Coach Bill Belichick said he was wrong in his interpretation of a new National Football League rule that helped the New York Jets get a second chance at a winning field goal against his New England Patriots in Week 7.
Nick Folk two days ago made a 42-yard field goal in overtime that gave the host Jets a 30-27 victory against the Patriots, a kick set up by a penalty that had never before been called in an NFL game.
Four plays earlier, Patriots rookie Chris Jones was called for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for pushing a teammate forward in an attempt to block the kick. Belichick after the game questioned the application of the rule, which nullified a missed 56-yard field goal by Folk.
“It’s our job to understand the rules,” Belichick told reporters yesterday. “Whatever the bottom line is, we didn’t do it properly.”
The NFL instituted the rule as a safety measure this season, seeking to help offensive linemen blocking defenders on field goals and extra points. Belichick said after the game that he didn’t think Jones pushed “from the second level,” though the NFL’s rulebook doesn’t make exceptions for where a player on the non-kicking team is lined up if he pushes a teammate on the line of scrimmage into the offensive formation.
Jones, a defensive tackle from Bowling Green State University, said after the game that he took full responsibility for the penalty. Belichick said yesterday the coaching staff was to blame, not Jones.
“Chris is obviously trying to do the right thing by stepping up and taking responsibility, but that’s not his responsibility, it’s ours,” Belichick said. “We have to do a better job of coaching that. It’s not his fault, that’s on me and the coaching staff. We just have to do a better job.”