Jakobi Meyers was on the wrong side of one of the most head-scratching plays in NFL history in the Patriots’ 30-24 loss to the Raiders on Sunday.
The game was tied 24-24 when Meyers received a lateral from Rhamondre Stevenson on the final play of regulation. The play was designed to run out the clock, but Meyers decided to throw another lateral, all the way back to quarterback Mac Jones.
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The ball instead landed in the hands of former Patriot Chandler Jones, who returned the backward pass 48 yards for a touchdown to give the Raiders the win.
— NFL (@NFL) December 19, 2022
The play left the Patriots and their fans stunned while many wondered exactly what Meyers was thinking during the play.
Why did Jakobi Meyers lateral the ball back toward Mac Jones?
The receiver said he was “just trying to make a play” when he threw the ball back toward Jones.
“I thought I saw Mac open,” he said. “I didn’t see Chandler Jones at the time. I thought (Jones) was open. I tried to get it to him and let him try to make a play with it.”
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Meyers took responsibility for the gaffe, saying that he needed to have better situational awareness given that the game was tied. He tried to do something that he didn’t need to do.
“I was just doing too much. Trying to be a hero, I guess,” the veteran receiver said. “I should have just went down with the ball.”
An emotional Jakobi Meyers said he was “trying to do too much and trying to be a hero” on the final play. Said he knew the score was tied and the play didn’t call for a lateral. pic.twitter.com/KiOIjKOqcR
— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) December 19, 2022
Meyers also tried to shield his teammates from blame, in particular Stevenson, who was the first player to lateral during the sequence.
“It isn’t his fault,” Meyers said when asked about Stevenson’s lateral. “He gave me the ball. I’ve got to be smart with it.”
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In turn, Meyers’ teammates came to his support.
“It doesn’t fall on him,” Jones said. “It falls on all of us.”
The Patriots will feel the impact of the loss regardless of who is most responsible for it. The team has now dropped to No. 8 in the AFC and is on the outside of the AFC playoff race looking in with a 7-7 record.