Mac, sauce and meatballs often go together on Sundays in many households, but not the way All-Pro cornerback Sauce Gardner described it after the Jets’ 15-10 loss to the Patriots at MetLife Stadium.
Gardner accused Patriots quarterback Mac Jones of hitting him below the belt following a skirmish in the second half.
After Jones was tackled by Jets linebacker CJ Mosley on a quarterback sneak, he rose to his feet and got in the face of Gardner, who alleged that wasn’t the only contact between them during the confrontation.
“That’s probably the first time that ever happened to me,” Gardner said after the game. “He got tackled, and he reached his hand up to get me to help him up, and I just moved his hand out of the way.
Sauce Gardner knocks Patriots quarterback Mac Jones down when things got chippy during the fourth quarter.Robert Sabo for NY Post
“But then he got up and he just came up to me [saying], like, ‘Good job.’ But while he’s saying that, he hit me in my private parts.”
The 2022 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year added that he needed to ice the area, saying, “My stomach [is] hurting a little bit. I don’t even know what to say. I do gotta ice up. He’s trying to stop me from having kids in the future. He’s tripping.”
The 23-year-old Gardner gave Jones a shove at the end of the encounter, knocking him back to the turf, but there were no further fireworks.
Mac Jones falling down after a push from Sauce Gardner in the third quarter.Robert Sabo for NY Post
“I didn’t really react how I wanted to, but that was just the reaction that came after that,” Gardner said. “I definitely wasn’t expecting that [hit to the groin area]. First time for everything, I guess.”
Asked afterward about Gardner’s accusations, Jones said that he didn’t believe he did anything wrong.
“Just football. I think it’s a physical game and at that point in the game, you just have to fight to get the one yard,” the third-year quarterback said. “I was just trying to get the first down. … A lot of guys on both teams are in there and it definitely can get pretty physical in there.”