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Bengals’ Eli Apple calls out Patriots’ Mac Jones for ‘dirty play’: ‘He’s done that before’

Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Eli Apple has never been one to shy away from speaking his mind, and he did so after New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones had a play on him he said was “dirty.”

Apple called Jones out following the Bengals’ 22-18 win over the Patriots, saying that Jones intentionally dove at his legs away from a play where Bengals linebacker Germaine Pratt was running back what he believed to be a fumble from Jones for a touchdown. 

The play was eventually blown dead, resulting in no turnover by the Patriots. But it was a play from Jones that honestly Apple expected. 

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Eli Apple of the Cincinnati Bengals reacts after breaking up a pass during the Saints game at Caesars Superdome on Oct. 16, 2022, in New Orleans.
(Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

“Of course I did (notice it). He tripped me,” Apple said via NESN. “I thought it was a dirty play. He’s done that before, I’ve seen it.”

This isn’t the first time a player has called out the Alabama product, as Carolina Panthers defensive end Brian Burns said last season that Jones tried to twist his ankle on purpose. 

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The Chicago Bears were also looking for flags on slides from Jones, who was raising his cleats up into players pursuing him for a tackle. 

Pratt was yards ahead of Jones in this case, and even if it was a fumble, he had no chance to tackle him. Meanwhile, Apple was just tailing the play and Jones appeared to pick him out and drop to the turf right below his feet. 

Apple fell to the turf, but luckily didn’t come up injured on the play. 

Mac Jones of the New England Patriots attempts a pass against the Cincinnati Bengals at Gillette Stadium on Dec. 24, 2022, in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

Mac Jones of the New England Patriots attempts a pass against the Cincinnati Bengals at Gillette Stadium on Dec. 24, 2022, in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
(Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

New England has now lost two straight games, moving them to 7-8 on the season, though they remain in the playoff hunt. The Buffalo Bills already clinched the AFC East title, so the wild card is all the Patriots can hope for now. 

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On the other hand, the Bengals are rolling in the AFC North, leading the division by one game now after winning their seventh straight game on Saturday afternoon and moving to 11-4. 

The Baltimore Ravens are right behind them at 10-4 and they will meet in Week 18 for a game that could determine the division winner. 

Vonn Bell of the Cincinnati Bengals pressures Mac Jones of the New England Patriots as he attempts a pass on Dec. 24, 2022, in Foxborough.

Vonn Bell of the Cincinnati Bengals pressures Mac Jones of the New England Patriots as he attempts a pass on Dec. 24, 2022, in Foxborough.
(Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

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Either way, the Bengals are looking like a team ready to defend their AFC championship from a season ago. 

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