In a week full of absolutely insane endings, including the largest comeback in NFL history, the Las Vegas Raiders’ victory over the New England Patriots might have been the craziest as Chandler Jones intercepted an attempted lateral from Jakobi Meyers to Mac Jones and ran it all the way back to the end zone for an improbable 30-24 win.
It was an absolutely stunning turn of events and something that nobody saw coming. The decision-making on the Patriots’ side will certainly come into question, but Chandler Jones being there for what was officially ruled a fumble recovery, and dropping Mac Jones on the way to the end zone, might be the moment of the Raiders’ season.
The Raiders lineman spoke after the game about what he saw, noting that instead of just running after the ball, he began to read the play and look for who the ball could be thrown to, via Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk:
“Instead of pursuing the ball, I just started playing back into saying, alright who’s the next passer? Who could they possibly throw it to next that’s behind the line of scrimmage? Because they’re playing this whole hot potato game,” Jones said. “Sure enough, I saw Jakobi Meyers kinda look back at Mac Jones, the quarterback. He was standing in the middle of the field. I literally just jumped up when I saw the ball coming, intended for Mac. Mac was kind of standing there, looking at me with big eyes. I literally just jumped up and intercepted it. I just gave Mac a nice stiff arm with my right hand. The rest was history.”
A ‘nice stiff arm’ is putting things kindly as Chandler absolutely drove the Patriots quarterback into the grass on his way to the end zone. But it says a lot about Jones and his IQ that he didn’t just blindly begin chasing the ball but rather assessed the play and looked for where the ball could go next.
Jones has come under some scrutiny this season for his lack of sacks, as he was brought in to take some of the pressure off Maxx Crosby. But over the past three weeks, he has totaled four sacks, nine QB hits, three fumble recoveries, and three passes defensed.
An improbable play, to say the least, and with the Raiders trying to make an improbable playoff run, this could be the exact moment to kickstart that push.