Rex Ryan reverses course, offers up a compliment to Mac Jones after Patriots’ win over Bills


“Honestly, this is the best throw I’ve ever seen him make.”

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones smiles while leading during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2023, in Foxborough, Mass.
Mac Jones and the Patriots stormed back to beat the Bills, 29-25, on Sunday at Gillette Stadium. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

Rex Ryan has never been one to shirk away from making his opinions known.

Over the last few years, the former Jets and Bills head coach has directed plenty of verbal barbs toward Mac Jones and the New England Patriots.

During New England’s woeful 1-5 start to the 2023 season, Ryan regularly took Jones to task over his arm strength and inability to orchestrate efficient drives into the red zone.

“Are you referring to peashooter Jones?” Ryan said on ESPN after New England’s loss to Dallas earlier this month, referencing a nickname he gave Jones in 2021. “Here’s the thing: The guy doesn’t have a whole lot of arm talent. I’ve said it from [the] jump, maybe the weakest arm for all starting quarterbacks in the league.”

But after Jones orchestrated an impressive game-winning drive in the fourth quarter and led the Patriots to an upset win over the Bills on Sunday afternoon, even a critic like Ryan had to tip his cap.

“Honestly, this is the best throw I’ve ever seen him make,” Ryan said on ESPN’s “Get Up” on Monday in reference to Jones’ throw to Hunter Henry during that game-winning, fourth-quarter drive.

Just five plays after Jones converted on a 3rd-and-8 situation off that throw to Henry, the Patriots QB hit Mike Gesicki for a one-yard touchdown to put New England ahead for good, 29-25. Jones finished Sunday’s win over Buffalo with an 83.3 completion percentage (25-of-30) to go along with two touchdowns and zero interceptions. 

Ryan was not the only media personality to commend Jones for his performance after New England’s bounce-back performance against its AFC East foe. 

“I think it was refreshing to hear Mac Jones not feeling beaten down by the Belichick coverage in New England in the last few weeks,” longtime NFL writer Peter King wrote in his weekly “Football Morning in America” column for NBC Sports. “After playing his best game in the league in nearly two years in the 29-25 upset over Buffalo in Foxboro, what was clear to me was how Jones, as expected, is good at compartmentalizing what really matters in football: leaving the outside stuff at the locker-room door. Business is business. Don’t let outside stuff interfere with it.”