as the mistakes piled up. Check out the crowd's reaction when Dion Lewis took a knee in the end zone after Baltimore cut the deficit to six.