Patriots pull QB Mac Jones after 2 turnovers lead directly to Cowboys touchdowns

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Dallas Cowboys defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. (56) strips the ball away from New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) in the first half of an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023. The fumble was recovered by linebacker Leighton Vander Esch and returned for a touchdown. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

ARLINGTON, Texas – The New England Patriots pulled third-year starting quarterback Mac Jones after two turnovers led directly to touchdowns for the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.

Jones had a fumble that was returned for a touchdown, and an interception that DaRon Bland returned 54 yards for a score just before halftime.

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The Patriots trailed 31-3 with 3:41 left in the third quarter when second-year quarterback Bailey Zappe took over for Jones.

New England averaged only 14 points a game in its first three games, with its only win being 15-10 last week at the New York Jets.

Jones was 12-of-21 passing for 150 yards with two interceptions against Dallas.

Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch returned a fumble 11 yards for a touchdown early in the second quarter after Jones was tackled from behind and lost the ball. Bland's pick-6 came just before halftime for a 28-3 lead.

The 25-point halftime deficit is the largest ever for Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who entered the game looking to become only the third NFL head coach ever to reach 300 regular-season wins. The 300-game winners are Don Shula with 328 and George Halas with 318.



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