Jue. Feb 2nd, 2023

Bill Belichick has always had a few tricks up his sleeve as head coach of the New England Patriots, and he pulled one for the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night.

On the Patriots’ second possession of the game, cornerback and punt returner Marcus Jones emerged in the offensive group with Mac Jones and company at midfield. Jones ran into the slot for his first offensive play of the season.

And that’s exactly where Mac Jones went with the ball. It was worth it.

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Marcus Jones of the New England Patriots lines up during a game against the Detroit Lions at Gillette Stadium on October 9, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
(Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

Jones, using his punt return speed, plowed through the Bills defense, and went on the run for a 48-yard touchdown run, the first of the game for either team.

The Gillette Stadium crowd roared as the Patriots took a 7-3 lead, but those at home might have been watching this play a little confused.

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Rookie Jones was a double threat in Houston, where he had 10 receptions for 109 yards and a touchdown in 2021 during his senior season. He also totaled six kick returns for touchdowns and three punt returns for touchdowns during his four-year college career.

Understanding that part of his game, Belichick and Patriots senior football adviser Matt Patricia didn’t want to hold him down.

New England Patriots' Marcus Jones (25) runs for a touchdown in the first quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium on December 1, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

New England Patriots’ Marcus Jones (25) runs for a touchdown in the first quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium on December 1, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
(Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

The 5-foot-8, 185-pound cornerback also has a punt return for a touchdown this season. His last-minute sprint against the New York Jets two weeks ago was the deciding score in that game.

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Jones hasn’t played much defense this season for New England. The most snaps he played was 49% against the Detroit Lions in Week 5.

New England Patriots' Marcus Jones (25) runs for a touchdown in the first quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium on December 1, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

New England Patriots’ Marcus Jones (25) runs for a touchdown in the first quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium on December 1, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
(Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

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The Patriots selected Jones 85th overall in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

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